A new military web portal at East Carolina University offers a central location for discovering what ECU can offer student veterans, service members and their families.
Development of the www.ecu.edu/military site was initiated in February and came to life in June, thanks to collaboration across multiple departments on campus. The site provides virtual visitors with the ability to quickly navigate to the information they need on ECU’s web site, including contact information for staff members who can answer questions specific to the military population.
The military portal is just one of many resources available at ECU to enhance experiences for veterans and service members. The Student Veteran Services office in Brewster D107 provides support, resources and assistance for student veterans and service members. A Green Zone training program for faculty and staff enhances awareness about the unique needs of student veterans. A new student organization – Pirate Veterans – was formed in the spring, and an orientation session tailored to new student veterans is in the works.
“The whole goal is to make East Carolina military friendly,” said Dr. Steve Duncan, assistant vice chancellor for administration and finance and military programs.
Duncan said the ultimate goal for the web portal was to create an uncomplicated process for members of the military and their families. “We’re not trying to make it an octopus. We are trying…to make a veteran feel comfortable and have enough information,” he said.
Trish Goltermann, SVS assistant director, said it was important to provide easily accessible information designed for the military. “If people of the military cannot find what they need quickly, we may lose them,” she said.
SVS graduate assistant John Kistler added that the website will help student veterans transition to college life. It is a move “in the right direction to help with every step of the process,” he said.
ECU student veteran and Pirate Veterans president Dustin Hawley said that returning to campus as a new student following military service felt strange and presented extra challenges. Student veteran Chad Merewether agreed. “The hardest part was finding the right places,” Merewether said. “With student veterans, I wasn't sure if that was paperwork or benefits. That was vague, but eventually I figured everything out.”
“A webpage that walks you through would be great,” Merewether said, and added that a veteran event at the beginning of the semester would be a good way “to build a community and a comfort.”
“I always thought it would be nice to have somewhere to go where I could get help,” said Hawley. “I’m really happy with the direction that ECU is going.”
On Founders Day 2011, pictured above, the ECU community honored its service members and veterans by dedicating a new Freedom Wall and Memorial Walk on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)