UNCW Opens Military Resource Lounge

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Student veterans visit the UNCW Military Resource Lounge.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of students, faculty and staff, UNCW opened a new Military Resource Lounge on Aug. 19 in the Warwick Center on the university’s main campus.

“This new Military Resource Lounge symbolizes a support system for all military-affiliated students and their families,” said graduate student Kristen Robinson, vice president of UNCW Veterans Education and Transition Support (UNCW V.E.T.S.), the student organization that played a key role in the project. She served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Student veterans face challenges unique to their situation, said Pat Leonard, vice chancellor for the Division of Student Affairs. The resource lounge will serve as a central place for them to learn about campus and UNC system services, study and network with other military-affiliated students.

“They are well-prepared for the responsibilities of college, but as non-traditional students with work and family obligations, they need information and support tailored to their circumstances and stages in life,” she said.

Chancellor Jose Sartarelli welcomed many special guests to the grand opening, including Ilario Pantano, director of the state Division of Veterans Affairs. UNCW was founded as an educational center for World War II veterans, the chancellor said, and the new resource lounge reflects the university’s long-standing commitment to supporting military-affiliated students.

“We have a great responsibility to serve and help our heroes as they come home,” he said.

UNCW V.E.T.S. President Paul Schweizer, an undergraduate student, appreciated the cooperative approach that student-veterans, faculty and staff brought to the project. Students initiated ideas for the lounge and its programming, the UNCW faculty provided the space (which was formerly the faculty lounge), and the Student Affairs staff outfitted the space to better serve students.

“As I tell our members all of the time, we want to be part of the solution,” Marine Corps veteran Schweizer said. “We will all be alumni of this university someday, and we want to be able to look back and know that we made a difference.”

Large photo caption: Student veterans tour the new UNCW Military Resource Lounge in Warwick Center.  PHOTO BY: JEFF JANOWSKI/UNCW