By Thomas Reilly
With help from the Island Outreach Foundation, Suffolk was able to open up their veteran’s resource center on the Eastern Campus. Island Outreach Foundation was kind enough to donate over $50,000 in order to help support veterans who are enrolled or plan on enrolling at Suffolk. The main goal of the resource center is to help aid veterans with advice on possible career advice such as a possible major they would want to study as well as assisting them in finding jobs after they graduate from Suffolk.
“This generous grant from Island Outreach Foundation will enable Suffolk County Community College to provide the support that veterans want: a single point of contact with trained staff to guide their transition as they pursue their educational goals,” said Thomas Tyson, College Coordinator of Veterans Affairs (sunysuffolk.edu).
There are more than 700 students who are veterans that are currently attending Suffolk. Suffolk County is home to the most veterans in New York State according to Suffolk’s website. “Many students do not realize how many veterans there are on campus, including myself. I feel like this is a very nice gesture from the college,” said George a student at Suffolk. There are expected to be more and more veterans enrolling in the upcoming semesters because of the new veteran’s resource center.
Shannon O’Neill, director of student veteran affairs at Suffolk said, “It is important for SCCC to support our student veterans because they have served and sacrificed so much for our every day freedoms. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to work with such incredible students that have made such a selfless decision. The Veterans Resource Centers have been established on each campus to assist questions regarding their educational benefits, community resources and to provide assistance with transitioning from military to civilian life.”
There are plans to establish a veteran’s resource center on each campus in the coming weeks. There are veterans that attend Suffolk on each campus so the college wants everybody who is a veteran to have the luxury of the new resource centers.
“I am glad that Suffolk is supporting the veterans because they mean so much to the community. This is a step in the right direction for them,” said an anonymous student at Suffolk.
The veteran’s resource center on the Eastern Campus opened up in late January prior to the start of the spring 2016 semester with a ribbon cutting ceremony. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin was joined by President Dr. Shaun L. McKay to cut the ribbon and open up the resource center.
Congressman Zeldin also discussed bringing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs VetSuccess to Suffolk. The VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program serves to help veterans and service members achieve their goals through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits, assistance and counseling, leading to completion of their education and preparing them for their careers after Suffolk.
The college’s website lists many other benefits student veterans can take advantage of such as free tutoring, counseling services for educational planning, academic advisement, career assistance and mental health. There are also career fairs with guest military personnel speakers who are former college students as well as career programs geared toward women student veterans.