By: Jonathan Baca, Staff Reporter
The newly formed Veterans Club will help veterans make the tough transition from service to college, said club adviser and full-time CHSS instructor Jim Johnson.
The club will offer guidance about the technical aspects of attending college, as well as a community of support that veterans can fall back on in times of need, he said.
“We didn’t have any veterans clubs here at CNM and other colleges do. We decided that this would be a good thing to do to help veterans make the transition back into college from military service,” said Johnson.
The club’s first scheduled event is a Veterans Day Flag Ceremony and recruiting effort on Monday, Nov. 12 at 2:30 p.m. at the Student Resource Center on Main campus, said Louis E. Adams Jr., program specialist for the VA Department.
A color guard from Kirtland Air Force Base is scheduled to conduct the flag-raising ceremony and club members plan to have tables set up on Main and Montoya campuses near the cafeterias from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in an effort to raise awareness of the club to other veterans, said Adams.
“We’re going to let the veterans know we are here and what we are doing, in addition to honoring veterans,” said club adviser and full-time BIT instructor Chris Burns.
Members must be current students and veterans or active duty members of the military, said Johnson.
Main campus was recently selected as one of several campuses in the state to have a representative from Veterans Affairs work directly with the school’s veteran community, said Burns.
“It’s whatever the veterans want to make it. Whatever they think is important to them and what they need as a group,” said Burns.
Communic at ions major and Vice President of the Veterans Club Armando Gonzalez said the school already has a vibrant veteran community, but he felt there was a need for them to have their own group.
“A lot of people come here from Kirtland and a lot of National Guardsmen choose to come here. A lot of our veterans need financial aid, a lot of them are disabled, and CNM does great work supporting those special needs,” said Gonzalez.
Burns said they have also discussed organizing seminars to educate faculty and staff about the challenges that veterans may face in the classroom.
“We have envisioned doing some veteran-to-veteran mentoring, helping to ease veterans back into academia, because that can often be a very difficult adjustment,” said Burns.
Anyone interested in joining the Veterans Club can email Chris Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All members of the CNM community are also invited to join them at the Flag Ceremony on Veterans Day, Monday Nov. 12 on Main campus.
“Some veterans have a very hard time coming back to school. They are often a lot older than the average student; their life experiences are a lot different,” said Johnson.