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EFSC Expands Veterans Center to Aid Student Vets and Families
February 22, 2016 - Veterans and active duty military personnel are part of the fabric of student life at Eastern Florida State College.
About 800 are currently enrolled as students, including veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and service members stationed at nearby Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard bases.
The college is meeting their specialized needs by expanding its Military and Veterans Service Center on the Cocoa and Melbourne campuses to assist vets in the classroom and their personal lives.
The center, which opened in 2014, also lends a helping hand to their families.
“It’s a unique place that’s attracting more veterans because it offers them one-stop-shopping for services that range from academic help to learning about their veterans educational benefits,” said Kimberly Koplar, the college’s Coordinator for Military and Veterans Services.
“It gives them a place to study, work together and discuss veterans’ issues. That’s why we’ve moved into larger quarters on the Cocoa campus and are also growing our office on the Melbourne campus.”
The Cocoa office, located on the first floor of the Student Center housed in Building 11, is the center’s main facility. It includes new space for tutoring, group study, computer use and socializing.
There are also rooms to meet with officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Disabled Veterans of America and other service organizations.
The college’s Student Access for Improved Learning (SAIL) office, which provides assistance for disabled students, is also playing an important role.
That’s because some combat veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries and require additional help that the SAIL team can provide, said Koplar.
The growing Melbourne campus office, located on the first floor of Building 1, will also provide more space along with key services.
Meanwhile, center advisors are visiting the Palm Bay and Titusville campuses weekly to meet with veterans.
They also visit Patrick Air Force Base regularly to assist active duty service members along with those stationed at the Coast Guard Station and Naval Ordinance Test Unit at Port Canaveral.
In still other areas, faculty and staff are continuing to receive training from VA officials on how to better serve veterans.
The college is also holding more veteran’s resource fairs to connect vets with community agencies specializing in veteran issues.
Veterans can join the Collegiate Veterans Society with chapters on the Cocoa, Melbourne and Palm Bay campuses, and the college-wide Student Veterans of America.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our services, and the feedback we get from veterans is central to making it happen,” said Koplar.
For more information on the Military and Veterans Service Center, contact Kimberly Koplar at 321-433-7880 or via email at MVRS@easternflorida.edu. View more information and hours at easternflorida.edu/military-veterans
Drop-in visits, including from prospective students or dependents, are welcome at these locations:
Building 11, Room 113
1519 Clearlake Rd.
Cocoa, FL 32922
Bldg. 1, Rm. 140
3865 North Wickham Road
Melbourne, FL 32935