BOTHELL — For many veterans, it can be difficult to return home and transition to a new phase of life. This often includes attending college, finishing a degree and finding a career.
Almost five percent of the student body at the University of Washington Bothell are veterans. While that may seem like a small amount, it equates to more than 200 students.
For this Veterans Day, the UW Bothell debuted its new Veterans Resource Center.
Through the Veterans Life Initiative, the school was able to gauge the need and interest of veterans. The results indicated that student veterans wanted to have a space designated for them so they could create relationships with one another as well as their fellow classmates.
Located in UW1-011 at Founders Hall, the new VRC has space for students to complete homework and hang out together. In addition, the center also has a refrigerator, microwave oven, an Xbox and a computer work station.
At the opening ceremony on Nov. 8, UW Bothell chancellor Bjong Wolf Yeigh said he was happy that student veterans have a place made for them on campus.
“We’re dedicated to creating supportive and welcoming campus for our veterans and students,” he said. “I’m really happy to see that they have their own space but that it’s open to everyone.”
According to a Veterans Affair report, about 20 veterans die by suicide a day. In addition, after adjusting for differences in age and sex, risk for suicide was 22 percent higher among veterans in the United States when compared to non-veteran adults. The risk for male veterans — after adjusting for differences in age — was 19 percent higher than non-veteran men. For veteran women — after adjusting for differences in age — the risk of suicide was two and a half times higher when compared to non-veteran women.
The keynote speaker at last Thursday’s opening ceremony was Kyle Weaver, the vice president of the Student Veterans Association at UW Bothell.
“It’s been amazing to see this dream become a reality,” Weaver said. “This will be great for us to come in and do homework and hang out…who knows, this could possibly save a life.”
Cole Zajicek, a veteran and student, said he feels grateful and glad about the resource center opening.
“It gives a sense of community,” he said. “I feel like not everyone understands how to relate to a veteran and sometimes vice versa, so I think this will help create a better and stronger community overall.”
This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.