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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston plans new Center for Excellence for Veterans

In 2010, the University of Massachusetts Boston created a proposal and applied for funding to create a center dedicated to the veteran student body. Although the proposal fell through this year, the university is now revamping its ideas and pushing forward.
The Center of Excellence for Veterans (CEV) will be geared toward aiding veterans with admissions and financial needs. The center will also be a social area where veterans can engage with other veterans.
While the new proposal is still in its early stages, Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management Kathy Teehan has a positive outlook on the successful creation of the center.
According to Teehan, the main focus of the CEV will be to “replicate the One Stop model so that veterans won’t have to find all the various [services]. … They will be able to go to one place to get some assistance through the admission process, to get some assistance through financial aid process, to get certification for their eligibility on the GI Bill and other benefits that they have.”
She added, ”Veterans on campus would be able to … have some spaces of their own to meet and have opportunities for workshop, seminars, or special programs that might benefit them.” 
There are already several offices on campus dedicated to aiding veterans, such as the Veteran’s Affairs Office, the Student-Veteran Center, Veteran’s Upward Bound, and the William Joiner Institute. The CEV’s goal is to oversee and coordinate communication between these institutions.
When the CEV is established, it will replace the Veteran’s Affairs Office. Current VA Director Gus St. Silva will then become the head of CEV. 
A location for CEV has not been decided upon, but turning the Game Room into the center was, at one point, an option.
In the end, Teehan details that the university thought that it would not be the “most suitable place.” A location is still being decided upon.
Many resident veterans, when asked for their opinion, were unaware of the proposal, but they had positive reactions upon learning that that veterans could soon have a enclosed, centralized space to speak to each other and faculty on a personal level or about academic issues.
The current Student Veterans’ Center, located in the third floor of the Campus Center, is stationed with other clubs and does not have much privacy. Coordinator Evan Gildersleeve and other student veterans at the center have noticed this problem. While the large windows and open space is inviting to most student clubs, it is the exact opposite of ideal for a veterans’ area.
Gildersleeve says, “In quarters like this, you really have to get to know everyone. A lot of veterans don’t want to be around people … but they want to be in the proximity of veterans. A larger area would allow them to observe them from a distance.”
After hearing the idea for the proposal and new area for the Veterans’ Student Center, Reagan Li, a student veteran, thought it would be “perfect.”
If the proposal passes, says Teehan, veterans could find a place that will be “comfortable for them.”