Veterans connect with DSU, each other through club functions

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Bonds of comradery, mutual support, and service in the community mark the new and growing Veterans’ Club on campus.

The Dixie State University Veterans’ Club brings veterans at DSU together and provides a safe place where they can receive tutoring, information about veterans’ services in the community, and an avenue for them to serve the community and fellow veterans. Members meet in the newly established DSU Veterans’ Center in room 135 of the Udvar-Hazy School of Business building every Wednesday at 4 p.m.  

The Veterans’ Club’s mission is to “support the unique challenges veterans face when transitioning from military life to a civilian environment.”

Anthony Cirrito, a sophomore communication major from St. George, is the president of the Veterans’ Club.

“There are over 300 veterans and dependents of veterans on campus,” Cirrito said. “Our goal is to bring them together, and give them resources to help them succeed in school and other aspects of their life.”

Cirrito said the club will start to provide workshops in the future that will help veterans learn how to take advantage of veterans services in the community, how to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, and other topics specifically directed to help veterans.

The Veterans’ Club and Steven Roberts, the DSU veterans’ coordinator, are sponsoring the “Veterans’ Education Summit” on April 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Holland Centennial Commons for veterans and faculty interested in learning how to help veterans succeed in college.  

Roberts said he hopes to develop the Veterans’ Center on campus, and increase opportunities for veterans to receive tutoring and counselling.

“Before, we would just meet in random rooms around campus,” Roberts said. “But now that we actually have an actual Veterans’ Center, it will be a lot easier to serve the needs of the veteran students and their dependents. Administration has been extremely supportive of us and has helped us start out strong.”   

Cirrito said the transition to civilian life can be a “culture shock” for many veterans.

“It takes a while before you stop automatically looking over your shoulder all the time,” Cirrito said. “Military life is ingrained in us. Veterans can have real difficulties in transitioning, and hopefully by bringing us all together with this club, it will make it easier.”

Martin Medina, a sophomore business major from Los Angeles, received help from the club when he was relieved of active duty in January.

“I started with a school-assisted program and got support from the [Veterans’ Club], so I really hit the ground running when I started school here at DSU,” Medina said. “As a veteran, there can be rough times at home and just adjusting back to normal life. But the Veterans’ Center counselors and friends I [have] made here really made me feel comfortable.”   

Adam Lolofie, a junior criminal justice major from West Jordan, is the vice president of the Veterans’ Club and has been involved in the club for over a year.

“The veterans in the club are very passionate about helping each other,” Lolofie said. “We just want to spread awareness of what we are, everything we hope to be, and for the DSU student body to be comfortable with us.”

Lolofie, who served in the Air Force from 2008 to 2012, said the Veterans’ Club also helped him with the transition to civilian life.

“Veterans are a unique type of students with a lot of different experiences,” Lolofie said. “The comradery is important in this club because we veterans can identify with each other. We have had experiences that only another veteran would really understand.”

Cirrito said support for veterans on campus is “paramount” for the success of DSU because so many students and faculty at DSU have personal connections with veterans.

“Veterans themselves are a group of people that are committed to each other,” Cirrito said. “The comradery here can’t be found anywhere else.”