STILLWATER -- College officials recognize veterans are nontraditional students, who typically are older and bond more easily with other student veterans. Giving them a place of their own to congregate makes many veterans feel more welcome on campus.
Oklahoma State University renovated and dedicated its Veterans Lounge in advance of Veterans Day last November.
Located on the fourth floor of the Student Union, the Veterans Lounge both honors those who have served in the military and provides a place to study and relax.
"We are delighted that OSU is a destination for many military veterans," President Burns Hargis said at the dedication ceremony.
OSU has approximately 750 veterans, dependents and spouses enrolled and using federal education benefits, Hargis said.
Another 150 students are in the OSU Army and Air Force ROTC programs, with about 25 commissioned each year, he said.
UCO gathering place
A lounge for student veterans should open this fall in the library at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, said Kennan Horn, UCO veterans affairs manager.
It will accommodate a lot more people than Horn's office, the place veterans currently "come sit down, vent, ask questions, get a cup of coffee," he said. "There's no topic that's off limits."
Horn likes the idea of a place where veterans with combat experience can mentor and talk to those who have committed to serve through the Guard, Reserves or ROTC, but haven't deployed yet.
"You can ask a guy who's been there," he said.