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Stanford to broaden support for military community on campus

The Office for Military-Affiliated Communities will provide support to veterans applying for benefits; coordinate all academic, social and cultural programs designed for military-affiliated communities; and help faculty identify research funding that offers academic opportunities for veterans.

Joy Leighton ROTC students at a community gathering

Army ROTC students meet up at one of the quarterly gatherings for the campus military-affiliated community sponsored by the Haas Center for Public Service.

In the fall, Stanford will open the Office for Military-Affiliated Communities (OMAC). Located in Tresidder Memorial Union, OMAC will offer full-time support to active duty service members, veterans, selected reserves, ROTC members, dependents and spouses of veterans, and alumni who have military affiliations.

The new office will replace the Student Veteran Affairs Office, which opened last spring. The office provided services one half-day per week. OMAC will have a full-time staff member.

As the central place on campus for military-affiliated communities, OMAC will focus on the administration and management of VA financial benefits, coordinate and support educational opportunities for military-affiliated communities, and conduct outreach to faculty regarding engagement and support for faculty grants or other funding specifically identified for military and veteran communities.

Currently, Stanford has nearly 100 student veterans receiving benefits. The office grew out of the need for a more centralized place to support a growing population. Initially, OMAC will work with the Registrar's Office, the Financial Aid Office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The office will also collaborate with existing programs, such as the Haas Center's Military Service as Public Service program and an alumni mentorship program through the Career Development Center.

Beginning in September, the OMAC staff member will help facilitate engagement between various groups, including mentorship programs for ROTC and opportunities for wider campus programming to facilitate the integration of veteran and military students into the larger campus community.

"This groundbreaking initiative creates programming around military service that is truly innovative," said Greg Boardman, vice provost for student affairs, whose office will oversee OMAC.

In addition to coordinating existing resources, OMAC is partnering with Stanford Summer Session, which will offer Stanford 2 to 4: A Veteran's Accelerator, an eight-week program designed to help veterans move from community college to four-year institutions. The program, which begins this month, will enroll approximately 20 students in two courses and will provide tuition and fees, on-campus accommodations, a dining plan and a book stipend.

Joy Leighton is the communications director in the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.