Georgia Perimeter College has always prided itself on being an open and accessible school to students from all walks of life. Some students may come from different cities, states, or even countries; they may speak different languages and come from different cultures. They range in all directions whether it be race, age, or gender, and all are able to find opportunities to fit their needs. One part of the student body, it can be argued, has given more than their fair share of service to our community and country; our student veterans, have fulfilled their obligation of service to their fellow men, and now have come to further not only their education but their prospects in life as well. The center of this support comes from the Military Outreach Center at Georgia Perimeter College.
So what exactly is the purpose of the Military Outreach Center (MOC)?
To answer that question and others, the Collegian caught up with Mr. Mark Eister, Director of Military Outreach at Georgia Perimeter College and an E-9/Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army with over 21 years of service. “The Military Outreach Center (MOC) provides comprehensive support, services, and resources for active duty military, National Guard & Reserve, veterans, family members, and survivors. The MOC’s primary mission is to provide focused support on the unique needs and challenges of today’s military student, particularly in easing the transition from military life to college and civilian life. The MOC engages with all college departments in support of student veterans, simultaneously partnering with military-affiliated organizations and agencies to obtain the required assistance. Since many military students struggle financially, the MOC also engages the local community to provide jobs, in-kind support, and military scholarships. We are constantly looking for new and better ways to reach and assist our military-connected students.”
What would you like any student veterans to know about the services available?
“We understand and are extremely grateful for the service and sacrifices our military students have endured, and now, we want to help them succeed in the next chapter of their lives. At GPC we have created an encouraging and supportive environment for current and former military members and their families. Our mission is to help them reach the goal of earning a college education, and so we have developed a number of programs and initiatives to assist them to that end. The MOC Team provides student veteran programs throughout the year, to include the Green Zone Program, an ongoing safe-space program which has trained over 850 staff and faculty on how to better understand and assist veterans; the MVP (Mentoring Veterans Program), which pairs staff/faculty Mentors with new or struggling student veterans; the CAV (Calling All Veterans) Campaign, where every military-connected student is contacted each semester by MOC staff to see how they are doing, inform them of the services available to them, and then allow them to ask questions. Georgia Perimeter’s Military Outreach program remains a national model for creating and applying innovative approaches to serving and assisting student veterans. Simply put, we want every one of our students to achieve success, and we are here to help them do just that!”
Mr. Eister’s words and beliefs on what student veterans need to succeed are echoed by students who have already taken advantage of the opportunities offered.
Bernard Broom, an E-4 in the U.S. Navy and journalism major in his second and a half year, enjoys the atmosphere at the center where he can take the time to focus on his studies and pursue his goals. “The Military Outreach Center has given me a place to do my work when I have to deal with a whole bunch of other people and situations.”
Mark Eister is available for contact in his office at the center located at Building CH room 1300 on Clarkston Campus, and by email at Mark.Eister@gpc.edu.
For more information relating to the Military Outreach Center you can visit http://depts.gpc.edu/militaryoutreach/ or contact the GPC contact center at 678-891-3535