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QCC to open center for veterans

Representatives from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Office of Veterans' Affairs were expected attend the event and to bring with them a congratulatory letter from the mayor.Queensborough is following in the footsteps of other City University of New York schools by offering a special center designed to meet the unique needs of veterans.The Queensborough center will be operated as part of the school's counseling center and will include assistance on everything from scholarship information, academic scheduling and personal counseling.About 150 veterans and reservists are students at Queensborough. The school began meeting the needs of veterans in the early 1970s after the Vietnam War.The number of veterans attending Queensborough, which boasts a student body of roughly 12,700, is admittedly small, but still requires unique services, said Stanley Rustin, director of counseling at Queensborough, who has counseled veterans at the school since 1968."Vets are slightly older and don't have the luxury of parents paying their way," he said. "They have a lot of balls in the air."In addition, Rustin said, veterans tend to bond better with fellow veterans than with other students who do not share the same experiences. For this reason, two Marines and a navy seaman, who are also students, will be on staff at the center to act as peer mentors.One common misconception about returning veterans is that they are in dire need of psychiatric care, Rustin said, adding that in his experience this is not the case and that such misconceptions only do harm to returning veterans.Rustin said the purpose of the center is to create a welcoming environment for student veterans to share information."My hope is that every vet that comes through Queens can know they have a home at Queensborough," said Queensborough President Eduardo Marti said.

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