Student soldiers find welcome environment at DSU

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The atmosphere surrounding Dixie State University is making the transition from military life to school life less difficult for some veterans and active-duty military members.

DSU was recently designated as a military-friendly school for 2017 by Victory Media, and Veterans Compliance Coordinator Steven Roberts said the university has to meet certain criteria in order to receive military-friendly status.

Roberts said some of those criteria include having a Veterans Club on campus and somebody who will work with veterans on a full-time basis, which is what Roberts does. DSU has also met other criteria including offering military scholarships, in-state tuition for veterans, no penalties for deployed military students, and military mentoring.

“If [veterans] have a need, they can come here and talk to us,” Roberts said. “I can help advise them in their classes as well, initially when they’re coming to school and help the transition.”

For Myles Morrison, a junior mass communication major from Los Gatos, California, and a member of the Utah National Guard since 2014, transitioning into school life was difficult.

“[The National Guard] had a specific schedule for each thing, and we had a sergeant there for each moment,” Morrison said. “So our days were already planned out, so coming back here was a little discombobulating because everyone was rushing around, doing their own thing, and it kind of left me dazed and confused.”

Even being able to change out of uniform and have a hairstyle was something Morrison had to get used to.

“It was the strangest thing putting on cowboy boots and jeans,” Morrison said.

DSU has come a long way with helping veterans, said Rodney Warr, a senior human communication major from St. George and current member of the Utah National Guard for 8 years, Warr said several years ago, it was difficult to receive any military benefits or have people at DSU to work with veterans.

“I mean, I was even pulled out of classes for several trainings and was never able to get the time back that I missed,” Warr said.

DSU has since then made progress by becoming a friendlier place for veterans, Warr said.

Morrison was a member of the color guard that raised the Utah flag during the recent ceremony to dedicate the veterans memorial on campus. Morrison said he feels welcomed by the “Dixie spirit.”

“Being a veteran, we’re Trailblazers as much as everyone else is,” Morrison said. “I’ll walk by that monument and say ‘we made our mark here.’”