By Isaiah Rosario, Staff Writer
It will be a two-for-one special for student veterans this year, because in addition to the already functioning Student Veterans Success Center, they will have a brand new Student Veterans Success Center opened in Thomas Hall during the start of the fall semester.
Tiana Sloan, director of the Veterans Success Programs, spoke to The Quadrangle about when the new Student Veterans Success Center will be open to student veterans.
“[We are] hoping to officially open starting the first day of classes next week,” Sloan said. “It is going to still be a work in progress, but the furniture got installed this week.”
In addition to the furniture being installed, some small simple things like data ports and electrical work still need to be done to the new center. The plan is on using it with the hopes that things will keep progressing, and according to Sloan the center is currently usable for student veterans.
Sloan also explains although the current center was open in 2017, the student veterans outgrew the space very quickly. The current center had seating for only 13 people but would often have around 25 people in the center at once.
“A cornerstone of what we do here and what is so important for the veterans is building a sense of community and I think it’s a sense for all students but within veterans, when they’re serving in the military, there’s a really strong sense of community that is lost once they separate from the military, and what we’ve done at Manhattan College is giving them their community back, allowing them to make connections and build those bonds,” Sloan said. “The past vet center gave a place where they could organically connect with each other but it just became too crowded.”
The revamped Student Veterans Success Center will have three distinct areas: a social space, a group study space and a quiet study space.
In terms of admissions, the staff believes that this move will help Manhattan College compete with higher-end schools in terms of its veteran program. Director of transfer and veteran admissions, Robert Rahni, believes this newly revamped center will benefit the college in various manners.
“From an admission standpoint, this veteran center puts us on par with other institutions of higher education that have been recognized as being military friendly,” Rahni said. “This is a full fledged center which will meet the needs of our students, which the previous base just simply couldn’t. It’s going to be appealing to prospective military-connected students because they’re going to know that the infrastructure is there for them. Having a full fledged center as opposed to before shows that the college truly is military friendly more than ever.”
Excitement for this new Student Veterans Center can stem down the way from admissions all the way to student veterans themselves. Senior and president of the Student Veteran Organization, Christopher Norberto wrote an email to The Quadrangle discussing his excitement for the new center.
“To say we are excited about the new vet center opening up is an understatement,” Norberto wrote. “This new center is going to provide all of us with the space to help us succeed, not just this coming semester, but for all the rest to follow. The commitment that Manhattan college has shown and provided to its veteran community is top-tier, and I cannot put into words how grateful I myself and the rest of the student veteran community are to this institution.”