A look at the new Student Veterans Center

Rebecca Atkinson, associate director of New Student and Family Programs, and John Fix, retired U.S. Army sergeant major and current graduate student, share a laugh in the new Student Veterans Resource Center. (Photo by Ken Scar)

CLEMSON — Clemson’s long history of supporting the military will grow even richer this month as the new Student Veterans Resource Center opens in Tillman Hall on Nov. 20.

The Clemson University Student Veterans Association was started in 2006 as an organization dedicated to helping students who served, or are currently serving, the U.S. military during a time of war. Their goal is to provide experience and guidance to incoming students, and fellowship and camaraderie to both veterans and their dependents.

Sam Wigley, the current Student Veterans Association president, estimates that there are around 250 prior-service veterans at Clemson. That number could increase dramatically with the opening of the new center as more veterans identify themselves.

Until now, the group hasn’t had a room for itself on campus, so the new center will greatly enhance its ability to support student veterans, said retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. and Clemson graduate student John Fix.

“It will be a one-stop shop for anything student veteran-related,” he said, adding that the services provided can be particularly important during the transition from military service to student life. “It’s a big transition leaving the civilian life to go into the military, and an even bigger one getting back into civilian life. Add higher education into that piece and it’s a big challenge. Some folks will need assistance and that’s what we’re hoping to provide here.”

Retire Sgt. Maj. speaks in new Student Veterans Center

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. John Fix speaks about the unique needs of student veterans from a podium in the new Student Veterans Resource Center. (Photo by Ken Scar)

Veterans who attend Clemson often don’t know all the resources available to them, so one of the most important things the new center will add to the Student Veterans Association is visibility, said Rebecca Atkinson, the associate director of New Student and Family Programs.

“We want people to know this facility is here,” she said. “We want to make our veterans aware of what is actually in place and how they can utilize it for their needs. While there is work to be done and services we do need to improve for student veterans, initially we want to make the current services more accessible to them.”

The new Student Veterans Resource Center is in room 204 of Tillman Hall. The ribbon-cutting will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20.