QC provides support for veterans and their families

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For veterans and their families at Queens College, the staff at Veteran Student Services wants them to know “we’ve got your six.”

“Got your six,” a phrase in the military, means “got your back.” It originated during World War I, when fighter pilots would refer to the rear of an airplane. The plane was like a clock and the rear was six o’clock.

Earlier this semester, the Veteran Student Services unveiled their new space at Student Union 320. The room previously held the Office of Student Life.

Dennis Torres, veteran outreach specialist at QC and a Marine Corps veteran, said the new office space is symbolic of the commitment between QC and the veteran community.

“QC has shown its unrelenting determination and commitment to all military-related students. Our space gives veterans, military personnel and dependents access for much needed services,” Torres said. “Our new office space symbolizes more than just an individual commitment, it symbolizes a group effort.”

The college also received a designation from Victory Media as a military-friendly college. Victory Media is an organization that provides information for service members on civilian careers and education opportunities.

QC works with other military-friendly organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and Workforce One. These relations are fostered and expanded by Torres and the staff at the Veteran Student Services.

In addition, the college provides benefits for veterans attending QC like priority registration for classes.

Many veterans rely on the Montgomery or post-Sept. 11 G.I. Bill for tuition and cost-of-living allowances. But their dependents might pay for tuition themselves.

For these situations, QC allows a bill deferment that allows for service members and their dependent to defer their tuition payment to the end of the semester.

“I encourage all veterans and their family members to speak with me prior to registering for their upcoming semesters coursework,” Noelle Crumlish, veteran academic adviser at QC, said. “If a veteran registers for a class that is not required by their department and is audited, the Veterans Administration may require the course be paid for out of pocket.”

Torres provides additional career service support for veterans. He posts job listings at military-friendly companies on the QC Veterans Facebook group and reviews resumes from veterans.

Crumlish praised Torres’ ability to help veterans on campus with any problems that come up.

“Dennis has worked with QC administrators and his own personal contacts to provide assistance in job placement, apartment hunting and homeless services,” Crumlish said.

She also explained that Torres convinced QC’s administration to add more benefits for veterans when coming from the military.

“Dennis was instrumental in the [QC] administration’s recognition of the joint military transcript for veterans which allows their military experience and training to be transferred over to college credit,” Crumlish said.

Moreover, the Veterans Support Service worked with the Veterans Club to bring retired Army Colonel Gregory Gadson on campus last semester. The event raised awareness on sacrifices made by armed services as well as overcoming obstacles.

This semester, both groups seek to work with Mission Continues, a non-profit organization helping veterans transition to a life at home by working in their community.

Torres highlighted how the Veterans Support Service would continue to offer more not only for veterans, but also for the community.

“The Veterans Support Service believes in fostering a sense of communication and community amongst its students.  We work with various local veterans service organizations in order to build a bridge between service members and their communities,” Torres said. “As veterans, we have an obligation to reintegrate back into society and share our stories. We can achieve a sense of connectedness by giving back to our local communities.

Phil Vallone

Phil is a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Journalism. He is also a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan in 2013. He covers events and activism at CUNY. After graduating, he plans to cover politics and activism around the world. You can follow him on Twitter @philvallone or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/journophil. Contact him at philvallo[at]theknightnews.com

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