More than 200 veterans enrolled as students at the University of La Verne will soon have a home base on campus. The Veteran Student Success Center is set to open its doors in September.
The need for such a space became apparent following surveys and study among veteran students, said Dan Kennan, adjunct professor of sociology and a Vietnam veteran.
Veterans need a place to go to support one another and find the resources they need.
“There was a real glaring need for veteran support,” said Kennan, also a 1976 La Verne alumnus.
Veterans comprise about 10 percent of the total student population across all ULV campuses.
“I noticed there were veterans in every class I had, and I wanted to create a place for everyone to support each other,” said Henry Torres, retired Marine and president of the University of La Verne Veterans Club.
Diana Towles, coordinator of Veteran Students Success, began working on finding ULV vets a space of their own about three years ago.
“When students demonstrate a need, that’s when people really start to listen,” said Towles, a veteran herself.
The new site for the Center for Veteran Students Success, will be at 1860 Third Street B street in La Verne, in a house close to campus. It will have an enclosed front porch, reception area, office, lounge, kitchen and more.
Towles hopes ULV vets will use it to study, train in computer skills and relax.
It also will be wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant.
Towles said she hopes to hire two veterans to work in the reception area under the Veterans Administration Work-Study program.
The new center will also serve as a place for the Veteran’s Club to gather and support each other.
This semester, Torres and other veterans came together to revitalize the club, which currently has 12 members and an more than a dozen who expressed interest in joining.
“There is (still) very little known about the veterans at the University,” Torres said.
Torres plans to host monthly peaceful marches around the La Verne community to raise awareness about veterans.
“We’re not here to represent any political ideas,” Torres said. we just want to support each other,” Torres said.
He also hopes to plan other events once the Center for Veteran Students Success officially opens such as raising money for veteran scholarships.
“I’m looking forward to our events next semester so that we can interact with other students and find middle ground between our military experiences and a typical student experience,” said Brian Ma, the vice president of veteran’s club, a retired Marine who will graduate in fall with his bachelor of science in e-commerce.
The Center for Veteran Students Success will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with possible extended hours some days.
“It’s going to serve our veterans very well by giving them the ability to connect with each other and mentor each other,” Towles said.
Remy Hogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.