AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The North Augusta Cultural Arts Council is giving USC Aiken’s Office of Veteran and Military Student Success $2,000.
“They wanted to make sure that their proceeds went to a local organization to help local veterans,” said Robert A. Murphy, the Director of the Office of Veteran and Military Student Success. “And in their idea, they were thinking the post 9-11 G.I. Bill era veterans.”
About 10% of USC Aiken’s students have military ties, and the office helps them and their families to transition back into civilian life.
“Once you exit the military, you may keep up with a friend or two, but that sense of brotherhood, that sense of belonging is lost,” said Samantha Taylor, a veteran and a Student Success Advocate at the school. “So when I, even as a student, walked into the office, I was able to feel that sense of camaraderie and that sense of belonging somewhere.”
With this donation, they will be able to provide academic and financial resources for these students such as textbooks, scholarships and more.
It will also help them provide more community and professional services.
“A lot of those resources that we have are additional tools in the counseling and psychology fields to be able to provide them to students to help them work through those processes,” said Tristan Stone, the Program Coordinator for the Office of Veteran and Military Student Success.
Stone said that more and more military members are inquiring about their services, especially with Fort Gordon being nearby.
“We’ve seen a whole lot more traffic over the phones and email requesting those services,” he said. “As well as our service members that are deployed abroad taking advantage of our online programs and the benefits that are available to them.”
The office is also in the process of expanding its partnership ROTC program that it has with Augusta University’s Jaguar Battalion. Interested students can go to the office to join.