Clark State Community College will add a veterans lounge to the many services offered to students who are veterans of the United States Military. Clark State was recently named a Purple Heart Campus and also offers veterans and active military priority registration for classes.
Dr. Ed Busher, dean of student support services, said the idea for a veterans lounge was pitched to him about a year ago. “The original idea for the lounge came from Clark State student Scott Cody,” said Busher. “Scott is very committed to veteran concerns, and he contacted me frequently to pitch his idea of a veterans lounge. To his credit, he did not stop advocating for his idea until he felt the consideration for the lounge was in motion.” Busher said his role was to assist Cody in making his vision a reality. The lounge will provide student veterans with a place to call their own: a place to unwind, study, hold meetings or network with each other.
The veterans lounge will be located in Rhodes Hall, Room 215B on the Leffel Lane Campus in Springfield. “It will offer veterans a safe place to go when they need to minimize their stressors,” explained Cody, a Clark State student, Student Senate member and military veteran. “It will be a central place to meet and socialize with other veterans.”
Cody submitted the original request for consideration in spring of last year. Some of the student support offices were relocating to the renovated first floor of Rhodes Hall to form the Student Academic Support Center (SASC). Cody requested a veterans lounge be considered for the space vacated by the one of these offices. The suite offers a lounge area and office space.
Dana L. Kapp, veterans services specialist for Clark State, said as the number of veterans enrolled at Clark State increases, it is important to provide resources and services to meet their needs and support them as they pursue their degrees. “Many veterans have had experiences that differ significantly from other students in their age group while others greatly miss the camaraderie that is prevalent in the military,” said Kapp, also a military veteran. “A lounge gives the veteran a place to socialize with, and gain support from, others that have shared those experiences so they do not feel alone or isolated on campus.”
Kapp said there are approximately 125 student veterans enrolled at Clark State. The veterans lounge will be furnished utilizing donations made through the Clark State Foundation. Organizations that make a contribution to the project will also be able to display their materials in the lounge. An opening date for the veterans lounge has not yet been established.