Penn State Mont Alto Receives Grant for Veteran's Resource Center
MONT ALTO, Pa. — A chapter member of the Student Veterans of America (SVA), the Penn State Mont Alto Student Veterans Association is one of 11 universities selected from among 100 applicants to receive a VetCenter Initiative grant from the SVA and The Home Depot Foundation partnership. Funding from the 2014 VetCenter Initiative (VCI) will build or refurbish a Veterans Resource Center on the campus of each chapter and is meant to increase student veterans’ academic success.
While total funding for the initiative is $100,000, Penn State Mont Alto will receive $10,000 to establish its student veterans’ center by renovating what is now a faculty lounge. The project will begin in late May and be completed by August 2014 for veterans’ use during fall classes.
“The new veterans center represents our tangible commitment to successfully integrating veterans into our campus community by providing them with the necessary support services and a place for them to study, relax, receive the latest veterans’ benefits information, and connect with other veterans,” said Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor Francis K. Achampong.
Currently, about 70 students receive GI Educational Benefits at Penn State Mont Alto, 50 of whom are student veterans.
Transitioning from military service to higher education can be a challenging process for many student veterans and resource centers have been shown to directly contribute to their academic success, according to D. Wayne Robinson, SVA chief executive officer.
“A truly empowering tool for many is the availability of a single place on campus to go to and to be able to call their own,” Robinson said in a video announcing the grant selections.
“With a dedicated space, we can support veterans more,” said Anthony Dion, president of the Penn State Mont Alto Student Veterans Association. “We can give them a place to meet other student veterans and we can learn the names and faces of people just like us,” he said.
Members of the association developed the business plan to establish the veteran’s center using a $1,500 SVA grant received in November 2013. The funds were also used to increase the visibility of veterans on campus, increase Veteran Club membership, and enhance the overall college experience for student veterans.
The SVA also selected Penn State Mont Alto’s SVA chapter as one of only six college and university chapters from across the United States to participate in its 2014 Business Plan Competition on Jan. 4, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Other recent successes of Penn State Mont Alto’s SVA include developing a memorial site, which was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2012, and sponsoring a day-long event for the entire campus on Veteran’s Day 2013 that featured military equipment demonstrations and memorial services at the Veterans memorial.
“We are working hard to ensure that the transition from the military to college life at Penn State Mont Alto is a smooth one,” said Kathy Swope, Penn State Mont Alto veteran affairs coordinator. “We want to see our veterans succeed, and we are excited about implementing the Student Veteran Club business plan,” Swope added.
In November 2013, Penn State Mont Alto Chancellor Francis Achampong signed a pledge to join the Education Pillar of “Got Your 6” and support student veterans by implementing and enhancing resources, programs, and policies to support veterans.
“Got Your 6” is a movement led by a consortium of major film and television institutions and media to change the conversation in America with regard to veterans and military families. Penn State Mont Alto joins dozens of colleges and universities nationwide committed to heighten their support for current and future students who are also military veterans.
For more information contact, Kathy Swope, Penn State Mont Alto veteran affairs coordinator, at 717-749-6094 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.