By Jennifer Rodriguez
There are roughly 360 student veterans attending Youngstown State University. If you are one of them, YSU offers many benefits — including several veterans’ organizations.
Patrick Williams, the coordinator of Veterans Affairs for the past four years, is found in the Veterans Resource Center on Wick Avenue. Williams said the resource center is available to help veterans.
From educational assistance to personal issues, the staff exists to serve veterans’ needs. Among other things, Williams helps students find “veteran friendly classes.”
“Veteran friendly classes allow students to be with other veterans, so it can be a little less intimidating,” said Williams.
Of the 360 veteran students attending YSU, 25 percent still serve in the military. Attending Veteran Friendly classes is beneficial if still serving because the professors are equipped to work with students who still have military obligations.
The Veterans Resource Center also offers the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. The AVASB is a military entrance exam for non-veteran students considering joining the armed forces.
Mauro Vescera served in the Marine Corps for five years. Now he’s at YSU majoring in economics, and he works in the Veterans Resource Center.
“We have our own computer lab, there is a lounge where you can watch TV or play games like Xbox, PlayStation or foosball. People also donate food and snacks to us every month,” Vescera said. “If you need help with tutoring we can also help with that.”
Paul Arthur said the center also provides food during finals week. They have a cookout to help ease the pressure of the exams.
Arthur has been working at the center for two years. He’s a former Marine majoring in social work.
“We do a lot here to try and help people transition back into being a student,” Arthur said.
He has been out of the military for about 15 years, but he said he will probably never fully transition.
The Veterans Resource Center has also been partnering with the VA clinic on Belmont Avenue. A doctor and a social worker come down twice a month to talk with the vets at the center.
The Armed Forces Student Association also caters to veterans at YSU. Arthur has been the president of AFSA for the last two years.
“One of the things the AFSA has recently done is team up with the Habitat for Humanity and helped build a house for a veteran,” Arthur said.
YSU also has a ROTC program, which provides leadership training in different fields.