Grand Rapids Community College recently commemorated the opening of a new space on its main campus dedicated for student veterans.
GRCC President Dr. Bill Pink, U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, and other college officials participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Veterans Center, located in Finkelstein Hall on the college’s main campus near downtown Grand Rapids.
The Veterans Center will provide a space for GRCC students who are veterans to receive peer advisors and outreach, help with finding VA work-study positions, assistance with accessing their VA education benefits and more.
“It is the least we can do for people who put their lives in this space,” Pink said, of the center’s opening.
The center will also serve as a hub for connecting veterans with campus resources, including financial aid, advising and disability support. The project will expand GRCC’s partnerships with state and local veterans’ agencies, helping students access benefits and support in the community.
GRCC officials also say center will help with outreach efforts, making veterans in the community aware of opportunities at GRCC to earn credits for degrees or transferring to other institutions. It will host workshops and speakers and provide opportunities for networking and social events for the students.
The college received a $450,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education in January for the center’s creation.
Meijer, a veteran of the U.S. Army, said the center will be imperative for veterans as they transition back to civilian life.
“From a veteran education standpoint, having resources, having a dedicated resource center on campus — there’s obviously benefits from simplifying paperwork … having a space to commune, but I think most important is showing veterans are welcome,” Meijer said. “That when they come to GRCC, when they come to pursue that education and to make good on that benefit that was earned, that they are setting themselves up for the next stage of their life.”