As we settle into the new school year, I would like to take a moment to share some news from Veterans Services (VS) with you.
As many of you know, construction of the planned addition to our Epstein Family Veterans Center was derailed due to the implementation of more stringent fire codes for CSU campuses. Wildfire threats to some of our campuses necessitated tightening of the code.
Good news… Instead of an expanded Epstein Family Veterans Center we will have a Veterans Services Complex. The family that gifted the funds for the expansion of the Epstein Family Veterans Center agreed to fund a new building next to the current Epstein Family Veterans Center—the two buildings will be connected by a continuous, larger deck.
Since the plan is now to build a new building vs. adding to an existing building, the construction is anticipated to be complete and move-in ready in May/June 2019.
Good news… Thanks to the Epstein Family’s gift, the new Veterans Complex will be one of only a handful of new construction buildings throughout the CSU system this year. (Background: most of the universities in the CSU System are older than us with old buildings that are in dire need of repair and replacement, so we have a lower priority for state funds for new construction.)
Due to space challenges across campus, we needed to vacate the cubicles in Enrollment Services that were occupied by our Professional Development Team. Therefore, Professional Development has temporarily been relegated to the Epstein Family Veterans Center.
Good news… Since we have some of the Veterans Services staff housed in the Epstein Family Veterans Center, we can open the deck and kitchen for use by students and we can hold events on the deck.
We understand the deck is a special gathering place for our students, and we have ordered a deck covering that meets with the Fire Marshall’s approval. Until the new covering is installed, we will work with temporary fixes like pop-ups for events and donated shading—thank you Eddie for the donation of the sail shade!
The current wooden deck is also a bit weather damaged and warped. Fortunately, our facilities department has checked the deck for trip hazards and made repairs where needed. And the decking will be replaced when the new, continuous deck is installed.
Good news…There are plans for a much larger shade area on the new larger deck.
During construction and with the temporary placement of staff in the Epstein Family Veterans Center, our military-connected students are without a lounge and a computer lab until we move into the new building.
Good news… The other Centers on campus have reached out with open arms to our military-connected students. Please consider visiting the other Centers (the Black Student Center, the Latin@ Center, the Gender Equity Center, the Commuter Lounge etc.) for lounging, computing and printing.
Without a lounge, the Veteran students who derived comfort and support from socializing with their fellow veterans in their own, safe, space are without that support.
Good news… Dr. Ryan Stevenson (Student Health Services) has offered to facilitate support groups for veterans who derive health and comfort from sharing as a group with their fellow veterans (more to follow as we get the word out about this opportunity).
Good news… VS and the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) will be offering more opportunities for military connected students to come together as an affinity group (stay tuned).
Good news… We have more student veterans, active duty students and other military-connected students than ever before!
Good news… Our Professional Development team has a 100% success rate of placing students enrolled in the program into careers and graduate school prior to graduation. I encourage you to enroll in our Professional Development Program. You DO NOT need to be a STEM major to be part of this program.
Good news… Our grant funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has increased so we have been able to offer more paid internships and other professional development opportunities for our students.
I am sure you are now wondering “What can I do to help?” Here are some ideas:
Please be patient as we “make do” this year. The new Veterans Services Complex will be well worth the wait.
Deck furniture. We could use donations of deck furniture that is in good condition.
Join the SVO, be a peer mentor, join the professional development program, share your thoughts and ideas about how we can do things better. With your help we will become the most military friendly, supportive campus for military-connected students in the country.
Patricia Reily, Director of Veterans Services
Tel: (760) 750-4827
Fax: (760) 750-3089
Location: Cougar Central
Craven Hall, 3700-40
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm