On Nov. 11, along with the rest the country, Bridgewater State University will honor military veterans.
BSU wants student-veterans, in particular, to know that the institution has their backs 365 days a year. For example, there are services available through the school’s Veterans Center, where veterans can be found helping veterans.
Prior to his arrival at BSU, Marine veteran David Fairfax, ’20, (pictured in photo at left) was stationed in the Philippines, where he performed airfield seizure exercises. Or, he could be found soaring down a zip line in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains.
Since completing his service in 2017, David has pursued a degree at BSU, thanks to the GI Bill®, in management information systems.
He and fellow veteran Sean Butrica, ’19, (pictured in photo at right) work in BSU’s Veterans Center to help others navigate military benefit applications.
“Veterans may think they know how the benefits work or how they are used, but most of the time paperwork isn’t filled out 100-percent correctly, and those little mistakes can actually add up and cost you time and money,” said Sean, who served in the Air Force from 2008 to 2013.
David, meanwhile, is advocating for the easy and seamless transfer of hard-earned military credits.
According to David and Sean, there are some 350 BSU student-veterans using veteran or military benefits. This keeps the center’s dedicated staff busy.
However, it isn’t all serious business: social outings are also organized, bringing together the university’s veteran population. The center recently hosted a barbeque and is looking to launch a new group, the Fellowship of Military Scholars.
Having come to college after serving in the military, many veterans are older than a typical college student. Some have started their families or work full and/or part-time jobs, which means that getting student-veterans to gather in one place often proves challenging.
Sean hopes the new group will create a place for veterans to gather and share some camaraderie.
“Anyone can join. Those who support the military, those interested in joining the military or ROTC. All students are welcome to join the club,” he said.
The only caveat is that board members of the new group must have served in the military.
David and Sean encourage folks to stop in the Veterans Center located on the ground floor in Tillinghast Hall, 45 School St.
“Our goal is to continue to involve students, to get the community together to network, help each other, and have fun,” David said.