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UNG earns Military Friendly Schools silver award status

March 3, 2021

The University of North Georgia (UNG) has been named a Military Friendly School for 2021-22. It is one of 70 schools to earn silver award status and one of some 750 total schools honored.

The Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine.

Nighthawk Engagement and Student Transitions (NEST) leads UNG's efforts to engage veteran and military-connected students. With recent changes to the structure of NEST, the university now has 10 staff members cross-trained to help these students.

"We are able to offer more assistance to our veteran students and their dependents," said Christy Orr, assistant director of NEST.

Scott Paquette, a senior from Dahlonega, Georgia, pursuing a degree in psychology, is a student worker in NEST. He is also the president of Student Veterans of America (SVA) on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. Paquette said he and his fellow veterans appreciate the Veteran Resource Center in the 319 suite of the Hoag Student Center. Veterans on the Gainesville Campus have a similar space in the Military Resource Center in room 119 of the Dunlap-Mathis Building.

"It's a place they can sit and be in the company of like-minded people," Paquette said.

On both campuses, the room features a study space, computer stations, free printing and a kitchenette. Cheyenne Paterson, a sophomore from Roswell, New Mexico, pursuing a degree in elementary and special education, commutes from Jasper and takes advantage of the Veteran Resource Center her two days per week on campus.

"I am in the room every single Tuesday and Thursday," Paterson said. "Being able to have a certain room I can sit in and take care of my schoolwork is fantastic."

In addition to the dedicated space and staff to assist them, students with a military background receive specialized correspondence upon acceptance to alert them of the types of assistance they can obtain at UNG.

"It relieves some of the stress because they know off the bat there's someone on campus to help them," Orr said.

Plus, UNG regularly offers Green Zone trainings for faculty and staff to help them understand the unique challenges veterans and military-connected students face, such as PTSD, military education benefits, and college credit for military courses and occupations.

"The Military Friendly designation acknowledges that we as an institution value and put forth effort to serve our veteran and military-connected student populations," said Darcy Hayes, NEST director. "Christy has been the champion for these student populations and continues to work hard to provide education for faculty and staff and to enhance resources and supports for these students."

Paquette said UNG is intentional in assisting the SVA chapters on its Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses.

Any veteran or military-connected student may call 706-864-1010 or email nest@ung.edu for assistance.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey from Viqtory, which is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs and Military Friendly brands.

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