Lesley University is creating space and supports for retired military and their families with a new center opening for Veteran’s Day. The Veterans' Resource Center and Lounge, located in University Hall, will give veterans a place to relax, study and build community.
“When transitioning back into the civilian world it is very overwhelming, especially when entering into a college community where you are older than most, more experienced than most, and have a different mindset than most,” says Meagan Quinn ’20, who served in the Marines before coming to Lesley. “Being able to have a community of veterans allows that overwhelming feeling to go away and be able to enjoy each other’s company, swap stories, and be able to relax.
The idea for the center began to germinate in advisor Gene Ferraro’s mind about 10 years ago when he worked with a veteran Lesley student.
“I learned so much about the plight of the veteran once released from the service that I felt compelled to get something specifically for our veteran students up and running,” says Ferraro, senior assistant director for academic advising for our Center for the Adult Learner.
While at Lesley, he has worked with a number of veterans and says there are approximately 70 current students who are veterans or relatives who receive veterans’ benefits.
“In talking with veteran students over the past year, it became clear that they wanted to know and meet other veteran students in order to form some kind of a community,” Ferraro says. “Networking is important to them, and having a place to relax is, too.”
He wants veterans to find a haven and support in the new center, which will be outfitted with comfortable seating, a fridge, snacks and more. There will also be a part-time staffer to answer questions about benefits available on and off campus. Additionally, Ferraro envisions the center will grow and expand to include more services and events, such as speaker series.
The center will be open around the clock, seven days a week, and will welcome anyone from the Lesley community.
All are invited to the grand opening on Friday, Nov. 8 from 10-11:30 a.m. In addition to Ferraro, President Janet L. Steinmayer, Tom Graves, the Registrar’s veterans’ representative, and student and veteran Steve Abrams will speak. The Veteran’s Resource Center and Lounge is located on the third floor of University Hall in room 3-066. Refreshments will be served.