Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Veterans Centers offer sanctuary to students

Veteran and student worker Antonio Felix helps fellow students in the
Williams Campus Veterans Center. 
Chandler-Gilbert Community College opened two new Veterans Centers this year – one each on the Pecos and Williams Campuses. Veterans make up three percent of the national college population and four percent of the CGCC student population. The Veterans Centers enable them to locate each other more easily and provide the resources they need to be successful in college. 

“Research shows that veterans do best when they can connect with other vets at college,” said Reda Chambers, coordinator of Veterans Services.  “Part of our being a military-friendly college means we design a way for them to easily do that as well as easily access the services they need.”

Both Veterans Centers offer furniture and a TV for relaxing as well as computers and spaces for studying. Veterans Administration work-study students are available to help with registering for classes, filing for veterans benefits and learning about college resources. The centers will also be headquarters for the Student Veterans Organization (SVO).

“Having a dedicated space not only demonstrates the commitment of the college to veterans but provides a little command center, if you will, for the SVO,” said Matt DePaul, SVO president. “I can bring in speakers or SVO presidents from the other Maricopa colleges and hold regular meetings to facilitate more opportunities for club members.” 

The center offers important intangible benefits as well.

“The centers give me a place to sit and interact with like-minded individuals, to share our stories and give each other support in a space physically designed for veterans. For example, there are no chairs with their backs to the door,” said DePaul. “It’s a sanctuary.”

The Veterans Centers are located in the new Coyote Center, CYT 2110, on the Pecos Campus and in the Bluford Building, BLUF 134, on the Williams Campus. For more information call 480-726-4094.

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