MCC O.A.S.I.S Builds Camaraderie Among Student Veterans

Manchester, Conn., - (January 29, 2010)….For MCC student and military combat veteran Aaron Jones, interacting with other students was one of the biggest challenges he faced when entering college. Jones, of Manchester, explained that after serving in the military, he found it difficult to interact with students because many of them were unaware of the experiences of veterans. “Many students really don’t understand the challenges faced by veterans, both abroad and returning from combat,” stated Jones.

Manchester Community College recently celebrated the grand opening of its Veterans O.A.S.I.S Center, a dedicated space on campus for veterans and military service men and women to network, socialize, study and share as they integrate into the college experience. The O.A.S.I.S, which stands for Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service members, is part of the College’s student affairs division. “The college is committed to developing resources and programs that assist our veteran and military service students in attaining their academic goals at the college,” stated Dr. G. Duncan Harris, dean of student affairs. “Our job is to help them be the best students they can be. The O.A.S.I.S is one facet of this strategy.”

The O.A.S.I.S Center officially opened in fall 2009 and, during that semester, MCC enrolled 249 veterans in credit-bearing courses. According to many scholars, adjustment to college can be challenging for veterans. As non-traditional students, they may have trouble connecting with traditional college-age students, and they often have to balance multiple responsibilities. “I served in the Marine Corps and was forced to grow up fast,” stated Joshua Pasay of Vernon. “As a 24-year-old student, the hardest part for me was connecting with my 18-year-old classmates.”

“The O.A.S.I.S is a place, a haven, a getaway for the veterans on campus to accomplish their own personal missions,” stated Pasay. “The resources provided are priceless, whether it’s an open computer to complete assignments, guidance on how to decipher complex military-related paperwork or providing avenues of assistance otherwise unattainable.”

“Since the opening this past fall, the O.A.S.I.S has seen a lot of student activity,” stated Ta’Shema Odoms, MCC counselor and Veterans O.A.S.I.S coordinator. “MCC staff and faculty have had more opportunities to connect and build rapport with our veterans, and we look forward to growing the services that are currently being offered to our veteran population.”

The O.A.S.I.S Center is a component of the Veteran Affairs Support Team, which ensures comprehensive support services are offered to MCC student veterans. Services include counseling, financial aid assistance and academic support, including tutoring. The O.A.S.I.S Center is located in the Lowe Building in room L101, and is completely furnished with computers, a study area, comfortable seating, and a mini kitchen. Many items in the room where donated from local organizations including Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs of Connecticut and Transfer Enterprises, Inc., a refurbished furniture business located in Manchester, whose staff comprises primarily veterans.

“The O.A.S.I.S. Center is a huge way of thanking our troops that have, will and would serve if called upon,” stated Keith Weather, MCC student and U.S. Navy veteran. “I would encourage student veterans to use the O.A.S.I.S Center,” stated Jones. “The best people to talk to veterans are veterans. We can relate to each other, and as vets we understand what we are going through. The camaraderie that many service men and women enjoyed in the military is once again experienced by coming together in an atmosphere provided at the O.A.S.I.S Center.”

The O.A.S.I.S Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For
more information, contact Ta’Shema Odoms at (860) 512-3307or email

Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and “real world” credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.

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Veterans OASIS Center Grand Opening

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News Item Posted On: January 29, 2010
For Additional Information Contact: Endia DeCordova-Murphy at (860) 512-2914