By Cait Kemp
Just in time for Veteran’s Day, the newly established Springfield College Office for Veterans and Military Services celebrates its grand opening on Nov. 14, in coordination with the Veteran’s Day ceremony being held on campus.
Springfield College has never had an office dedicated to advocating for veterans and military-affiliated students, but thanks to President Mary-Beth Cooper’s initiative, it is opening for business this semester.
Logan Large, graduate student in the Sport Exercise Psychology program, is the grad assistant representative for the Office. A veteran himself, Large is excited to have a resource for veterans and military students on campus to allow them to connect.
“Having handouts, holding events like coffee hours, and bringing people in to do seminars and workshops. Covering the whole span of different things, maybe it’s writing resumes, maybe it’s mental health stuff, it could be whatever,” said Large. “It’s kind of like a little safe haven space just for them…it’s supposed to be a place where you can kind of get away from the noise and the madness of campus, and that’s important for a lot of veterans.”
Before the Office for Veterans and Military Services was established, there was no true resource for these students. In the past, David McMahon from the Office of Spiritual Life has worked with veterans and military students and has a relationship with the ROTC program on campus. However, now there will be a direct opportunity for these students to be able to connect with other veterans, talk with Large about his experiences and just have a place to relax.
Large joined the military in 2012 shortly after graduating high school. He entered into the United States Army as an infantryman. After graduating basic training that July, he was on a plane to Afghanistan later that fall. He spent six months overseas, but had to leave his deployment early when he shattered his ankle.
He went to Fort Belvoir, a military hospital, for another six months then finally later left the military in 2014. After a couple stints in community college, he switched schools and got his degree in Exercise Science and Psychology. Now he is obtaining his graduate degree at Springfield College.
After having to leave the military due to his injury, he struggled mentally. He did not want to have to leave the Army and wanted to continue to do his job serving his country.
His own journey to come to terms with his life in the military is what inspired him to get involved with helping other veterans and military people.
“I wasn’t always this passionate…it took me a long time to come to terms with how I left the military,” said Large. “I kind of had to grow and when I grew, my passion to help grew as well. Because there were so many things that I needed help with, if I’m having this much trouble, I know there are other people struggling.”
Large is the only representative in the Office as of now, but plans to create work study positions for veteran and military-affiliated students to get involved with the organization and planning of events and activities.
A young, new creation on campus, the Office for Veterans and Military Services is already showing its excitement and dedication to being involved with students and the community.
For more information, contact Logan Large at firstname.lastname@example.org, and take a visit to the Office, which is on the corner of Alden and Middlesex St, adjacent to the Springfield College arch.
Photo Courtesy Cait Kemp