The Upper Iowa University Student Veterans Club has been awarded a $9,100 SVA/Home Depot Foundation Veteran Center initiative grant for 2016. As one of 50 chapters nationwide to receive the grant, the UIU Student Veterans Club will use the funds to help establish the Military and Veterans Service Center (MVSC) on the Fayette campus.
“We are extremely grateful for the Home Depot Foundation’s support of student veterans. At our campus, they will not only supply us with funding, but Team Depot members from a nearby store will also help us along the way,” said Chad Cook, Upper Iowa University director of military and veteran services. “Veteran centers on college campuses make a huge positive impact on student veteran success. Since many veterans commute to school, have jobs, or juggle other responsibilities, having a place on campus to connect to other veterans and resources can be invaluable.”
Cook explained that the current Fayette/Upper Iowa Rooms in Garbee Hall will soon be transformed into the MVSC student lounge, a meeting space, and offices. Building materials, paint and furniture will be among the items purchased with the grant funding, which is distributed via Home Depot gift cards. The MVSC is expected to serve as a “one-stop shop” where prospective and current students who are military service members, dependents, and veterans can easily obtain UIU information, advisement, and support.
“I wish to express my appreciation toward UIU’s Student Veterans Club members and colleagues that helped put the grant application together,” said Cook. “I would also like to thank the UIU facilities team in advance of the work and other efforts that they will put into completing the project, which is planned for mid-August.”
The SVA (Student Veterans of America) and The Home Depot Foundation launched the Vet Center Initiative in 2014 as part of SVA’s mission to provide veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. By the end of 2016, 111 campuses in 40 states will have earned more than $970,000 benefiting more than 53,600 student veterans.
The grant award comes on the heels of Cook’s March announcement that Upper Iowa was among 30 schools nationwide to be newly named to the PAVE (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education) network.
Headquartered at University of Michigan Medical School, PAVE is a peer support program that connects incoming student veterans with student veterans already on campus in order to help them navigate college life, identify challenges they face, refer them to appropriate resources on or off campus, and provide additional ongoing support.