Wright Center promotes military friendly campus


Taylor Egnarski

Recent graduates Kyle Russel and Eric Gieseke unfolding the flag at 2015 Veteran’s Day ceremony outside of Ullsvik Hall.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville was recently awarded the top military friendly school by the Military Advanced Education and Transitioning 2016 Guide to Military Friendly Colleges and Universities. This is not the first time that UW-Platteville has been awarded with the same or similar awards.

Sandy Brick-Margelofsky, the Director of the Wright Center for Non-Traditional and Veterans Students, is a large part of the reason why UW-Platteville gets its reputation for being so military friendly. The Wright Center serves around 300 students on campus who are either in active service or veterans. The students vary in age from 18 to mid-60s.

Although this award is great to receive, Brick-Margelofsky believes that UW-System has developed a better way to evaluate military friendliness.

“The other system (MAE) is good but some of those you have to pay for and we are getting away from that,” Brick-Margelofsky said.

The new UW-System evaluation looks at if the school has a physical space for veterans, safe zone training for faculty, veterans club, specific orientation for veterans, credit for military experience and counselors for combat veterans.

“In creating a center like this we had to decide what the students needed and what would make them stay,” Brick-Magelofsky said. “It’s not about just getting the students to come here, that’s one aspect, but it’s also once they’re here, making sure they stay.”

The Wright Center offers a number of activities and services in order to achieve better retention. One important element of introducing veterans to the school is offering services specifically for them. The center offers tutoring services and counseling from a local combat veteran.

The counselor is not someone who is on campus every day, but does come every other week to meet with students who have been in combat. These students may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or may want to talk to someone about their experiences.

Tutoring helps bridge the gap in any potentially missed years of education.

“Sometimes when you have a gap in education, you just forget things,” Brick-Margelofsky said. “I know that the day I graduated high school, I forgot all my math.”

In addition, the Wright Center offers faculty and staff education. The center held two different safe zone trainings that addressed the needs of military and veteran students last fall.

Along with educating staff, the Wright Center also serves as a liaison between students in the Reserve and their professors when the students need to leave. They advocate for the student and talk to the professor to see if deadlines can be flexible.

One guardsman, Sam Kiezier, senior business administration major, has had great experiences with professors working with him when he needs to leave for training. He often has to make up assignments before, after or during his time away.

“If I left for a week or two weeks, there is no legislation protecting me from making up those points. It is all based on the good will of the professor,” Kiezier said.

Another guardsman, Lance Yoerger, senior engineering major, enjoys UW-Platteville because of the camaraderie surrounding veterans and active reserve students. There has been many times when he leaves class that people will approach him and ask what unit or branch he is in.

“The frequency with which it happens really tells me that there are many military personnel on campus and it confirms to me that our campus is military friendly because many are here and many want to stay,” Yoerger said.

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