New veterans center coming to UW Bothell

UW military flags

University of Washington Bothell Chancellor Wolf Yeigh announced a new veterans resource center will be open in fall 2018 in Founders Hall, UW1-011. 

Having a space for military veterans to access UW Bothell services and connect with fellow veterans grew from the Veterans Life Initiative that Yeigh announced last year to help create and support a diverse campus community. A task force of student, faculty, staff and alumni recommended creation of a center to enhance veterans’ educational experience. 

There are about 200 veterans on campus and about 70 others who are spouses or children of veterans, eligible for benefits. UW Bothell Student Affairs coordinates Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and campus programs under the direction of Veterans Services Manager Rosa Liu. 

The center fulfills a promise made in 2017 when Yeigh, who is a Navy veteran, signed a memorandum of understanding to continue UW Bothell’s membership with Partners for Veteran Supportive Campuses, a statewide coalition of colleges. 

“When somebody comes on campus and says, ‘I’m a veteran, I need resources,’ they’re going to be taken to that one centralized space and taken care of,“ said Ben Studley (community psychology ’16), a member of the task force and a Master of Arts in policy studies student. 

Studley is a Navy veteran who also works on veterans services in the Bothell office of U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene. He’s a former VetCorps navigator for UW Bothell. The navigator is a position funded by the VA and AmeriCorps to help veterans make their way through higher education and training programs.  

The new center will be staffed by a VetCorps navigator and by two student employees funded by the VA to help with benefits and other issues. The center also will have room for the UW Bothell Student Veterans Association, which is assisting in plans for the new space. 

"Chancellor Yeigh is committed to cultivating a more welcoming and supportive campus for veterans and their families, and this designated space on campus is a place where veterans can build community through their shared experiences,” said Emmalyn Kirby, the current UW Bothell VetCorps navigator.  

“It will be a place that veterans can rely on and turn to for support and resources as they transition into the next phase of their lives,” said Kirby, a Navy reservist and UW graduate student in public administration at the Evans School. 

That’s a big deal for veterans transitioning out of the military to civilian life and losing the culture and camaraderie of their unit, said Kirby. 

College campuses can feel like a “different planet — a lonely planet,” especially because most veterans are older with different life experience than many students, Kirby said.  

The new veterans resource center will be a place for veterans to start building a new community of support. 

Wolf Yeigh signs veterans campus agreement

Chancellor Wolf Yeigh and the director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Lourdes E. “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos, signed a memorandum of understanding in 2017.  It continued UW Bothell’s membership with Partners for Veteran Supportive Campuses. / Marc Studer photo