GRCC’s Veteran Services provides support for students as they transition from the military to student life.
Patrick Coleman is the GRCC Veteran Success Coordinator and knows first hand what it’s like to transition from “combat to college.” He served in the military and then went to college and wants to help others in their journey. He says, “My thing is now going forward, anything a veteran needs to ensure they become successful in school, to do what I can to help them so they do not make the same mistakes I did.”
Veterans have unique experiences they bring into college life. They face challenges but Coleman believes they can use those as assets.
Coleman wants veterans to know that the department has lots of resources. They can help students find anything from housing to books, and if all campus resources have been exhausted they have off-campus resources to help veterans be successful.
Coleman states, “My hope is to remove any barrier that they may have that they can walk away and say Grand Rapids Community College helped me remove barriers so I can focus on my education.”
It’s important that veterans connect with Janice Holton, the Veterans Benefit Coordinator, to find out about all the benefits they are eligible for. If those benefits are not used, they will expire and not be available for the students.
An important part for veterans is connecting with other veterans at GRCC. Veterans Services offers opportunities for them to get together like game night and movie night, which have been successful.
A bi-weekly newsletter is sent out from the department alerting students about upcoming activities, deadlines, and other helpful information.
“The one main goal is to make every veteran feel comfortable, a part of, engaged with, and ultimately know that this space on campus is here for them, no matter what”, says Coleman.
Veteran Services are located on the G2 floor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, and are available 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Find out more here.