Student veteran enrollment jumps by 70 percent at UT

Student veteran enrollment jumps by 70 percent at UT

Posted:
"Coming here to the university has allowed me to explore those avenues, find what I'm comfortable with and know where I wanna go for the future," said UT student veteran Douglas Oeser. "Coming here to the university has allowed me to explore those avenues, find what I'm comfortable with and know where I wanna go for the future," said UT student veteran Douglas Oeser.
The group helps veterans get acclimated to a class of peers who don't share the same experiences as them. The group helps veterans get acclimated to a class of peers who don't share the same experiences as them.
"Hearing where their barriers are or where they feel frustrated with the system or what they would like to see. Then we work really hard to make that happen," said Ashley Blamey, chair of the Task Force. "Hearing where their barriers are or where they feel frustrated with the system or what they would like to see. Then we work really hard to make that happen," said Ashley Blamey, chair of the Task Force.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee is seeing a major boost in the number of veterans enrolling for classes.

There are just under 800 veterans attending this year. That's a 70% jump just since 2009.

UT is doing its best to meet the needs of this growing group of students, many of whom are just returning from overseas.

"It's a big shift, it's a big change. Especially with me, I came out of a deployment. 30 days and then went into here so it's a big culture shock," said UT student veteran Douglas Oeser.

Oeser is studying his way to a degree in criminology.

The former U.S. Army sergeant had a hard time when he first got to UT, feeling disconnected and overwhelmed. Like many of his military peers, he needed some help transitioning into college life.

"I didn't get a chance to go through the orientation, so I was trying to figure out where the classes were," said Oeser.

The recent influx of veterans coming to UT, and the challenges going from military to college life, led to the creation of UT's Task Force in Support of Student Veterans.

"Hearing where their barriers are or where they feel frustrated with the system or what they would like to see. Then we work really hard to make that happen," said Ashley Blamey, chair of the Task Force.

They help veterans get acclimated to a class of peers who don't share the same experiences as them.

"We work with individual students whose needs might be very unique to them and we help them work through that process," said Blamey.

The task force also works to put student veterans in contact with one another, so they can get together and talk about any problems they might be facing.

Help developing that social network is definitely working for vets like Oeser.

"Coming here to the university has allowed me to explore those avenues, find what I'm comfortable with and know where I wanna go for the future," said Oeser.

Blamey said UT as a whole recognizes how valuable veterans are to the volunteer community.

"They bring an incredible wealth of information, expertise and skill to campus. Faculty often report enjoying having veteran students and their experience and maturity in the classroom. I think it works on both hands. We all benefit," said Blamey.

The Task Force wants to reach all student veterans, so they ask that veterans register on their website.

For more information on the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans, visit UT's Safety, Environment and Education Center website.

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