By: Cassidy Martenson
Indiana University South Bend has been named a 2021-2022 Military Friendly school at the bronze level. This is the first time IU South Bend has been recognized by Military Friendly. The university received high marks for academic policies, admissions and culture.
Military Friendly identifies the organizations and schools who are committed to serving the military and veteran community in a meaningful and comprehensive way. The Bronze Award is given to organizations that are within 30% of the 10th-ranked organization for service to the military community.
This award is a result of the work of the Office of Veteran Student Services. Savanna J. Hebert-Annis, assistant director, completed the application to be accredited as a military friendly school. She was assisted by Kevin Griffith, executive director of student advocacy and community engagement. The Office of Veteran Student Services hopes that their efforts would give IU South Bend more visibility within the veteran community.
This accreditation is meaningful, but Hebert-Annis knows that there is still more work to do.
“It shows that we have the framework and the groundwork established,” she said.
The Office of Veteran Student Services and the campus community can use the information from Military Friendly to continue creating meaningful changes on campus.
While IU South Bend received high scores for many veteran services, the report by Military Friendly reveals that more needs to be done. The campus scored low on financial aid and career assistance. Veteran students also say that there is still growth that must occur on campus.
Dexter Shroyer, a Navy veteran and IU South Bend student, believes that military members on campus still need more acknowledgement.
“We have needs that go beyond what a regular student has,” he said.
The Office of Veteran Services does not shy away from a challenge. Since 2018 the office has been expanding to become a safe and inclusive space for veterans, military members and military dependents.
“It gave a place for students to go if they needed to get away. It was just nice to know that there was somewhere I could go, and I could just speak my mind to people who understood me,” Shroyer said.
With the new physical space, the office also implemented new programs for these students. They offer a veteran’s book club, as well as a Canvas page of accessible resources. The Office of Veteran Services is continuing to create an inclusive and accepting campus community that understands the diverse student population at IU South Bend.
“Being comfortable asking the uncomfortable questions,” according to Shroyer, is the key to adapting to the campus community. As a student worker in the Office of Veteran Student Services, Shroyer is willing to answer any questions that come his way. While many veteran students may want to be independent, he says that the veteran community on campus is always willing to help.
IU South Bend does not require students to disclose their military affiliation. Hebert-Annis encourages anyone who wants assistance or further information to go to the Office of Veteran Student Services in the Administration Building.