Dr. Chris Craun humbly accepted an award Thursday at Old Main from the Student Veterans of America RSO for his help with veteran services at UCA.
Craun is an Assistant Professor of History in Old Main and is also the Headmaster of Minton Commuter College.
Susan Marcus, President of the RSO, surprised Craun with a plaque and said, stating he has helped veterans at UCA by providing assistance to the veteran resource center.
“Anytime we need something, he is the first to volunteer,” Marcus said. “There’s just so much I can’t think of everything he’s done.”
Craun has helped the center get furniture and new paint, and recently made a request to the Faculty Senate to hire someone for an ombudsman position, though the board decided not to fund the position.
An ombudsman is a kind of center person who advocates for a group.
Craun accepted his award, but said he didn’t feel he had done anything special to deserve it.
“You guys did all the painting; you moved the furniture,” Craun said. “I just asked.”
Craun said that although he feels the organization has done good things for veterans, there is still a lot of work to do.
“I do feel that unfortunately we have not made enough strides for vets on campus,” Craun said. “We’re doing the most with what we’ve got but you know, there are issues with stairs and personal space.”
According to Marcus, the award highlights a worker who goes above and beyond to help veterans and the RSO hopes to award someone each semester.
Members of the RSO said Craun was responsible for the majority of what they have gotten, including about 90% of their furniture.
Craun has helped with budgets, contracts to get veteran counsellors and student paperwork.
Craun said that UCA has a veteran center where services are offered, but it is not always easy for veterans to access resources. Old Main can be difficult to access because of its many stairs.
“We support each other but sometimes we don’t feel like we’re getting enough support from the university,” Vice President Joe Franks said. “Dr. Craun, he’s a really good guy; he’s right there with the military family.”
According to Craun, veterans usually self-segregate when they start college, because it is easier to talk about issues with other veterans.
Some students and professors do not know how to handle the way veterans go about school, but at the same time veterans also need to learn to interact with students.
“It may be more comfortable to self-segregate, but that’s not the goal,” Craun said. “The goal is to build bridges.”
image via www.southside.edu