Patrick Forystek, coordinator for the Student Veterans Resource Center, or SVRC, helps veterans succeed by providing outreach and services during their transition from military to college life. Forystek is the first point of contact for veterans looking to ease their transition and begin their journey at MSU.
The SVRC, located in the Student Affairs and Services Building, provides student veterans with a variety of services including space for studying and socializing, VA benefits and health information, financial aid application support, transition services, career development, employment/internship opportunities and referrals to many other programs and services both on- and off-campus.
Forystek, a Marine Corps veteran, said that serving in the military himself doesn’t make him better at his job but gives him a different perspective.
“It’s helpful because you have a veteran who comes out and they recognize you as a peer,” he said. “Having gone through that transition myself, that’s where the value really comes in. I know what helped and what didn’t and how lost I felt in that situation. Knowing what I know now, it makes it easier to help others navigate this challenging transition.”
Forystek said he leads with a “student-first” mentality.
“Throughout the entire admission process Patrick served as a trustworthy point of contact that I could relate to well," said Aaron Etelamaki, MSU freshman and veteran. “Anytime I had a question or concern about my GI Bill® benefits, options, financial aid or the general application process, he was able to provide answers.”
“This was very helpful for somebody four to five years out of touch with college education,” Etelamaki said.
Forystek is also very passionate about helping the underserved populations of veterans at MSU and focuses on intentional programming collaborating with the LBGT Resource Center, women’s groups and in the future hopes to partner with minority groups on campus.
“We want to make sure that students who have these other at-risk indicators are getting the services that they need to bring them up,” he said.
The SVRC will be hosting a variety of events for Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11, including a brunch, a women veteran listening session, a documentary screening and more. A full list of events can be found here.
“Veterans have all these different identities: liberal, conservative, African-American, white, man, woman, LGBTQ, etc.,” Forystek said. “I’m trying to focus on how we can assist these students in the transition back into a civilian life and understand the intersectionality of all these different identities in the context of being a veteran now, too.”
Forystek serves on a variety of committees including the JED Campus suicide awareness, identity conscious student success initiatives and an assessment committee.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.