Chris Pond enlisted in the National Guard his junior year of high school. Attending training over the summer months, the Braintree, Mass., resident was a soldier even before he chose to attend Norwich University as a Rook.
During his sophomore year, the Vermont National Guard was deployed to Afghanistan, Pond along with them. For nine months he worked as Blackhawk helicopter crew chief before returning home.
Upon coming back, he found he had been completely dis-enrolled from the university, and struggled to find the motivation to return.
“After I got back, I really had to push myself to return,” said the now-23-year-old criminal justice major and senior. “I didn’t receive any support from the school, and I felt I was going at it alone.”
But Norwich has been overhauling the way it accommodates student veterans over the last two years in order to help them better integrate into the college lifestyle, according to the Assistant Director for Student Success/Veteran Affairs, Steve Looke.
“Before we had a veteran advocate of the staff to handle all veteran issues,” said Looke. “Now we have a veteran’s team, with a representative in the registrar’s office, financial aid, the bursar’s, and me.” [Read more…]