Veterans Upward Bound names director, goals for students
The new year brings new programs and leadership to Grand Valley State University. This past year, GVSU received a federal grant worth $1.3 million to establish new veteran education programming, resulting in the creation of the TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) office, and now a director has been appointed to lead the VUB.
“The Veterans Upward Bound is a pre-college program funded by the Department of Education," said Tim Marroquin, director of the VUB office at GVSU. "It’s a grant that seeks to serve veterans who are seeking to go to college or are returning to college. The focus was on the veterans who have served, but also that may be first-generation or low-income status or families.”
Marroquin was named director of the VUB office this past semester. The new VUB staff has already begun working to develop plans for veteran education at GVSU, though that isn’t the entire focus of the VUB.
“VUB is focused broadly on supporting veterans in their pursuit of higher education, no matter where they decide to go,” said Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity at GVSU, via email. “While we hope participants will consider GVSU, which has a dedicated record of support for student veterans, our goal is ensure participants are supported and prepared to pursue any postsecondary opportunities. Of course, at GVSU we are continually striving to create an environment where all students can be successful. This includes our student veterans.”
Marroquin said the VUB also strives to collaborate with various student-veteran associations on campus as well.
“Without a doubt we are going to work collaboratively with the student organizations on campus, such as the veterans support network, and then connecting our students with current Grand Valley students who are veterans to help mentor or start collaborative projects,” he said.
Marroquin believes that getting involved with the VUB can be a valuable experience for current student veterans at GVSU to serve as allies to the veterans in the VUB program. According to him, veterans participating in the VUB program may have questions for current student veterans at GVSU regarding higher education, or they might wish to know how current student veterans have navigated coming to GVSU.
“While VUB is mostly externally facing—supporting veterans who are not yet in a college—our program will engage current student veterans in several programmatic efforts,” Bernal said. “This includes student-worker positions that allow for mentorship opportunities, programs that connect current GVSU student veterans with prospective supports and opportunities to collaborate with external veteran agencies.”
Those interested in learning more about the VUB can visit www.gvsu.edu/vub/. Another way to learn more about the VUB program is by contacting Marroquin, whose contact information is available on the VUB website.
“The program is available for participants now, and we encourage any interested veteran to contact us to learn more,” Bernal said. “The program is free and provides significant support to ensure veterans will be successful as they navigate college opportunities.”