A veterans’ advocate position will be instituted at Cornell to serve both as a tool for student veterans and as a liaison for Cornell’s administration and recruitment efforts.
The new position, funded by a $200,000 donation by the Adelphic Cornell Educational Fund, will last for at least three years, starting in August 2017.
This veterans’ representative will focus on three main tasks — assisting veterans who are considering applying to Cornell, helping undergraduate veterans transition from military to campus life and connecting student veterans with company recruiters for future career opportunities, according to Ryan Kokell ’19, head of internal affairs for Cornell Undergraduate Veterans Association.
“This representative will wear multiple hats and help veterans navigate Cornell’s decentralized campus and the resources already in place,” said David Outlaw ’17, president and co-founder of CUVA. “It’s kind of a full circle — helping veterans while they’re applying, assisting them while they’re on campus and helping them succeed after they graduate.”
A committee consisting of Dean of Students Vijay Pendakur, two CUVA members and a veteran from the Johnson Graduate School of Management will select the veterans’ representative after spring break.
One of the main goals for this representative will focus on “setting up veterans for success after graduation,” Outlaw said.
“A lot of companies are looking to hire veterans, but they don’t necessarily have a single point of contact on campus,” Outlaw said. “We’re hoping that this person can even connect veterans with FourBlock — a recruiting program that connects veterans with industry leaders.”
Kokell also said that the veterans’ advocate would focus on outreach programs and other ways to connect future veteran students with Cornell admissions.
“Since most veterans are transfer students, we want to reach out to veterans and let them know that Cornell is accessible,” Kokell said.
“Ideally, we would like the representative to record numbers on how many veterans applied and were accepted to Cornell, and if they were rejected, why they didn’t get in.”
One of 24 student veterans on campus, Outlaw said that one of the “initial hurdles” for CUVA was generating awareness for veterans’ issues.
“We have such a small community that awareness wasn’t there,” Outlaw said. “Veterans are often older students — we graduated from high school and went directly into the military.”
However, Outlaw was firm in his belief that veterans were a key part of the community that deserved more attention from the administration.
“I think we contribute a lot to the classroom with our different experiences from going out into the world,” Outlaw said.