Congressman Hoyer Tours Lounge During Student Roundtable
College of Southern Maryland student veterans gave U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) a tour July 21 of the college's Veterans Lounge located on the La Plata Campus. Equipped with computers, worktables, a podium and projector for lectures, and a comfortable sitting area, the lounge was created as a place where students could gather, connect with fellow military veterans, study and offer support to each other.
The lounge officially opened in November 2015 and is now about to get a facelift thanks to the Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation which awarded $9,122 through the Vet Center Initiative established to assist student organizations with rebuilding, refurbishing or renovating resource centers for veterans on college campuses. Renovations in the lounge are taking place over the next few weeks.
During the congressman's visit, a veterans-issue roundtable discussion was held in the new lounge. Hoyer, center, is pictured with student veterans, clockwise from right, Adrian Brown; Bill Buffington, vice president of the CSM Veterans Organization; Zoila Vidal; and Bettie Phillips-Jackson, secretary/treasurer of the veterans group.
“This is wonderful,” Hoyer said of the lounge. He asked the vets if they had used the facility. “What value do you get out of this particular room?” Hoyer said, describing the lounge as a “refuge” for vets on campus.
Vidal, a U.S. Army veteran who graduated from CSM in May, answered, “To me personally, it's like family. Nobody understands a veteran like a veteran. When I come out of my classes, after watching the young folks, I just go here, and we just sit down and talk about any topic. It's so intimate. It's my second home.”
Hoyer complimented the facility and thanked the veterans for their service. “The work that this school is doing is just absolutely life-changing for so many people, giving them such opportunities, and thank you for pushing because we all need a push, right? We all need someone to say, 'You can do better.' We all get down, we all get discouraged and we all need people to pick us up, and what this room does is lift everyone up,” Hoyer said.
For information on the ribbon-cutting of the lounge, visit http://news.csmd.edu/news/archive/2015/49b92cf3bb33063557f67bfa10ea2f7c03db435a.html.
For information about veteran and military support services at CSM, visit http://www.csmd.edu/student-services/veteran-military-support-services/