CSM unveils new veterans resource center, lounge
College group received $9,000 Home Depot Foundation grant
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.
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.