A veteran student lounge is under construction in Doc Bryan 104. Suggestions from Arkansas Tech University veteran students showed that a private student lounge for veterans was the number one most desired need within the veteran student population.
Coordinator of Veteran Services, Marsha Oels, has worked for Arkansas Tech for 18 years. Since her work began, she has had hope for an idea like a student lounge for the university’s veteran students.
“The hope is to bring a place of quietness, a place for socialization, a sense of their own space and other benefits for the students,” she said.
Oels says the idea for this student lounge has been talked about for several years now. Veteran Services asked themselves, “What can we do to serve our veteran students” and began seeking information from the students themselves.
Through surveys and meet and greets, it was found that a student lounge for veterans only was the most desired need among the veteran students. Oels said the surveys showed the veterans want their own, secluded and quiet place to come to, to study and even socialize with other veterans themselves.
The estimated 300 veteran students that the lounge is targeted for includes those students who are currently serving or have served in the military in the past.
Construction for the lounge started Sept. 11 and plans call for the lounge to be ready before homecoming on Oct. 20. “The Veteran Services office would like to hold an open house for the opening of the lounge during homecoming week, if plans go accordingly,” Oels said.
After the lounge is built, the university “hopes it will improve veteran student retention and graduation rates,” she added.