The Division of Student Affairs opened the Veteran Resource Center in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center last week.
The VRC provides USC’s growing veteran student population, currently numbered at 896, with resources such as certification and student transitioning resources that were previously spread out across campus, making the transition from the military to university life easier for incoming students. The center is open to both undergraduate and graduate students who served or are actively serving in any military branch.
The VRC offers certification assistance to veteran students, which helps when determining if a student is eligible for educational assistance, a program that is administered by the Veterans Administration. The center will guide students through the certification application process and deal with the paperwork of sending enrollment certifications to regional Veterans Administration offices.
Matthew Nordstrom, a junior majoring in political science who is also an active Marines Reservist, has high hopes for the VRC.
“It’s great to be able to have this space available to us,” Nordstorm said. “Having one central location to meet together is a big help. Now I will be able to easily identify other veterans on campus by coming to VRC.”
The VRC is being housed in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center due to its central location on campus and the availability of the space. The center includes three offices for staff, a flat-screen television, lounge area, meeting space and computer stations.
“Our veteran students have been asking for a Veterans Resource Center for some time, and we were really fortunate to be able to give the square footage to the VRC. We have a lot of wonderful partners across campus who are part of the military support committee who have helped us build the vision into a reality,” said Monique Allard, assistant provost for Student Affairs & Student Engagement.
Carlos Forcadilla, communications chair for the USC Veterans Association and a graduate student studying social work who served in the Army, said veteran students would find the center beneficial.
“There wasn’t one designated spot before the VRC, now it will make it much easier for us to have our Veterans Association meetings,” he said. “The center will also help the younger guys feel more comfortable and allow us to show them the ropes of what it’s like to transition from being in the military to being a student. It’s really a one-stop shop for everything we need.”
Apart from the VRC, the Office of Alumni Relations recently launched an affiliated group called USC Veterans Alumni Network.
“The purpose of the Veterans Alumni Network is to have a university-recognized organization for veterans that want to support USC,” said Patrick E. Auerbach, associate senior vice president for alumni relations. “It’s really a perfect match for the university because we have dedicated Trojans who are also veterans, and now have an avenue by which to become more involved in a wide array of areas. We expect them to be a fully chartered organization by the end of the academic year.”