SUNY Delhi Exercises Empathy to Support Military Veterans
There is good reason why SUNY Delhi has earned “military-friendly” status for a second consecutive year. The college continues to expand its initiatives to support student veterans.
“The G.I Bill is better than it’s ever been, so many veterans are taking advantage of it and going to college,” says Matt LaLonde, Coordinator of Veterans Affairs. “And we have many student veterans on the Delhi campus who receive VA educational entitlements, which is why it is so important that the college is prepared to offer the unique support veterans require.”
LaLonde fully understands the challenges as a veteran who served eight years in the Navy. That is why he is uniquely qualified to create programming and initiatives for SUNY Delhi that will enhance the student veteran experience on campus.
LaLonde is most proud of establishing a more robust web presence specialized for veterans. A one-stop shop of electronic resources, the site walks student veterans though the steps they need to take to apply for college. “From transcripts to financial aid, it breaks down the process for them,” says LaLonde.
This month, the college held an informative panel that illustrated the veterans’ unique perspective. Among the panel was student veteran Eric Van Tyle. “It’s a huge transition for student veterans to assimilate,” says VanTyle. “We are attempting to let everyone know that it’s crucially important for our vets to have a welcoming environment and that we are different. We bring so much to the table.”
The Delhi Student Senate approved a Student Veterans Association that is now recognized nationally through the Student Veterans of America. “It opens up access to a number of benefits for our vets, including scholarship and employment opportunities,” LaLonde adds.
“Increasing awareness is my primary focus,” says LaLonde. “It can be a challenge to identify the student veterans among us. The more faculty and staff who are in the know, the better we will be able as a campus to point veterans in the right direction.”