The newly remodeled Veterans Center offers more space and amenities for student vets to study and socialize. The space includes conference tables, study areas and a kitchen. The Veterans Center is located in The Student Union.
The Black Hills State University Veterans Center received a facelift and is planning a re-opening in September.
The on-campus student veteran facility, located in The Student Union, was recently remodeled thanks to a $75,000 Veteran Services Higher Education Grant from the South Dakota Governor’s Office.
The Veterans Center provides space for student vets to socialize with other student vets, study in between classes, or hold meetings.
“Most of our student veterans are non-traditional students and we don’t want them to feel left out of the college experience,” said David Dodson, veterans resource coordinator at BHSU. The Veterans Center provides what Dodson calls a safe space for student vets.
The Veterans Center opened in 2012. Renovations began in December 2013 and were completed by April 14. The remodel included new flooring and fresh paint, as well as the addition of conference tables, shelving and storage units and a kitchen area.
“It’s now a very warm and welcoming space,” Dodson said.
The Veterans Center now has seating for 40 people, which will be ideal for hosting guest speakers and meetings for The Yellow Jackets Vets Club, the on-campus veterans club, Dodson said.
Study spaces equipped for laptop hookup, a printer and television with advanced communication capabilities are also located in the center.
Dodson said he is eager for students to start utilizing the new space. Students were only able to enjoy the newly designed center for a few weeks during the spring semester.
Black Hills State University has the highest percentage of veteran students among the six state universities. Dodson said on average 300 veterans are enrolled at BHSU a semester. The high number correlates to the quality of the services BHSU offers its student vets and their dependents, he added.
BHSU offers guidance in receiving state and federal education benefits, accessing disability services, finding tutors, childcare and other academic assistance.
“I’m a one-stop shop for veteran issues – using GI benefits, finding a counselor or even the right doctor in the VA system,” Dodson said of his role as the veterans’ resource coordinator. “As a veteran, the students know I am here for them.”
Black Hills State University has been named a Military Friendly School by the GI Jobs magazine for four consecutive years. The University was ranked among Military Times 2014 Best for Vets for four-year colleges and has been named to the Military Times list of Best Business Schools for Vets for two years.