UIC offers opportunities for military veterans, future officers

Chicago Fire Battalion ROTC cadets participate in ROTC training, October 2013.

Chicago Fire Battalion ROTC cadets participate in ROTC training last fall.

UIC offers services and opportunities for students interested in joining the military through ROTC — and for military veterans interested in earning a college degree.

There were 387 student veterans on campus last semester, said Annette Wright, director of Student Veteran Affairs.

The ROTC program, called the Chicago Fire Battalion, has 47 UIC students along with cadets from IIT, Roosevelt University and University of Chicago, said Lt. Col Luke Meyers, professor of military science.

In the Student Veteran Affairs office, “we try to create a place on campus where student veterans are able to come to one office to access resources, be assisted with enrolling and matriculate through UIC, ” Wright said.

Through a partnership with the Jessie Brown VA Medical Center, a staff psychologist comes to campus three days a week to provide one-on-one services for student veterans and educate faculty and staff about the military community.

“We’re trying to create a climate on campus that is more supportive,” Wright said. “To educate faculty and staff about the strength student veterans bring to campus and de-mystify, or de-stigmatize, a lot of the stereotypes that exist around that population.”

The Student Veterans Association offers networking and advocacy for student veterans. A new Veteran Resource Center scheduled to open this fall in Student Center East will include a lounge, study area and programming.

The ROTC program allows cadets to graduate into an officer position in the army. Courses are offered in leadership development, military history, tactics and physical fitness. Students who aren’t in ROTC can also take courses without any obligation for military service, Meyers said.

“The program provides great opportunities for not only UIC students, but also the community in general,” he said, “whether it’s leadership opportunities, or development of the individual to become better.”

The Office of Student Veteran Affairs is located in 3030 Student Services Building. For more information, call 312-996-4857.

The ROTC Fire Battalion is located in 728 W. Roosevelt Road.

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