CSM un­veils new vet­er­ans re­source cen­ter, lounge

Col­lege group re­ceived $9,000 Home De­pot Foun­da­tion grant

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Stu­dent vet­er­ans at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land have a new place to hang out, eat, study and do re­search.

“With the help of Dr. [Brad] Got­tfried, the ad­min­is­tra­tion and the sup­port of the fac­ulty and staff, we now have a lounge,” said Bill Buff- in­g­ton, CSM stu­dent and co-founder of the Stu­dent Vet­er­ans Or­ga­ni­za­tion. “It took us a cou­ple years to get it, but worked it out to fi­nally get a space that was open.”

On Wed­nes­day, CSM’s La Plata cam­pus held a pub­lic un­veil­ing of its new Vet­er­ans Re­source Cen­ter and Lounge, lo­cated in the Learn­ing Re­source Cen­ter (Build­ing LR) Room 103.

The space was ded­i­cat- ed as a vet­er­ans lounge a year ago, af­ter mem­bers of CSM’s Stu­dent Vet­er­ans Or­ga­ni­za­tion sought to find a place on cam­pus where stu­dent vet­er­ans or ac­tive duty mil­i­tary stu­dents could gather, con­nect on cam­pus and study.

The col­lege re­ceived a $9,122 grant from Stu­dent Vet­er­ans of Amer­ica and the Home De­pot Foun- da­tion through the Vet Cen­ter Ini­tia­tive, a pro­gram es­tab­lished to as- sist stu­dent groups with re­build­ing, re­fur­bish­ing or ren­o­vat­ing vet­eran re­source cen­ters on col­lege cam­puses.

Ren­o­va­tions to the re­source cen­ter and lounge took place dur­ing the sum­mer. In ad­di­tion to new paint, ceil­ing tiles and light fix­tures, the space also has leather chairs, a con­fer­ence ta­ble, a re­frig­er­a­tor, a mi­crowave, a flat screen tele­vi­sion, file cab­i­nets, book shelves and com­put­ers.

“One of the things you find across the coun­try at most of your in­sti­tu­tions is that you’re get­ting an in­flux of vet­er­ans, the pop­u­la­tion is only grow­ing, and we need places like the Re­source Cen­ter and Lounge for our vet­er­ans to come to,” Buff­in­g­ton said. “It’s an ed­u­ca­tional re­source as well as a ca­ma­raderie and net­work re­source for our vet­er­ans.”

Buff­in­g­ton said CSM has more than 700 veter- an and ac­tive mil­i­tary stu­dents this se­mes­ter.

Ni­cho­lus Stew­ard, vice pres­i­dent of the Stu­dent Vet­er­ans Or­ga­ni­za­tion, said it is help­ful for vet­er­ans who have just left the mil­i­tary to have a place where they can spend time with other vet­er­ans who un­der­stand their ex­pe­ri­ences as they ad­just to civil­ian life and col­lege.

“It re­ally helps meet the needs of vet­eran stu­dents,” Stew­ard said.

Shane St. An­drie is a first-year CSM stu­dent who left the mil­i­tary nine months ago, and is cur­rently pur­su­ing a de­gree in com­puter en­gi­neer­ing.

“I guess you could say it’s a respite from the noise of the cam­pus. It’s a nice place to study,” St. An­drie said. “There’s a lot of ca­ma­raderie here, so I can talk to peo­ple who can re­late to things that I’ve been through.”

The Vet­er­ans Re­source Cen­ter and Lounge is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mon­day through Thurs- day, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fri­days, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Satur­days and noon to 4 p.m. on Sun­days.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the ser­vices and sup­port CSM of­fers to vet­er­ans and mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, go to www.csmd. edu/stu­dent-ser vices/ vet­eran-mil­i­tary-sup­port-ser­vices/.

Com­put­ers line one wall in the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s new Vet­er­ans Re­source Cen­ter and Lounge.

STAFF PHOTOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Bill Buff­in­g­ton, co-founder of the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s Stu­dent Vet­eran Or­ga­ni­za­tion, points out the Armed Forces ban­ners on the wall of the new Vet­er­ans Re­source Cen­ter and Lounge at the La Plata cam­pus.

Ni­cho­lus Stew­ard, vice pres­i­dent of the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s Stu­dent Vet­er­ans Or­ga­ni­za­tion, smiles at a com­ment dur­ing the open house of the new Vet­er­ans Re­source Cen­ter and Lounge.

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