Dakota State University students walking around campus

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Helping our Heroes

November 2, 2022

Heroes and she-roes are terms often used when speaking of veterans, but even heroes/she-roes can use helpful advice, especially from someone who understands their experiences.

Dakota State’s source for this advice is Austin Slaughter.

Slaughter is a Dakota State alumnus, who earned a degree in computer graphic design in 2009. In 2011 he started working at DSU as an admissions counselor. He later transitioned to Veterans Affairs Coordinator, and is now Director of Veteran Affairs.

He is also a member of the South Dakota Army National Guard, completing his 18th year of service. He deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom 2009-2010, conducting route clearance patrols. He was also part of a military exchange program in Germany, taking part in a training exercise with British troops.

“The veteran or military community is like a family,” he said. “No matter what branch or period of service time, once you have worn the uniform, we all have each other’s backs.”

He maintains this approach with student-veterans interested in attending DSU, helping them find what they need to succeed as a student. It’s the best part of his job.

“I enjoy helping our veterans, active military, and their dependents utilize the education benefits to get the degree they want that will help them someday have the career they want,” he said.

Because DSU is an approved school for GI Bill and Tuition Assistance benefits, “we can help veterans, current military, and their dependents earn a college degree while utilizing their education benefits to drastically reduce the financial burden,” he stated.

As an alumnus and employee, Slaughter also knows that “DSU also offers a lot of support services, that help our students be successful during their academic career.”

Veterans also help the University succeed.

“Our veteran students bring specialized training and experience that most students don’t have. They also take their schooling seriously since they have earned benefits that will help pay for them, and they want to make sure they take full advantage of this benefit” Slaughter stated.

To recognize the sacrifices and commitments that veterans make for their country and community, Slaughter is working on several events to highlight these student-soldiers during Veterans Day week.

Current students, alumni, and faculty/staff have all been able to submit veteran’s names for the digital displays across campus on November 9 - 11. A fallen soldier table will be on display in the Trojan Center Marketplace beginning on November 1, and the Karl Mundt Library has a highlighted section of military readings.

Also, there will be a free brunch for all veteran and active military students on November 10 in the Trojan Center from 11:00 am. to 1:30 p.m. (must present ID).

“Please help us in thanking and recognizing those who have served our nation,” Slaughter said.

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Jane Utecht
Strategic Communications Coordinator
(605) 270-3816

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