As the nation prepares to honor veterans off all walks of life on Monday, two local universities recently dedicated on-campus centers to benefit military-affiliated students.
Making the transition easier for members of military who return to school is the University of California San Diego and California State University San Marcos which both held events for their veterans centers this week.
On Friday, California State University San Marcos held a groundbreaking ceremony for a unique veterans center named Ecohabit, an award-winning, zero-net energy solar house developed by students at Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT) in Hoboken, N.J.
Ecohabit won fourth place in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon and was donated to CSUSM.
One in every ten students at CSUSM is a veteran, active-duty service member, or dependent, which is the highest percentage per capita of any of the California State University campuses.
“We take great pride at Cal State [San] Marcos in serving our military and supporting those people who have served us so well,” said CSUSM President, Karen Haynes in media release.
“Today puts us right over the top in terms of excitement about this facility and how it will continue to help us serve our veteran and active duty students and their dependents,” Haynes said.
Alongside benefiting veterans, the new Veterans Center will support CSUSM’s ongoing sustainability efforts as the school collaborates with SIT students to monitor and analyze energy use, weather, and temperature data coming from the building.
Also honoring its military student body was UCSD, which dedicated its new Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) at an on-campus event Thursday morning.
UCSD currently has 251 active military students, up from 221 from last year, according to school officials.
“At UC San Diego, we are committed to supporting our student veterans,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “These men and women have served our nation and they bring diverse life experiences and perspectives to our campus, and that’s part of what makes UC San Diego an exceptional institution."
The SVRC is 1,600 square feet and is located on the second floor of the UCSD Student Resource Center.
Thursday’s event also included a presentation of colors by the San Diego State Air Force ROTC Honor Guard and the awarding of the 14th annual Veteran of Year, which was presented by the UC San Diego Veterans Association.
According to school officials, both Ecohabit and the SVRC will be spaces for military-affiliated students to receive academic and career support and access other resources. Both buildings will also include a lounge, kitchen and meeting areas.
However, more than just providing a space for military students, veterans centers create an opportunity for conversations with students who don't have a connection to the military, says CSUSM Vice President of Student Affairs, Lorena Meza.
“The Veterans Center will also provide a bridge to help civilian students learn more about vets, dispel misconceptions and raise awareness of the advantages that student veterans bring to our community.”