DeMario Daniels says the move to a new location is great for the Veteran Services Center.
Gary Pounder hopes Thomas Nelson’s Veteran Services Center becomes “a hub for our military population.” Now that the Center is located in Wythe Room 230, between the two sets of double doors just outside the library, he’s confident that will happen.
“We’re in a good location (with) good quality accommodations,” said Pounder, the College’s Assistant Director for Veterans Recruitment, Retention and Advising.
The Veteran Services Center was previously located in a temporary building behind Moore Hall. Pointing out that not many students were using the old facility, Pounder said the new location is much more accessible.
“When you think about our military population here at Thomas Nelson … you’re talking about thousands of students every semester, whether it’s veterans, whether it’s active duty guard and reserve, or dependents and spouses,” Pounder said.
He noted that in any given semester as many as one in four Thomas Nelson students has a military affiliation.
“They’re a big subset within our student population,” he said.
While veterans and active duty personnel are the main focus, there is help available for spouses as well. Pounder said people who retire from the military or get out upon fulfilling their contract often want to go back to school full-time. That, in turn, puts the financial burden on a spouse or dependent.
“Instead of focusing on education and moving ahead, they’re worried about how they’re going to pay their bills,” he said.
In those cases, the Veteran Services Center will help spouses with their job search.
“We need to serve the entire military population to include spouses, to include dependents,” Pounder said.
DeMario Daniels, an Air Force veteran and the College’s representative for Project VERITAS (Veteran Education Resource Initiative for Transition, Advising and Success), supervised the moved to the new location. He’s excited about the changes.
“This is a major upgrade over what we had previously,” he said. “I really didn’t have anything over there to offer but information. There were a few dedicated students who would come in and study and just wanted the peace and quiet. They would come in with their own laptop, but now I have staff that I can offer them.”
He also has six laptops, two desks, chairs, a couch, a copier, a small refrigerator and a small microwave.
“If they were around for the old (location), they’ll definitely appreciate this one that much more,” Daniels said.
The Center's fall semester operating hours once summer hours end will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Two grand openings are planned, one for Aug. 22 and the other the week of Veterans Day.
“I envision this being a resource center but also definitely a place where you can come and just spend some down time between classes,” Pounder said.