University Libraries Provides An Oasis For Aggie Veterans
Texas A&M University Libraries and the Don and Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource and Support Center (VRSC) have partnered to create the Student Veteran Study Room in Evans Annex 252C, a space available to all Aggie student veterans.
The Libraries and VRSC partner frequently to co-sponsor events, share expertise and support student veterans like Sean Kelly ’23. “I use this room all the time,” Kelly said. “This is my primary study location. There’s always space for me to sit.”
For maximum convenience, the study room is located at the heart of campus with hours that match Evans Annex. The Student Veteran Study Room is exclusively accessible to veterans by swipe card and requires no reservations.
Designed with input from student veterans, the room is a space for study, collaboration and community building. It features comfortable seating, computers, a whiteboard wall, a WePresent monitor and natural lighting.
“It’s really nice because this is one of the few rooms where there’s a minimal amount of people,” Kelly said. “I also like the whiteboard wall. It’s massive and I’m able to walk around and actually use it. Overall, it’s nice and quiet, and the people here are really cool. It’s good to meet friends here too.”
Generously funded by The Hamill Foundation, the Student Veteran Study Room is a flexible space that accounts for several modes of study.
Commitment To Student Veterans
Supporting student veterans is a key priority for University Libraries, staff says, as veterans are an underrepresented population across the whole of higher education, according to a report by Ithaka S+R. The report found only one in 10 veterans using GI Bill benefits enrolls in institutions with graduation rates above 70 percent; Texas A&M has a graduation rate of 83 percent and currently enrolls approximately 1,130 veterans.
“Student veterans aren’t necessarily any different than other students,” said Sean Buckner, retired sergeant first class in the Army National Guard and current head of the University Libraries preservation unit. “They have the same needs. We try to point out that veterans are very capable and have a lot of skills gained from their military service.”
Buckner said the Libraries try to provide environments for veterans that maximize skills gained in the military. For example, the Libraries’ front desk service AskUs makes a concerted effort to keep a veteran on staff to ensure there is a community touch-point available for student veterans if they have questions, need extra support or if they simply need a listening ear.
“It is the little things we try to be aware of, as we acknowledge their service and give them just that little bit of help as nontraditional students,” Buckner said. “The most valuable component of helping student veterans attain student success is being partnered with the VRSC.”