Promises and problems


Homelessness and unemployment rates higher than the national average are among the challenges facing veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who are transitioning back into civilian life.

On Sept. 28, the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees approved a new location for the Office of Veterans Affairs that will help veterans ease into the university setting.

The center will be built on the grounds of the demolished Peck House on Wick Avenue.

According to the initial fall 2012 full-time enrollment report by the Office of Institutional Research and Policy Analysis, 330 veterans are enrolled at YSU.

YSU President Cynthia Anderson lent her support to the new veterans center.

“Our idea was to have a place where a veteran could go to get advised, apply, register, get their GI Bill information and maybe even be able to have some community agencies there to help them out with any other needs,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the new office will be “a great addition” to the campus — and one that is “a long time coming.”

James Olive, the program manager for YSU’s Office of Veterans Affairs, said veterans need the center to help them succeed in their academic careers. Olive added that the office offers “a center for studying and networking, one-on-one time, and personal attention and availability to address any concerns that veterans may have.”

“It is a debt owed by our society, in particularly all [institutes of higher learning] and of those particularly public institutions,” he said.

Neil Anthonsen, a retired petty officer second class, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Sept. 6, 2001. After being discharged in 2006, Anthonsen said he is just now getting adjusted to civilian life and to YSU.

Highlighting the lengths that YSU goes to assist veterans, Anthonsen said, “It’s excellent at YSU. I transferred from Kent State, and it’s so much better here.”