A veterans group is being organized at Minot State University for students who are military veterans.
DiNell Polsfut, a veteran and a social work major at the university, said the group has held two meetings so far and will next meet Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. in the Westlie Room in the Student Center. It was officially approved as a student organization by the student senate on Tuesday.
The organization has 25 people on its e-mail list but Polsfut said there's potential for more outreach to students. There are 236 Minot State University students receiving Veterans Administration educational benefits.
Tiffany Hegstad, another veteran helping to organize the group, said most of the student veterans will probably be veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan or of the first Gulf War, but there might be Vietnam vets on campus too. Students, faculty or staff who are veterans of any conflict are invited to attend the meetings.
"We're all the same," said Hegstad. "It's nice just to have a support group."
Polsfut said the organization is intended to serve as a place for veterans to get together and talk about their experiences and to provide them with contacts for services they might not be aware of.
The veterans group might be a way to help students who are transitioning back into civilian life.
"One month you go from being in a war situation ...(the next) to having to concentrate on studies," she said, and the transition period can be difficult.
Students who are veterans also may not be aware of all of the services that are available for them, such as the vocational rehabilitation program. Students might not know everything that's in the new GI bill or how it applies to them, said Polsfut, or whether the old GI bill or the new GI bill is a better fit for their needs. They can use either.
Polsfut said the group will meet once a month and organizers hope to bring in regular speakers to talk about the needs of veterans.
One goal of the organization is to create more awareness in the community at large about the needs of veterans.
Hegstad said there's only one other student veterans organization at a North Dakota college or university. North Dakota State University has one. Hegstad said Polsfut decided she'd like Minot State to have a similar organization when she moved back to the area.
For more information about the group, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.