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Vietnam Veterans on Campus

Vietnam vets on campus.

UW Oshkosh Archives and Area Research Center Photo.

To help them deal with the myriad programs and regulations governing benefits, the University, in partnership with both federal and state agencies, set up no fewer than three veterans’ information programs in Dempsey Hall. The “VA Man-on-Campus” program placed a Veterans Administration representative at UWO to help students with their federal benefits.  For its part, the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Outreach created an office to help veterans with their state benefits. Finally, the University established its own Veteran’s Information Service as a referral service for vets and to inform them of changes in university policies affecting them.

The Veteran’s Information Service (VIS) was a unique University office as it was funded by student allocations. The VIS’s coordinators were made up of two students and two administrators. The VIS and the Vets’ Club served many of the same functions. Both groups sought to inform UW Oshkosh veterans of their benefits and worked to solve problems that veterans on campus were facing. Both relied on student involvement and sent representatives to the Oshkosh Student Association, the student government, to make sure their issues were known.

Disabled Veteran

The Vets’ Club organized service projects as well as social events.  The 1973 service project included bringing disabled veterans from Wood Hospital in Milwaukee up to tour the campus. They were treated to a special planetarium show at Buckstaff Planetarium, shot pool in the Cavern (the basement of Reeve Memorial Union), and watched the Packer Game at Westhaven Golf Club.

1973 Quiver UW Oshkosh Archives and Area Research Center.

Despite all the support from federal, state, and University sources, some veterans faced difficult problems when they returned home. In October of 1971, the University’s psychology department sponsored a televised interview with three student veterans on WLUK. The veterans reported that it was hard to adjust and complained they received no thanks for the job that they had done. They confided that they understood why some veterans turned to drug use as a temporary escape from the difficult challenges of readjusting. For students like these, the University hoped its counseling services as well as the social networks in place for veterans could aid in a more healthy transition back to civilian life.

Section 4: The Vietnam War
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