Frequently Asked Questions
Who are "VALOR students"?
Operation GW VALOR, created by the GW Office of Military and Veterans Affairs coined the phrase "VALOR students" to describe students that are Veterans, current service-members, members of ROTC, and military dependents. You can learn more about Operation GW VALOR here. GW Veterans frequently works with GW VALOR but is run by the students of the university and is not subordinate or funded by GW VALOR.
Is the center going to isolate military-affiliated students?
The goal of the resource center is to encourage students to remain involved and active in the military community while providing the best delivery of services possible. To enable the lounge to stay open on a 24-hour basis, GWorld enabled card readers used at the entrances will limit unaccompanied access to VALOR students and members of the affiliated organizations within the center.
However, following the model of boots-to-backpacks and backpacks-to-briefcases, the center will host events that include traditional students and non-government related employers to bridge the gap as Veterans continue their transition to civilian life. The space would be the first point-of-contact for the entire GW community including faculty and administrators, alumni, corporations, veteran service organizations, and other organizations to connect with the VALOR community at GW.
The Office of Military and Veterans Affairs was relocated last summer, why isn't that space sufficient?
The Office of Military and Veteran Affairs (also known as GW VALOR) was relocated from rental space in the "Shops at 2000 Penn" to GW owned space at 2035 F Street NW, Suite 211. The space there provides offices for three main individuals: Vice Admiral (ret.) Mel Williams - Associate Provost, Deane Highby - Chief of Staff, and Stephanie Erwin - Program Manager for Online Education. The basement is occupied by a navigation simulator used by Navy ROTC students.
This top tier of GW VALOR continues to be influential at creating programs and working with high-level GW administrators but does not handle student engagement issues daily whereas the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services (also known as the Office of VALOR Student Services), proposed to be in the Military Resource Center, does. Similar to how GW students rarely work with the president of the university, VALOR students rarely have direct interaction with the Associate Provost and their staff.
GW has created affinity housing for student organizations; why is that not sufficient?
Early on, GW Veterans and the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services met with Seth Weinshel, Executive Director- GW Housing & Financial Services, and discussed this option. We found that:
- Affinity housing would not be a valid substitute for the Resource Center as it would only account for the student lounge but would not serve as a space for administrators and formal resources to be included.
- The majority of Veteran student on campus are transfer students. In 2016, GW Admissions started notifying students of their acceptance earlier than any other year starting in April. However, GW Housing wanted contracts for students to be finalized for affinity housing no later than February.
- Less than a handful of Veterans currently live on campus. Veteran students have expressed interest in living on campus so that they could take advantage of more programs at the university, include those at night. However, the average age of VALOR students is 33 years old with many of them owning vehicles, furniture, and even large amount of military gear. Unlike traditional students, Veterans stay in the DMV area year-round and do not move back in with their parents during the breaks. GW Housing has not provided enough space, parking, long-term leases, or prices that are competitive enough for Veterans to move into the dorms. These reasons, and more, are why Veteran undergraduate students have been exempt from living on campus for several years.
Although we would enjoy seeing more housing options for Veterans, similar to how other universities house Veterans with the graduate students, the intent of this initiative simply would not be met.
Are donations tax-deductible?
Yes! Using the George Washington University's tax exemption status allows for the organizations involved to fund-raise and provide appropriate receipts to donors.
Are corporations allowed to donate?
Corporate sponsors are welcome and encouraged. Having employers involved with students enables the students to grow, to create organic mentorships, and allow employers to build a well-rounded applicant pool.
What will the center be named?
The "Military Resource Center" is the name of the initiative to create such a center. The formal name will be decided during later stages such as fundraising and with oversight by the George Washington University.