From grenades to textbooks, tanks to city buses: A large portion of California’s community colleges, like Las Positas, are made up of veterans and enlisted soldiers.
With over two million veterans residing in California and the countless military personnel returning home, veteran resource centers help them transition from the battlefield to college life. Many of those who return to begin, or even continue, their education don’t have much background about the college lifestyle. To meet this need, veteran resource centers provide them with the additional aide and support they need such as counseling and course information.
Another great aspect about veterans resource centers is that they give veterans a sense of community. It helps being around fellow veterans and those who understand where they are coming from or have been. Las Positas’ Veterans’ Resource Center is Building 1310 and is home to many of veterans and enlisted students. Inside, there is a lounge for veteran students to relax and take a break from their classes. The Veterans’ Resource Center also has separate rooms including a tutor room and computer lab.
Many students veterans in the lounge said they are grateful for the resource center because they can print out necessary material and seek help from not only the available tutors, but each other. The resource centers offers much more, such as a laptop loan program and textbook exchanges. Whether it is homework or something personal, many find friends within the center which makes everything inclusive. Victor Bravo, a current student veteran who finds himself in the veterans center with his fellow veterans frequently, said “There is a lot of camaraderie.”
In the past, finding the funding to support our student veterans has been difficult. Community colleges, such as LPC, have gone to Sacramento to express their needs and concerns in hopes to create change. However, more recently, the California 2017-18 state budget includes an increase of five million dollars to fund community colleges’ veterans resource centers.
Todd Steffan, the Veterans’ First Coordinator, said, “I know this funding would not have happened if it was not for our student Veterans across the state to go to the Capital and to express the need for state funding for our veteran programs and veteran resource centers.” This increase of funding is aimed to support and further develop the veterans’ resource centers .
Student veterans, LPC faculty, staff and leadership have all been great help for these advancements according to Steffan.
With a friendly staff and welcoming environment, student veterans can easily seek help from the tutors and counselors so that they may be successful throughout all they do. Many can relate to something Todd Steffan. “I am very proud of our college – faculty, staff, admin, students … our chancellor and trustees, and most of all our student Veterans in making LPC Veterans First Program and Veterans Resource Center as a model program for other colleges to follow,” he said