Student veterans at UCF now have access to academic and military services in a new campus space that's designed just for them.
The university's Veterans Academic Resource Center - or VARC - opened its doors in November. It will host two "Meet and Greet" programs this week to raise awareness of its services.
From 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, and Thursday, Feb. 3, the VARC is hosting tours of its facility and giving student veterans the opportunity to ask questions and meet VARC officials and advisers in a relaxed, open-house atmosphere.
Located in the UCF Arena across from Barnes & Noble, the center's goal is to provide student veterans with the resources they need to ensure their academic success.
The 3,400-square-foot space includes offices, study rooms and a lounge area. The center also provides student veterans with services such as VA certification, enrollment, advising, counseling, career services, disability accommodations and tutoring, among other academic support services.
"Providing all of these services under one roof takes a lot of pressure off the students who, for example, may need counseling but are afraid to walk into the Counseling Center," said Paul Viau, UCF's associate university registrar.
"Here at VARC, they could be coming in to study or to meet with an academic adviser and get multiple questions answered without going to different places around campus," he added.
Under the direction of the Registrar's Office, the center is a collaboration of several university departments uniting to better address veterans' needs. The center is one of many campus-wide initiatives that aim to ease the transition from boots to books for the nearly 1,000 veterans who attend UCF each semester.
"Most veterans who come to the center are not your typical freshmen," said work-study student veteran Brent Feaser. "Here, there are other veterans to help them and who understand what they are going through."
Since the center's grand opening, VARC has been working to develop academic workshops and other programs, such as "Developing your Academic and Career Transition Plan," "Success Strategies for Every Course" and "How Do I Study for Finals"
Student veterans also can apply at the VARC to receive financial aid or learn about additional benefits.
VARC also serves as a home base for the Student Veterans Association, an organization made up of students who have served in the military. The group arranges meetings, social outings and volunteer opportunities and receives tickets to UCF sporting events.
"VARC really helps bridge veterans to the UCF community," said Jackie Jessup, VARC's academic advising coordinator.
To learn more about VARC and its services, visit the center's website or call 407-823-2707.
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