Shippensburg University’s Student-Veteran’s Resource Center held its grand opening on Friday, Sept. 7 and officially opened its doors at Room 235 of the Ceddia Union Building.
Two Pennsylvania state legislators attended and spoke to the crowd of about 150 people at the event. Sen. Richard Alloway (R-33) and Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-89) both said they were pleased that Shippensburg was the first school of the 14 total schools in the PASSHE system to open a Student-Veteran’s Resource Center.
“[The SVRC] is just another great asset for this great university,” Alloway said.
University President William Ruud, Vice President of Student Affairs Roger Serr, Shippensburg Student-Veteran Association (SVA) adviser Robert Smith and Shippensburg SVA founder and event organizer Josh Lang also spoke during the opening.
Lang, who is an SU student, was stationed in Afghanistan for 15 months as a member of the U.S. Army. He has spearheaded the effort to create the SVRC.
He and Shippensburg’s SVA started working on the project in 2010. He said the goals for the center are to provide student veterans with the tools they need in order to be successful at Shippensburg and in life after college.
“Our vision is that all student-veterans achieve academic goals and find meaningful employment,” Lang said.
During the event, the SVA asked for donations. SVA adviser Robert Smith said the donations would be going not just to the SVA but to the national center for PTSD.
Smith said that tragedies like these are what make the opening of the Veteran’s Resource Center so important.
During his speech, Ruud issued a challenge to the other colleges and universities in the state to create Student-Veteran Resource Centers of their own.
Ruud said with 246 veterans at SU, he wanted the SVRC to be located at the center of student activities.
“I hope this center becomes one of the busiest and most successful places on campus,” Ruud said.
After Lang cut the ceremonial ribbon, Shippensburg’s SVA presented Kauffman and Alloway with certificates, commemorating the opening of the center.
The SVA also gave Ruud a plaque, thanking him for his assistance.
After the event, Lang invited the crowd to come to Shippensburg’s quad where the SVA had planted 4,977 American flags, roughly one for every U.S. service member lost during the War on Terror.