CLEVELAND–Cleveland State Community College is excited to announce the grand opening of the new Veterans Resource Center on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. in Room U-100 of the George L. Mathis Student Center.

CSCC recently received a TBR Student Engagement, Retention and Success (SERS) grant to create a Veterans Resource Center in the George L. Mathis Student Center centrally located on the main campus of CSCC. This space will serve as office space for the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Specialist / Veterans Reconnect Coordinator to work with both prospective and current veteran students on campus, as well as a lounge space for Cleveland State veterans and military-affiliated students to use as needed. T

ishauna Hoffman, PLA specialist/Veterans Reconnect coordinator, said, “Having a veterans center on campus is important for a few reasons. First, it serves the students directly as a place to go around their class schedule to relax, get something to eat, and be in the company of others who have had some of the same life and college experiences. I hope that we help ease the transition for veterans by offering a place on campus that is just for them. Second, I felt it was really important to have a veterans services staff member available in the resource center as well. We’re aiming to create a one-stop experience as far as veterans services is concerned, so that they may have all their related questions answered at one time, and so that they can be handed off to other sections of student services knowing that all their military-related issues have been taken care of.”

According to Hoffman, the creation of a Veterans Resource Center is expected to have an immediate positive benefit for this population of students, answering many, if not all, of a student veteran’s questions about topics such as orientation and registration, utilization of Veterans Administration benefits or career transition services.

Matthew Dodd, Cleveland State student and United States marine, stated, “I think this is a very helpful step toward ensuring veterans not only feel welcomed into the college, but it also gives them a place to meet and surround themselves with other veterans. This change will not only affirm veterans for their contributions, but it will also bring about more friendships that may not have happened.”

Prior to opening the Veterans Resource Center, Cleveland State was voted a “military friendly” campus by GI Jobs magazine.

“I could not agree more,” stated Dodd. “With a dedicated veteran specialist at their disposal, it makes sense to me that veterans would see Cleveland State as a place they can go and feel not only informed, but welcomed.”

Dodd continued, “Although it’s not a necessity to the success of veterans in college, we are trained to get in, complete our mission and do it to the best of our ability, I do think the benefit of a lounge if we are having a stressful day or experiencing a need for a private space to tend to military business is a very positive nod to the importance of our military service members.”

Hoffman stated, “It feels really gratifying and I feel proud to be a part of a campus that does care so much for our veterans. This project was a labor of love for me, and it is something I believed in as soon as I identified the need for it in my discussions with veteran students. To see this center come to fruition has been the highlight of my time here at Cleveland State so far.”

Now, more students like Dodd can attend Cleveland State tuition-free with the Tennessee Reconnect program for adults. The Tennessee Reconnect covers tuition and fees after grant or scholarship programs have been applied.

For more information on Tennessee Reconnect, contact Natalia Williams, Counselor/Coordinator of Adult Student Services, at 423-472-7141, ext. 318 or email her at nwilliams@cleveland statecc.edu.

For more information on Veterans Affairs, contact Hoffman at 423-472-7141, ext. 265 or email her at thoff man@clevelandstatecc.edu.

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