Student veterans awarded $10K for new vet center

Part of nationwide Vet Center Initiative by Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation to support veteran centers on college campuses

Walking onto a college campus after leaving the military can be a daunting experience for student veterans. That’s why The Home Depot Foundation and Student Veterans of America (SVA) are awarding the SVA chapter at Penn State Berks $10,000 for its veteran center on campus, as part of their Vet Center Initiative.

The grant will be used to transform space in the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building, room 325, into a new student veteran center on campus. According to Joseph Webb, Director of Student Support Services and adviser to the SVA chapter, the college will use the funding to purchase new furniture, computers, a television, mini refrigerator and a microwave, as well as to renovate the space with a new coat of paint, and ultimately create a home-away-from-home for student veterans. He added that the renovations should be completed by the end of the fall 2016 semester.

“Since many veterans commute to school, have jobs, or juggle other responsibilities, having a place on campus to connect to other veterans and resources can be invaluable,” stated Webb. “As a student organization dedicated to supporting veterans, the SVA officers wanted to create a veteran center on campus to support their fellow veterans, while also leaving a legacy of service to future Penn State Berks student veterans.”

Tiffany Csicsek, a student veteran studying criminal justice and an officer in the SVA chapter at Penn State Berks, commented, “I’m looking for a community I can participate in. As a veteran and a nontraditional student, it's hard to relate to students in my classes about what I’ve done with my life. I hope the campus veteran association can use the space for meetings and get together where veterans can have feel comfortable talking to one another.”

Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation teamed up in 2014 to launch the Vet Center Initiative, offering SVA chapters a chance to compete for up to $10,000 in grant money to build or renovate a veteran center. By 2015, 61 campuses earned $500,000 to build or rehabilitate veteran centers that benefit more than 30,000 student veterans. This year, 50 campus communities were awarded grants of up to $10,000. 

SVA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition of more than 1,300 student veteran chapters, representing over 540,000 veterans in higher education, across the country. SVA's mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy to ease veteran and active military students' transition into higher education and leverage military experience to launch successful careers in high-demand fields after graduation. For more information, visit and follow on Twitter @studentvets.

ABOUT PENN STATE BERKS SVA CHAPTER: The Penn State Berks SVA chapter’s mission is to help student veterans achieve their educational goals at Penn State Berks while providing an environment in which student veterans have the opportunity to support and socialize with one another. The chapter serves as a source of information, support, representation, and camaraderie to any and all students of prior and current military service seeking education at Penn State Berks.