||Yellow ribbons are in place across campus in honor of Military Appreciation Week at BHSU and the homecoming of the 842nd. This year's homecoming theme is Operation: Swarm Days in recognition of service men and women. For the third consecutive year BHSU has been named to the Military Friendly Schools list by G.I. Jobs.
Black Hills State University has been named to the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools by G.I. Jobs. This list recognizes the top 15 percent of higher educational institutions that are most dedicated to supporting America’s service members and veterans as students. This is the third consecutive year BHSU has been recognized with this honor.
BHSU, which has the highest percentage of veteran students among South Dakota schools, has a long history of working with the military to provide educational options for veterans and active duty military people. For more than 50 years, BHSU taught courses on the Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City. BHSU now offers more than 100 courses every semester at the University Center–Rapid City. Many veterans and students that are currently in the military also attend classes on the BHSU campus in Spearfish.
The University provides many services to veteran students. BHSU just opened a new Vets Center, located in the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. The Vets Center is designed to provide a relaxing atmosphere to study and socialize. It serves students who are veterans, those currently serving in the military, and their dependents. The center provides support services, program information, and a location for these students to network. This will in turn create opportunities for peer support and mentoring. The biweekly meetings of the Vets Club, led by the president Chris Baley, will also be held at the Vets Center. The BHSU Vets Club is also a member of Student Veterans of America (SVA).
The Vets Center at BHSU is a self-service study and lounge area that offers 10-15 hours per week of tutoring and services. There is collaboration between the center and off-campus groups, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as other on campus groups, such as the Student Success Center.
BHSU also provides veteran students and those currently serving in the military with various financial opportunities. For example, the Student Success Center currently employs three veteran students, providing them with a source of income and a flexible schedule that will not interfere with their educational goals. There has recently been an endowment set up with the BHSU Foundation, by a BHSU Alum, specifically for qualifying veteran students.
There are several BHSU students among the 842nd National Guard Engineering Unit which was deployed Sept. 2011. Following deployment, BHSU worked with Friends of the 842nd to send care packages to the soldiers in Afghanistan. Everyone at the University is excited for the return of the 842nd and is looking forward to continuing work with these students to ensure they reach their educational goals. In anticipation of their return, this year’s BHSU homecoming parade theme is “Operation: Swarm Days." Participants are encouraged to design parade entries with a military theme, as a show of support to the 842nd National Guard Unit.
The 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The 1,739 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience. These schools are making the grade by offering scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit and other services to those who served. The survey tabulation process, methodology and weightings that comprise the 2013 list were independently verified by Ernst and Young LLP. Each year schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than the previous year via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an Academic Advisory Board (AAB) consisting of educators from schools across the country. A full list of board members can be found at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/board.