GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College students who served in the military have a new support center aimed at connecting them with resources to be successful and be part of a campus community.
U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer joined GRCC leaders Wednesday to cut the ribbon on the Veterans Center in the newly renovated G2 floor of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.
GRCC President Bill Pink said the college has a history of being veteran-friendly and the new center will increase the ways students can connect with support services.
“Our college has always been a place where student veterans are welcomed and supported,” Pink said. “This new Veterans Center will allow us to take this service to the next level. They’ll be able to connect with people with shared experiences who are ready to help them with anything they need.”
The U.S. Education Department awarded GRCC a grant back in January to create the center, which will serve as a hub for planning and delivering services to students who have served in the armed forces.
Rep. Meijer was deployed to Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves and worked in Afghanistan for a nongovernmental organization delivering emergency assistance.
“We are so proud of the veterans who have served their country and the families who have supported them,” Meijer said. “We need to help them get the education they need as well as the support services to help with the transition from the military to college. GRCC’s new Veterans Center is the perfect example of how we can stand with them and help them build on the skills they’ve already learned in their service to thrive long into the future.”
The center will serve as a single point of contact, connecting veterans with campus resources like financial aid, advising and disability support.
The project will also expand GRCC’s partnerships with state and local veterans’ agencies, helping students access benefits and support in the community.
It’ll host workshops and speakers, as well as provide opportunities for networking and social events.
Peer advising will also be part of a new Veteran2Veteran program, which provides peer support, outreach and resources for student veterans through Peer Advisors for Veteran Education, including veterans supporting each other through the transition to college.
Other services will include one-on-one advising, Veterans Administration work study positions, tutoring, academic support and assistance with completing the VA education benefits process.
GRCC officials hope to grow the number of students taking advantage of existing veterans services from 400 to more than 500 in three years.
More information can be found on GRCC's website here.