studentveteransnrWhen Sergeant James Ulrich enrolled at Winona State University after being deployed to southeast Asia with the Marines, he was adamant about not living in the residence halls. The accounting and criminal justice student was in his early twenties and worried he would not mesh with other first-year students fresh out of high school.

Lucky for Ulrich and other student veterans, WSU offers a residential environment focused on meeting the needs of its student veterans.

WSU opened the Theme House in 2012 to provide a housing option for students interested in similar topic areas. The house, which was remodeled employing sustainable practices and features, originally served as a residential opportunity for students interested in sustainability and the environment.

A few years ago, the house transitioned to serve as a community, home and meeting place for student veterans. It even includes a ‘drop-in’ center for student-veterans support, featuring office hours by the Minnesota Higher Education Veterans Program coordinator for the Southeast Region.

For student veterans like Ulrich and Petty Officer Second Class Kyle Wallerich, a criminal justice student who served in the Navy, the Veterans’ Center at the Sustainability House serves as a resource hub and support network, a community of peers who can understand each others’ experiences.

“It’s nice to have people who can relate,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich and Wallerich also cite WSU’s counseling services, faculty and opportunities, such as early registration, as benefits that make their schooling easier and the choice to attend WSU an obvious one.

For WSU’s Veteran Certifying Official Carl Stange, WSU’s student veteran community is a valuable asset to the greater WSU and Winona communities.

“These students made sacrifices and gave of themselves in service to our country. It is now our duty to dedicate resources to their success and find ways to make their WSU experience more fulfilling,” Stange said. “Establishing a Veterans’ Center and house has been our first step in support of this endeavor.”

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.

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Samantha Stetzer

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