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SDSU Opens New Veterans Resource Center

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South Dakota State University in Brookings is hoping to make veterans feel more welcome on campus. The University opened its first dedicated Veterans Resource Center. It’s a place dedicated to helping military veterans in school.

The room may not be packed quite yet, but the signs in the New Veterans Resource Center say it all.

"We're taking steps to make this a veteran friendly school and it's awesome to see the focus," said SDSU Veteran Affairs Coordinator, Brian Mahaffy.

A veteran himself, Brian Mahaffy is the Veteran Affairs Coordinator at SDSU. After returning back to school from active duty, he says he struggled with transitioning back into civilian life. Now, a Veteran Affairs Coordinator, he’s created a place where veterans military personnel could connect with one another.

"This is a way for them to re-group and re-connect. It’s a way for them to make some connections  in the community and campus to get  these servicemen and women out of their box again,” said Mahaffy.

For some, it might be just a study area or a place to get extra tutoring. But the center's goal is to help students with services that weren't always available before.

"It’s providing an opportunity for you to talk about tough issues, transition issues with combat issues or financial issues and to {make them} feel like they're welcomed,” said Mahaffy.

Other services include guest speakers, career counselors and VA hospital information. It’s services SDSU student and National Guard member, Callie Zirpel is grateful for.

"It feels great. You always have someone to talk to on a different level. You have friends to talk to about school stuff but sometimes they don't always have that deeper connection," said student, Callie Zirpel.

Hoping the seats will soon be full, so those serving our country can also be served.

The center opened Tuesday. Wednesday, the organization Hero2Hire was at the Center helping those in the military with career counseling, proof reading resumes and refreshing on interview skills.
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