The Veterans’ Resource Center is a community space for military-affiliated students seeking support from specialized UMassD programs and services.
On April 26, UMass Dartmouth unveiled the new Veterans’ Resource Center with a promise to care for veterans as they have cared for our nation. This resource hub will assist military-affiliated students and their families by providing them with a supportive environment to fulfill their academic aspirations.
Donors, alumni, and student veterans were in attendance to toast to the grand opening. Glasses of champagne in hand, guests saw the old Corsair Café transformed into a sanctuary for military students to gather together and pursue their purposes. Cozy lounge furniture and community tables occupy the space, giving student veterans consistent access to the comfort and companionship they need when transitioning to civilian life.
“UMass Dartmouth is on the move,” Chancellor Mark Fuller passionately welcomed guests before cutting the ribbon. Fuller’s speech captured the center’s essence, which is to serve over 200 military-affiliated students on their educational adventures. “Whether it’s community facilities, injury assistance, or career placement, helpful resources for our veterans are paramount to our university mission to provide an accessible, top tier education for everyone.”
“Having a dedicated space for our student veterans is like finding a home away from home,” said Javier Villanueva ’25, a veterans assistant with the Student Veterans’ Association. He hopes the new center will encourage student veterans to ask more questions about support services and make new friends with similar life experiences. “It’s a safe haven where we can connect with others, where we can grow, learn, and celebrate our achievements. The Veterans’ Resource Center is not just an old café; it is the heart of our community.”
Donor Jan Reynolds ’82 applauded the center for its intent to help veteran students with their unique needs and special requests. This space is near and dear to her heart since her father, Armand Houde ’82, was a veteran and faced his own set of challenges when returning to civilian life.
“Before my dad passed away in 2000, he told me about a sailor from Massachusetts who was killed in an accident,” Reynolds confided in attending guests, eyes glossy as she reminisced about her father’s personal adversity. “He was tasked with telling the sailor’s family about his death, and as he was talking, he was crying. I could tell he wasn’t really with me; he was in his head.
“When you join the military, you give up your entire life,” Reynolds persisted, directly addressing the student veterans in the room. “You give up your family, spouses, children, and friends to be told what to do, when to do it, and you have no input. You do that so I can have independence.”
The Veterans’ Resource Center is an essential place for military-affiliated students hoping to find a community to call their own and collaboratively plan for future academic and professional successes.
The Veterans’ Resource Center launched just weeks after UMass Dartmouth was awarded a gold designation on the 2023-2024 Military Friendly® School List. On a list of over 1800 schools, only 250 earned this honor based on leading practices, outcomes, and effective programs for student veterans. With dedicated staff and a variety of assistance programs, military-affiliated students can expect relentless commitment in university efforts to enhance their personal and professional journeys.
UMass Dartmouth’s support services for student veterans include:
- Understanding educational benefits as a student veteran
- Learning how to cope with injuries and/or trauma
- Uplifting other student veterans through mentorship programs
For more information on veteran services at UMassD, please visit https://www.umassd.edu/veterans/.