Student veterans Genessi Rosario and Kevin Quigley, recognize a need for a student-veterans’ committee on campus in order to facilitate connections among former soldiers.
This committee will be made official on Friday, Oct. 28, according to Head of Access Services and librarian John Irwin. Irwin will serve as a faculty adviser over the committee.
Rosario and Quigley sought assistance in developing a committee with help from other faculty members on campus, like former petty officer third class and current assistant professor, John Irwin. The committee serves as a platform for veterans to form healthy relationships and incites awareness for veteran causes such as suicide prevention and psychological care.
“So far we have only had interest from a handful of students, but once things get going we fully anticipate to have an enthusiastic response from other student veterans,” Rosario said in an email interview.
There are 109 student veterans at SHU, according to Irwin, who received this information from Financial Aid Representative Garland Foster. Irwin added that this number may include spouses or children of veterans using benefits.
According to Irwin, a small minority of student veterans are enrolled at Seton Hall. The drastic adjustments veterans encounter when reentering civilian life can be troublesome. Returning from foreign countries consumed by mass violence back into relative security can be problematic for many servicemen and women.
Irwin understands the challenging predicament of returning to college life. As a former member of the United States Navy from 1988-1992, he was deployed during the Gulf War and returned to Ramapo College, a campus that also lacked in student-veteran organizations.
“I am motivated to help veterans because I know what it’s like to come back and struggle going back to college,” Irwin said.
About 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide, according to statistics released in July 2016 from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.
Veteran support groups on campus can create a sheltered environment for those who feel alienated and estranged, Rosario said.
“Having a veterans’ committee will be absolutely beneficial to student veterans,” Rosario said. “Having an organization where veterans can meet other like-minded people will give a sense of community to students who otherwise feel isolated.”
Thomas Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.