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New Penn State Student Veteran Center Ready to Open

by on November 12, 2019 11:20 AM

After a year of renovations, Penn State's Student Veteran Center will officially open later this week inside of Ritenour Building, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday as part of Military Appreciation Week.

“The goal, the vision is that the Student Veteran Center will become the hub of activity and community for student veterans,” said Eugene McFeely, Penn State’s senior director for veteran affairs and services, in a release.

The new center cost $4 million and takes up 6,300 square feet in the 90-year-old Ritenour Building. It features a student veteran lounge, a student veteran study area, and multi-use rooms that will provide space for student veteran organizations, support groups and programming. Additionally, the center will serve as the home of the Office of Veterans Programs and the Office of Veterans Affairs and Services.

McFeely said that the university has funded $2 million of the project, while donors have contributed $1.2 million toward. There’s still about $800,000 left to be raised.

Because University Park is home to about 400 student veterans, while a total of more than 5,000 attend all of Penn State’s campuses, McFeely said making the center’s resources as accessible as possible was a priority.

“Even though physically located here at University Park, I envision that we’ll reach all of the campuses,” said McFeely, citing broadcasting workshops from the center to students at Commonwealth campuses as an example of how to engage them. “The idea is that we will use the center as a hub or magnet to pull people and resources in, and then project them out in some way, shape, or form.”

About two-thirds of the overall center is completed and the remaining portion, which includes conference rooms and additional study areas, is expected to open in the spring.

“Having a veterans center is a huge benefit for us,” Kyle Larson, president of the Penn State Student Veteran Organization, said. “I can see a lot of student veterans using the group study rooms to study and then stepping into the lounge to take a break. I can also see some student veterans using the smaller office spaces to tutor or informally counsel other vets in need.”

Anthony Colucci is a writer for Onward State
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