By: Aaron Moorman, Social Media Editor
As diverse as the Tri-C student population is, there are many different subcultures represented amongst our college community. Of those, students might occasionally go unnoticed as military veterans by their peers. It can sometimes be difficult for veterans to find a way to fit in. Even if it isn’t, it’s likely anyone would agree that it’s nice to have a common but unique place to go. One such veteran student, Adam Mitchell, feels that “only other veterans get other vets, so I believe that it would be beneficial adding the social aspect of working with like-minded individuals.” Adam also works downtown at the Cleveland Clinic, aside from his time spent on classes and homework.
Although the Metro campus has had a space for Veterans since 2013 and the Alfred Lerner Veterans Center was built at East in 2015, the West campus has thus far not had a dedicated hang-out area for veterans. This is thankfully soon to change, especially considering that West has the most veteran students of all the campuses. Even now construction work is in progress on the southern side of the library, right next door to the Crile Archives. Work is expected to be completed with a soft opening around mid-April 2017 and then a formal opening ceremony close to Memorial Day.
Matthew Miller, the West campus coordinator for the Veterans Initiative, stated that the goal is to provide a “special population of students with a unique set of experiences a private study area, as well as a safe space.” It will be open to students during campus hours, and the coordinator or another representative will be present 8:30-5:00 during the weekdays. The West Vet Center construction was funded by Phase 1 of a $40,000 grant. If Phase 2 is awarded as well, it will mean an additional $100,000 going towards improving the Vet Center with even better features and functionality. The Vet Centers at Metro and East were funded by grants respectively from the Arconic Foundation (formerly Alcoa) and Al Lerner, the former owner of the Cleveland Browns and a U.S. Marine. Veteran support services and operations at the Brunswick, Corporate College West, and Westshore locations are funded in part by RPM, International.
The Veterans Initiative of Tri-C is deeply grateful to individuals such as Drs. Donna Imhoff and Alex Johnson, the presidents of West Campus and Tri-C overall. They have shown great leadership in supporting the initiative, enabling so much progress with veteran services and ensuring that its goals are prioritized. Tri-C has indeed earned its place amidst the top 15% of military-friendly colleges. It has been ranked nationally by GI Jobs magazine for the past 8 years and this year was even ranked 5th among over 700 community colleges that applied for the title. Tri-C was also ranked nationally for the first time this year by Military Spouse magazine for support services provided to military and veteran families, not just students.
On top of all that, Tri-C is one of only two colleges in this country to provide distance-learning opportunities at a Veterans Affairs hospital. The Louis Stokes Medical Center cares for over 100,000 veterans, sits off MLK Jr. Drive near the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and is home to the Veterans Education Connection Center (VECC). A grant from AT&T funded the VECC in 2010, as well as a former Tri-C professor and veteran, Bettie Baker. In an interview with the Director of the Veterans Initiative, Rick DeChant strongly expressed that “We’ve been very blessed to receive so much generosity from corporate donors to make everything we have accomplished with the Veterans Initiative possible.”
Though its official name is still unknown, the much anticipated Vet Center at West should make a wonderful addition to an already great campus!
- Tags: Issue 9