For veterans using the GI Bill, the success center can be one of their first stops, but for many, it’s also their last time there.
Besides providing these students with free test taking materials, computers, free printing, and a library of textbooks to borrow, the Veteran Success Center also provides tutoring and academic advising, as well events throughout the year memorializing military history.
The transition from service into college can be a very stressful time and is exactly what the center aims to ease. This year, the success center is putting on a three-part seminar series on professional development. The second of these seminars is on April 30th.
Agustin Ramirez is a veteran and is also the Director of the Veterans Success Center. He says that the second seminar will be mock interviews and is an opportunity for students to know what employers may ask, and to understand what they’re looking for.
The third part of the seminar will be on May 7th and will be a career fair. “Employers come here to campus to the Veterans Success Center, that is actively hiring veterans. And so, our goal is to see a couple of people walk out that day with jobs.”
The success center also has a writing group that puts together a book and publishes it. This is not done to get funds for the center, says Director Ramirez. They keep the money, but this is done more for the experience.
May 14th is Armed Forces Day at CSUSB, and on the 16th at the Palm Desert Campus. On these days trees across campus are decorated by student clubs and organizations for what’s known as the yellow ribbon campaign, says Emily McKellar, a writing tutor at the success center.
“The yellow ribbons are there to kind of recognize that we do have a lot of California service members that are deployed right now around the world. So, each tree will have a plaque kind of representing how many service member that tree is supposed to represent.”
As a tutor, Emily wishes she was busier but says she does have some regulars. “People don’t really know what they can do with tutoring. It’s not only, but we’re also going over your writing. We can do activities, and we can outline and brainstorm, and you can do really fun interesting things during a tutoring session.”
Dr. Rachel Keener is the counseling centers Group and Workshop Coordinator and runs the Veterans Support Group.
This group is mostly led by what the veterans choose to talk about, explains Dr. Keener, “and is a place to be real. To be honest. And, there’s that background that everyone else has served. So, they all have that in common.”
According to Dr. Keener, veterans complain about issues with professors every year.
The stresses of college compounded by the stresses and traumas of being a veteran can get to be a bit much and is what this group is meant to alleviate.
The Veterans Support Group meets on Friday’s, from 12 to 1:30 pm, and encourages veterans to join. “Many times, veterans tell me it’s their favorite time of the week. To come in and share and get that support.”
Memorial Day will be recognized on May 21st, at the Palm Desert Campus, and on the 23rd at CSUSB. On these days, a military roll call ceremony will be held to honor the deceased and will be followed by taps, and a 21-gun salute.
Director Ramirez wants students to know that the ceremonies put on by the Veterans Success Center are not exclusive to military personnel and affiliated. All students are welcome to attend.
Cindy Franco is majoring in liberal studies and is on her third year at CSUSB. She is also a former 88M, which is an Army National Guard Motor Transport Operator.
This is what she says the Veterans Success Center does for her: “I feel like any time I ever need anything I always just come here. I feel like, more at home I guess, if that makes any sense, because of every one a veteran. And if not, they’re affiliated with the military. So, I feel like you can be more open and like, just…understood.”