By Staff Sgt. Michael Beck SDNG Public Affairs Office
RAPID CITY – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for a new Veteran’s Resource Center Friday, March 15, at the South Dakota University Center in Rapid City (UCRC). The new center will serve as an informational hub designed for military veterans and active military or National Guard service members who are perusing post-secondary education.
Currently, about 130 students, or a little more than 12 percent of the students at the University Center are veterans. The Veterans Resource Center will help military members and veterans understand their educational benefits, opportunities and resources. The Veteran’s Center also provides a designated area for veterans to socialize and quiet area to study.
Among the speakers at the ceremony were Gov. Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, Black Hills State University President Kay Schallenkamp and South Dakota Board of Regents President Dr. Kathryn Johnson.
“It is a resource center for student veterans for all of their individual needs,” said Gov. Daugaard. “It isn’t the physical space that is needed, it is the knowledge that all those who work or volunteer in the center can impart.”
The UCRC represents a partnership between South Dakota’s public universities working together to deliver curriculum from all of the universities in one convenient location. Military students at the University Center now have one place to turn to for support services.
“The Center is more than just the space, it is about the environment,” said Dr. Johnson.
“The Veteran’s Center in the UCRC gives veterans a place to come,” said Dwight Holt, of Veteran’s Upward Bound, the coordinator for the Veteran’s Resource Center. “Many of our veterans are non- traditional students, and this gives them a quiet place to do homework and a place to relate with other veterans.”
While the space is small, it serves a larger purpose.
“Some of our veteran students like the small place to come to and decompress,” said Holt.
The hope is that through demand for the space and as time progresses, the Veteran’s Resource Center will be allocated a larger space within the UCRC building. The resource center will cater to students from all of the six South Dakota public universities attending UCRC.