Veterans who are students at the University of Connecticut at Storrs will come back from winter break to a space just for them. It's called OASIS, or Operation Academic Support for Incoming Servicemembers.
The idea goes back to 2007, when the state Department of Veterans Affairs decided servicemembers who enrolled in college needed a place on campus where they could seek out support as they transitioned back to civilian life.
Every community college and state university in Connecticut had an OASIS except UConn. Veterans at the main campus had their own meeting space inside an older building on the edge of campus until UConn moved them out in August to make more room for campus housing.
During the fall semester, the school began renovations inside the Student Center for an official OASIS. University President Susan Herbst says the Student Center is a better location for a veterans’ space because it's centrally located.
Besides OASIS, Herbst says the university works to provide support for veterans who are students including a Veterans Office. "So it starts with the admissions process. Veterans, we try to give them special help, special support, in applying to UConn. Of course counseling on wwhat kinds of majors might be right for them. And try to track them as best we can as they try to get adjusted.”
With the U.S troop drawdown, Herbst says the school expects even more veterans to apply for admission. "Not only on the main campus but also regional campuses and into graduate programs. We hope to get bigger numbers. They do enrich classes and enrich the whole campus feeling with the kind of experience they bring. You know we will accommodate them, they’re a priority for us.”
There are more than 400 veterans enrolled at UConn this year.