In any given year, LSU has approximately 200-300 active duty, National Guard, reserve or veteran members of the U.S. Military enrolled on its campus. Now, those students will have a new place to work, relax, talk to somebody or just hang out, as LSU Veteran & Military Student Services recently opened its new student center.
The veterans center, located at 318 Hatcher Hall, will serve as a dedicated space for veterans, active duty military, reservists and national guard members, as well as their dependents. The center will feature three rooms: an administration office, study lounge/computer center and main meeting room. The center will provide space for individual or group study sessions, computer and print capabilities and a focal point on campus for these students to form supportive communities during the transition from military to civilian life. In addition, the center will have nine laptop computers available for student use through a grant application, and two student work-study positions funded through a the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Veteran & Military Student Services celebrated the center’s opening on Friday, April 25, with an open house attended by students, faculty and staff, including LSU President & Chancellor F. King Alexander.
“LSU has such a rich military history,” said Alexander. “And we want it to have just as rich of a military future and this space will help with that. We want our service men and women around the world to know that when they come home from duty, LSU is a place for them.”
Recognized as an institutional best practice by Student Veterans of America, or SVA, and other prominent leaders in the veteran education space, including the American Council on Education, resource centers have been shown to directly contribute to student veterans’ successful academic outcomes. And this center was made possible with help from a $10,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation, in partnership with SVA.
On Friday, April 18, SVA and the Home Depot Foundation announced the recipients of $100,000 in grants through the VetCenter Initiative partnership. Through the VCI, nearly 100 chapters applied for funds to construct veteran-specific resource centers on campuses across the country.
LSU Veteran & Military Student Services was one of nearly 100 applications received. Student veterans demonstrated their enterprising spirit through application submissions in the forms of various media, including photos and film.
A compilation of the winning video presentations, along with a message from the Home Depot Foundation, is available to view at http://bit.ly/1kIyx0h.
“This space is the first step as we develop comprehensive support and services for veterans, active military and dependents,” said Darrell Ray, assistant vice chancellor for Student Life. “It also provides a foundation for educating our campus community on the rich military history of LSU.”
“It’s so great for these students to have a the comfort of a place to go,” said Vice Chancellor of Student Life & Enrollment Kurt Keppler. “And this is not the end of what we hope to do here. We really want LSU to be known as a veteran-friendly place.”
Nick Trapani, president of Student Veterans of LSU, an organization with more than 50 members on campus, spoke of how difficult his first semester was on campus after leaving the military.
“I had a tough time,” he said. “I didn’t really know anybody, and then I joined SVA and that became a place for me. I told myself that I didn’t want another veteran to go through that, and having a place like this will be so huge for us.”
For more information on the student center or LSU Veteran & Military Student Services, contact Adam Jennings at email@example.com or 225-588-9084.
LSU Veteran & Military Student Services, a division of LSU Student Life & Enrollment, is dedicated to helping veterans, service members, dependents and survivors succeed in higher education and in seeking employment. For more information, visit students.lsu.edu/veterans.
LSU Student Life & Enrollment focuses on creating an environment that fosters student success. Its mission is to recruit, admit, engage, retain and graduate a diverse student population for success at LSU and beyond. Student Life & Enrollment enhances learning by fostering critical thinking and ethical responsibility to create a university experience that transforms lives. For more information, visit studentlife.lsu.edu.