UMW Veterans and Military Exchange opens with a flourish



The University of Montana Western has taken a few crumbs of cash from a state grant, and developed an outstanding facility for veterans, dependents of veterans and active military personnel to engage in higher education on the Dillon campus.

Western’s Veterans and Military Exchange held a grand opening on campus Friday morning, unveiling the facility that is located in the Student Union Building, to the Dillon and campus community. The outcome is a product of the University System’s desire to become veteran friendly.

“What that means to us, is that our veterans have the tools and resources available to them that will enable them to be successful in college and access college,” said Montana University System (MUS) Director of Student Affairs Ron Muffick. “We wanted campuses to spend the grant on a sustainable space.”

According to Muffick, the MUS was able to put together a funding plan for the idea that the legislature deemed worthy and awarded $1 million in one-time funds. Ten of the 11 campuses in the MUS were successful applicants, with Western landing $25,500.

“What we looked at was the number of veterans currently being served by a campus and the number of veterans in the population of the area the campus serves,” explained Muffick. Thus, campuses in Missoula, Bozeman and Billings were awarded larger grants. “Western, because of the smaller population of students, smaller population of veterans and smaller population that you draw from, received less funding.”

UMW Director of Financial Aid and VA Certifying Official Rikki Jones feels the people on campus will push the value of the UMW Exchange far past that of the investment.

“Everyone on this campus puts their heart and soul in every project here and it