University of Hawaiʻi Interim President David Lassner is looking for UH staff, faculty, community members, government officials, UH veteran students and graduates interested in working together to recommend how to improve services for the UH System student veterans.

At a joint news conference on September 24, Lassner and Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Administration General (retired) Eric Shinseki announced their plan to appoint a new UH task force to provide recommendations on how UH campuses across the state can better support veteran students.

Nominations and self-nominations for task force members should be emailed to the president’s office.

Lassner noted that, “We owe all of our veterans a path to a high-quality degree that will help them find rewarding employment. But just as importantly, we owe it to Hawaiʻi as well. Veterans have a wealth of talent and expertise to share if we are successful in providing them with higher education experiences that enable them to obtain great jobs and thrive in our communities.”

“Our talented student veterans here in Hawaiʻi will soon enter the labor force. Not only do veterans make exceptional employees, who possess character, team building skills and discipline, but they also bring with them exceptional leadership,” Shinseki said.

All UH campuses already provide some level of support services for veterans. The university’s 10-campus system currently enrolls more than 2,400 veterans who comprise some 4 percent of the UH student body.

Based on the nominations received, the task force will be appointed by the UH president.

Once appointed, the task force will be charged to develop a set of coherent recommendations on how UH campuses can learn from each other and do even more for veteran students by working together.

The task force will review and catalog current UH capabilities and programs relative to best practices, survey veteran students and graduates to understand their use and perceptions of UH veteran services, identify systemwide approaches to collecting and utilizing data to inform the extent and success of veterans’ participation at UH and provide recommendations for priority actions across the UH System that will improve the educational access and success of veteran students at UH.

For the past two years UH Mānoa has hosted and coordinated a systemwide conference each spring on service to veterans. The task force will be asked to complete its work by spring 2014 to present its recommendations at next year’s systemwide conference.