Southwest opens new Veterans Resource Center on Macon Cove campus
Southwest Tennessee Community College President Tracy D. Hall proudly cut the ribbon to the new Veterans Resource Center on the Macon Cove campus earlier this month, along with Mike Krause, Tennessee Board of Regents Vice Chancellor for Student Success Heidi Leming and other Southwest officials, alumni and supporters to mark what Krause described as a “wholesale rethinking of (Southwest)” where students are the focus.
“What you are doing at Southwest is important here and to the entire state,” said Krause, who is an Iraqi Freedom veteran and currently serves as the executive director for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. “Not many community colleges are doing this,” Krause said. “I hope this center serves as a beacon to other community colleges across the state.”
President Hall says the college is privileged to serve veterans and is committed to their success. “We are proud to have veterans as a part of our student body, faculty and staff,” Hall said. “We are committed to meeting the unique needs of our veteran students and this center is a testament to this commitment,” she said.
Southwest Student Affairs staff designed the Center to be more than a safe haven where veteran students can meet in a comfortable, welcoming environment. “The Center will be used to direct students to campus resources, including our Prior Learning Assessment staff where they can apply to receive course credit for their military service,” Southwest Vice President for Student Affairs Jacqueline Faulkner said. “Our goal is to ensure that we afford our students every opportunity to realize their academic and life goals.”
Executive Director for Retention and Student Success Jacqueline Taylor says the staff worked with veteran students and alumni to ensure the center was not only a resource, but also a tribute to all those who served in the United States Armed Forces, including prisoners of war. “The center is equipped with computer stations that are designed to accommodate students with disabilities and military-themed photos adorn the walls, along with global maps where veterans can place pins to mark where they had tours of duty or service,” Taylor said.
The space is outfitted with audiovisual equipment so that veterans can facilitate meetings and seminars and is designed and furnished so that anyone visiting will have clear sight lines of all exits and entries. “The Veterans Support Center is a training room, student lounge, and research/resource space, all in one,” Taylor said. “It truly is designed as a multi-functional space to offer our Veteran population the support they deserve.”
Taylor says the Center is symbolic of the College’s ongoing transformation into a student-centric institution. “This Center is an acknowledgment of our transition from being more than a military-friendly institution,” she said. “We are now a military-committed institution, much in the same way that our veterans and their families have shown such authentic commitment to our nation and the world.”