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The Antelope

The Antelope

New UNK center honors military, veteran students

YEJIN KANG / ANTELOPE STAFF Kelly Bartling and Charlie Bicak cut the Military and Veterans Student Center ribbon.

UNK opened a new center on campus for their military and veteran students on Veterans Day. This space in West Center E217 was built with military and veteran students in mind.

“This is a place for veterans to go,” said Jason Baker, a UNK senior and veterans success coach. “In the Student Veterans Organization, every month when we had a meeting, we would have to find an open room or space to rent out. It’s going to be nice to have one central location where veterans can come in and meet with one another.”

Having this support system is important to UNK and Marine Corps veteran Tiffany Chase.

“Sometimes transitioning back to civilian life is hard,” Chase said. “With UNK having a veterans center available to those students who may be struggling, it makes you feel cared about. It builds a sense of community with other people who may be going through similar things.”

Chase joined the Marine Corp in 2016 after graduating from high school. She joined with the intent to write for the Gazette, the Marine Corps newspaper, though that changed after she became a mechanic there. 

Chase’s view of the world changed throughout her time as a marine.

“I learned to be less selfish,” Chase said. “Everyone there is just a big community. You put your life on the line for those people. Because of the Marine Corps, I have made some of the closest bonds I ever will. I met some of my best friends there.”

Like Chase, Baker has found a community here at UNK.

Baker joined the Army in 2006 and left active duty in 2014. Alongside working in undergraduate research programs, Baker has been the president of SVO for two years and UNK’s first veterans success coach.

Baker is looking forward to the Military and Veterans Student Center being on campus.

“Some of the veterans that I met through SVO commute to campus,” Baker said. “They have nowhere else to go between classes, so they’ll just leave between classes. Having this space available will help build connections and camaraderie between each other.”

The Military and Veterans Student Center is a brand new resource on campus.

“This place builds a connection for these military connected students,” said Lori Weed Skarka, the assistant director of Military and Veteran Services. “It lets them know that if they need help, they have a resource and someone they can reach out to.”

This space is open to more than those who have served.

“It’s important that it’s known that we not only provide resources for military and veteran students, but also their families,” said Kelly Bartling, the vice chancellor for enrollment management and marketing. “We want these students to feel seen and supported at UNK.”

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