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Serving those who’ve served

Last Updated 13 January, 2016

Current student Sandra Rollings is finding a community of belonging at Northwest Nazarene University in part through the newly formed Office of Veterans Services.

Sandra started at NNU in 2013 as a nursing major hoping to put her experience as a medic in the the army with two deployments to good use. She soon discovered a new goal of becoming an athletic trainer for a college or professional sports team and is now a kinesiology major with an athletic training emphasis.

As a non-traditional student coming in later than the norm due to her time in the military, Sandra initially focused only on academics, her job at the VA, and her family (husband and three children). However, thanks to an invitation from a fellow military student, she became involved in the life of the campus in a whole new way—helping other vets and military students connect through Veterans Services and the Student Veterans Club.

“The goal of Veterans Services is to get vets and military members connected with the community of the university,” Sandra says. She serves as the vice president of the Student Veterans Club and is the first work-study student in the newly formed Veterans Services. “We are gearing up to be a one-stop shop for vets to help them at the university and to use their benefits.”

She shares the importance of Veterans Services for her and others: “This place has given us a chance to connect and form relationships. We can come share our war stories and basic training stories. But we aren’t here just for vets, we want to get more integrated into the greater community, so it isn’t ‘we’re veterans and you’re traditional students.’”

One of our goals is to become more cohesive on campus and to become more a part of the campus community. We really want to work to integrate student veterans with the rest of the student body,” she says.

The efforts of Sandra and others to serve this unique student group are getting noticed. This fall NNU was named a 2016 Military Friendly® School. Of the 1,400 schools designated as Military Friendly for 2016, NNU is ranked among the Top 25 schools for best Private Colleges and Universities, best online programs and best graduate programs. The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

Director of NNU Veterans Services Bob Sanchez says, “At NNU we recognize and honor the sacrifices and service of our military members, veterans, and their families and are blessed with the leadership and broad experiences they bring to our campus community and the important contributions they make each day.”

For more information about NNU’s commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit nnu.edu/veterans.