Let’s reactivate Veterans Club

We have many clubs to choose from at Los Medanos College if we desire to get involved in campus life, but one that stands out as “inactive” is the LMC Veterans Club.

Today, nearly 1 million veterans are using their G.I. Bill benefits, according to a recent article in USA Today. Many are returning home from their duty stations and want to continue to better themselves as they transition from military life to the civilian world.

But using veteran benefits to their full potential is sometimes hard for veterans to figure out, whether they have been recently discharged or have been out for many years. Too many have no idea where to even start.

So when I got out of the military and enrolled at LMC, one thing that caught my attention when I searched the college website for helpful resources was that the Veteran’s Club is “inactive.”

Getting out of the military came and went in the blink of an eye and, unfortunately, once you’re out you lose a lot of the support you once had. It would be nice to see a strong, active Veterans Club on campus because I am not the only vet attending who needs help.

Besides assistance with your G.I. Bill and other benefits, an active club would provide the opportunity to be around other veterans who signed on that same dotted line you once did.

One of the biggest downfalls of going to school after your military service is sitting in classrooms in which 90 percent of the students appear to be a bunch of kids just out of high school. Simply being around fellow veterans with similar life experiences can be extremely beneficial and help spark success.

After all, clubs are for bringing together people with the same interests and passions.

In addition, students in clubs often form study groups to help them get through their courses. A club also looks good on a resume.

No matter what branch you were in — Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard — for the most part, every one shares similar experiences that nobody else can understand. Having that camaraderie again would be great.

What happened to the Veterans Club? Did motivation slowly dissipate or did we lose support? According to the LMC website, “students are encouraged to organize and participate in clubs that reflect their interests.”

So why doesn’t the school spend more time promoting the value of joining clubs to future students? To learn well, you need to be in a comfortable environment, and clubs can help provide that.

LMC should make it a priority to promote the Veterans Club to returning service men and women to help ease some of the stresses they may deal with.

One of the missions of LMC, as stated on the colleges website, is “We strive to create a dynamic environment that encourages life-long engagement with academic and societal challenges.” Seems to me like returning veterans meet that exact mission LMC says it strives for.

By focusing attention on this topic, I hope to see something change not only with the faculty and staff trying to engage vets, but with the veteran students as well.

They need to step up, advocate for themselves, and get the benefits they deserve. The deadline to complete the club charter process through the Student Life Office is Friday, Oct. 11, by 4 p.m.

Hopefully, enough veteran students will read this and step forward to reactivate the club we need so we can get the support we deserve.

Editor’s note: Students who want to start or reactivate a club can find information on the college website at http://www.losmedanos.edu/studentservices/clubs/default.asp