Formal opening sends message for veterans

Katie Haines Reporter


 The Veterans Resource Center formally opened Nov. 12 to help student veterans’ transition from military to civilian life. 

The new Veterans Resource Center will be available to student veterans, service members and students dependent on veterans and service members. SDSU has roughly 500 student veterans in attendance. The Veterans Resource Center will help connect veterans to other veterans and service members, provide tutoring and mentorship and display resources and services. The Veterans Resource Center is located in the lower level of the Student Union. 

Another resource offered to student veterans is the Veteran Services Office. Brian Mahaffy, Coordinator of Veteran Affairs, helps to connect returning student veterans with their benefits, connect them with other officials, and helps student veterans with any questions and concerns they may have. He also helps to advise returning student veterans and refer them to counseling if they need it. The Veteran Services Office also takes trips to the VA hospital, the Veteran Center in Sioux Falls and holds monthly meetings of the Combat Service support group. Mahaffy also speaks to the Brookings and SDSU community about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury so that civilians can better understand what some returning veterans may be going through. 

A sophomore SDSU student veteran who wished to remain unnamed agreed that SDSU is military friendly. The only concern the student had was better connecting with other student veterans. The student was unaware of the resources that are offered on campus.

“I have never actually used the Veteran Affairs office, but I might be interested in going to the new resource center once it is open,” he said.

Tiffany Eisenbraun, a first year grad student, employee at the Veteran Affairs office and military dependent said “With it being a new program there is definitely room to grow.”

SDSU is working toward becoming a more military-friendly school and has been rated two years in a row on the GI Jobs Military Friendly Schools in the top 15 percent, according to Mahaffy.

One of the ways the program is trying to improve is by brining on more staff to help grow the current program.

“We have 400 to 500 students, and don’t have more than just me as staff. We are working to get more staff,” Mahaffy said.

Jason Madison, a junior agronomy major at SDSU, was deployed to Afghanistan from May 2011 to May 2012. After his return home, he resumed his studies at SDSU. When asked, Madison said that it is very different being at college after his deployment. One thing that makes it easier is the fact that his professors are understanding of his military obligations and he believes that SDSU is a military friendly school.