A meet and greet hosted by the Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) Veterans Affairs Office welcomed student veterans to the campus on Friday, Sept. 22, offering fellowship and information about college and local support services.
“Operation Stand Down” brought together some of the College’s 150 veterans providing guest speakers and a variety of informational materials from RCGC and outside organizations, as students mingled and enjoyed a complimentary breakfast and lunch. RCGC’s first inaugural Operation Stand Down was designed to show gratitude and hospitality to the men and women of the armed forces, empowering the students with knowledge about available academic and veteran assistance. Guest speakers included Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Edward McEvoy, Pricilla Arias of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care “Vets 4 Warriors” and Dr. Lois Lawson-Briddell with RCGC’s Center for Counseling and Wellness Services.
John Cancel, a Marine veteran and student worker in RCGC’s Veterans Affairs Office, is committed to helping other college vets make full use of their military benefits. A South Carolina transplant, he is enjoying the different perspective of the South Jersey area and his first experience in higher education.
“My mission working in the Veterans Affairs Office is to prepare students for college life and instruct them on how to use veteran benefits to the best of their ability,” stated the Criminal Justice major.
Marine Corps veteran Dan Volpe, president of the College’s Student Veterans Organization (SVO), was also at the event disseminating information about the organization to RCGC current, prospective and alumni students who have served in the military. There are currently 15 members in SVO and Volpe plans to connect the group with other student clubs on campus.
“Veterans want to serve. It is the reason they joined the military. Let’s get the different clubs together to help each other out,” said the West Deptford psychology major who plans to pursue a career in investigative journalism. “You served your country — you can still serve. People in our own backyard need assistance. We can help to make a change in the world.”
Joy Gladness, a Navy veteran Enginemen 3rd Class from Sicklerville, returned to her alma mater for the Operation Stand Down event. A Rowan University junior majoring in psychology, Gladness often shares her former human resources and federal government experiences to aid homeless, jobless and in-debt veterans.
“I am always willing to assist other veterans and consult with them on the side about the information I have learned over the years,” noted Gladness.
RCGC is proud to be recognized as a Military Friendly School for the seventh consecutive year. For more information about RCGC military education and veteran services, visit RCGC.edu/Veterans or call 856-464-5239.
Rowan College at Gloucester County is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.