Kent State earns Military Friendly School honor for ninth straight year

Members of Kent State’s Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs perform a flag-raising ceremony on the Student Green at Risman Plaza during Kent State’s observance of Veterans Day Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

Alex Kamczyc

Leaving the service can be hard. Men and women from all across the country dedicate their lives to serving their country in the military, a daunting task to many. Coming back from the service and getting reacclimated into society can be even more difficult — but not at Kent State.

For the ninth consecutive year, the university received the Military Friendly School designation for its Kent campus.

“I feel accepted, I have a lot buddies that go to other campuses and colleges that don’t really have the experience that we have here for being militarily accepted,” said Brogan Macmillan, a junior criminal justice major and a member of the Marine Corps Reserve. “It’s definitely a benefit to be here at Kent and to have a campus like this that’s so appreciative and helpful.”

The title is given by Military Friendly, a branch of Victory Media, a veteran-operated business that focuses on helping military service members transition into living in the civilian world. It was also given to Kent State’s satellite campuses in Trumbull, Stark and Tuscarawas.

The university is noted for its leading practices in recruiting and supporting post-military students.

Kent State offers the Center for Adult and Veteran Services, a program dedicated to helping students with military backgrounds both in and out of the classroom. The center offers counseling, as well as pre-admission counseling to help ex-service members decide the career path they want to take in the future.

“Kent State has definitely taken full advantage of putting their helping hand out to help people like me get into the real world and get us accommodated for the civilian lifestyle,” Macmillan said. “To have people really care that we’re here, I’m completely full of gratitude for that.”

The center also acts as a hub for students connected through the military to look at their transcripts, study and hang out. They also offer services like classes specific to veterans, including a “First Year Experience” course for students getting acclimated to college life.

All of these programs and classes are implemented for the sole purpose of letting these veterans know they belong in the civilian world and to welcome them to a life without the service.

“It’s important to show a prospective student that this is a great place to be,” said Joshua Rider, the director for the Center for Adult and Veteran Services on campus. “Or for the student that’s here, it’s to retain them, to make that student know that they matter — that they belong here, that they’re accepted and that there’s a place for them here.”

Organizations like Military Friendly and Victory Media aren’t the only groups that have noticed the efforts of Kent State and their pursuit of making campus accessible to everyone.

“It shows that the institution that you’re attending values men and women that have served to protect the freedoms of this country,” Rider said. “It’s a statement to everybody. As an institution of higher education, we value those students.”

Alex Kamczyc is a features correspondent. Contact him at [email protected]

Gretchen Lasso is TV2 reporter. Contact her at [email protected].