Veterans attending SUNY Buffalo State have a new space to gather in at the college. WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley attended a ribbon cutting ceremony held to open a brand new veterans lounge inside the Campbell Student Union.
As some veterans return from service, they're heading to college campuses to complete their education. Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner cut the ribbon with the president of the Student Veterans association John Vattison.
When Conway-Turner arrived as the new college leader more than a year ago, she reached out to the student veterans asking how the college could help them.
"But they brought to me the desire, the wish and the need to have a lounge. A space for them to convene together -- a space they could call their own and a space where they really could come to have conversation and to talk," stated Conway-Turner.
The lounge is located on the lower level of the student union and will also serve as the Student Veteran's Association Office. Vattison, now in his third year at the college. He served in Afghanistan.
Vattison tells WBFO News it's important for veterans to have a dedicated area.
"Veterans, they seem to have a better sense of community when they are around each other. It helps with success for veteran students. I believe having a place on campus for everyone to come together should be a goal that every school should tries to achieve," said Vattison.
Dr. Daniel Velez, Associate Vice President of student success, said this will help accommodate the approximately 345-veteran students attending Buffalo State.
"But this space signifies that Buffalo State is committed to student veterans, to supporting student veterans," said Velez. "Ensuring that they are aware that we care about them and that we want them to be successful."
Last month the college was named a '2016-Military Friendly School' for the fourth year in a row by Victory Media.
The new veterans lounge features comfortable seating, flags representing the military and soon lockers will be added.