Monday, 27 November 2017 13:50

SUNY Oswego Earns 'Military Times Best: Colleges 2018' Ranking

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Service recognized -- SUNY Oswego thanks veterans on campus with the 2014 Veterans' Day Luncheon in the college's Veterans Lounge in Hewitt Union. Service recognized -- SUNY Oswego thanks veterans on campus with the 2014 Veterans' Day Luncheon in the college's Veterans Lounge in Hewitt Union. Submitted photo

SUNY Oswego, celebrating the first anniversary of its Battle Buddy Center in the Veterans Lounge, recently earned two significant distinctions for 2018 as a military-friendly college.

Military Times -- digital platforms and newsweeklies for independent news and information for service members and their families -- placed SUNY Oswego among its Military Times Best: Colleges 2018, formerly Best for Vets, for the fourth consecutive year. The rankings arise from an annual survey, the most comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement, according to the publisher.

Additionally, Military Advanced Education & Transition Magazine, a journal of higher education for service members and veterans making the transition from military to the civilian sector, selected SUNY Oswego a Top School in a research study for its upcoming 2018 colleges and universities guide.

The Military Times evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. More than 600 colleges took part in this year’s detailed survey.

"Of the hundreds of schools that applied, fewer than half received the Military Times Best: Colleges designation this year. Only the best made the cut," said George Altman, the Military Times editor in charge of the rankings. "For the past eight years, we've seen colleges and universities consistently increasing their resources, revising their policies and improving their academic outcomes for military and veteran students. The Military Times Best: Colleges rankings showcase the very best of these efforts."

Adding services

Benjamin Parker, the college's senior academic planning coordinator and veteran and military services coordinator, expressed appreciation for the distinctions and agreed they encourage institutions such as SUNY Oswego to keep stepping up their support for veterans.

SUNY Oswego continues to add services for its population of student veterans, active military and reserves, Parker said. In the past year, the college's designation as a Battle Buddy Center has brought even more services, social occasions and workplace opportunities for them.

New York State Industries for the Disabled in November 2016 designated the Battle Buddy Center within the college’s Veterans Lounge in Hewitt Hall as a safe haven for veterans to socialize with each other and receive services that are unique to their military backgrounds.

"We've definitely seen an increase in usage of our Veterans Lounge and had the number of first-time users increase significantly, due to events that we've been able to host as a Battle Buddy Center," Parker said.

Among the events held and planned in what is now known as the Veterans Lounge and Battle Buddy Center are those aimed at veterans' post-college careers. One event partnered with Clear Path for Veterans, which has a Syracuse-based Battle Buddy Center. Others will welcome Veterans Administration officials for workshops on what the VA has to offer in terms of jobs, programs and services.

Information such as job listings from military-friendly employers, a state Assembly internship program for military and veteran students interested in public service or policy advocacy, supportive veterans organizations, and more abound in the Battle Buddy Center.

Parker said he also has made a wealth of materials available there for such student-supportive campus organizations as Career Services, Disability Support Services, the Counseling Services Center and the Office of Learning Services.

The Battle Buddy Center also has been the scene of drop-in breakfasts and lunches, giving veterans built-in opportunities to network. "It's interesting and valuable to see veterans who may be retired interacting with younger students who may be in the reserves, forming those peer-to-peer relationships," Parker said.

The Veterans Lounge and Battle Buddy Center also is the scene of Veterans Club meetings, he said, and this summer hosted a well-attended get-together during Reunion Weekend for veterans who are SUNY Oswego alumni.

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