University Recognized as a Military Friendly Institution


Courtesy of Veterans Resource Center

Veterans aligned as they look out towards the horizon

Monica Tamayo, Contributing Writer

Cal State LA has recently been recognized as a military friendly institute for higher learning. This consideration was given to the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) by Military Friendly, a brand owned by VIQTORY.

VIQTORY is a company dedicated to creating connections between the military and civilian communities. Alongside this award, the University also ranked as the twenty-seventh best college for veterans according to U.S News and World Report. Cal State LA is one of the seven Cal State Universities (CSU’s) to receive this designation.

“It’s great to see our university recognized for all the hard work that we do, but this wasn’t just VRC, it was a campus wide effort. The veterans and other military connected students that we serve; different departments support them,” said Dani Molina, director for the VRC.

According to the website, universities must apply and go through an assessment in order to be recognized. Then, they are evaluated on public data about the institution and information given through the Military Friendly schools survey. Military Friendly critiques on six pillars: academic policies and compliance, admission 7 orientation, culture and commitment, financial aid and loan replacement, graduation and career outcomes and military student support and retention.

The Military Friendly website shows that Cal State LA exceeded all standards required by 60 percent in two of the six designated areas: admissions & orientation and military student support & retention. A large factor as to why the VRC believes it scored so high in these areas is thanks to a program that launched in summer 2017 called VetNet.

The VetNet program, Ally, is a seminar hosted throughout the academic year. The purpose of these seminars is to close the boundaries between student veterans and the rest of the Cal State LA community. The seminar was originally created for University staff and faculty, but recently has seen more students attend these seminars according to Dr. Molina.

Although the center attracts students attend the seminars, it lacks the presence of staff and faculty. During the seminar, the Cal State LA community is educated on how to correctly engage with student veterans in their everyday life and also help reduce the damaged military stereotype. Attendants are shown different videos, scenarios and topics that they should avoid.

After the seminars, attendants are given a pin with the logo “VetNet Ally”, which can be worn proudly.
“When veterans see that, thats code to them. ‘You went through that seminar, I’ve got an ally. You have gone through the opportunity to learn what I went through’ and thats so important,” said Dr. Molina.

Over the span of 2.5 years, there has been an increase in the veteran students and military dependents in the VRC, which is located in the basement level of King Hall. The VRC is currently home to more than 650 students, where the main percentage of the group are student veterans.

“We get treated pretty cool here; we all hang out and it’s brought us pretty close.” said student veteran, Omar Suleiman. “At Cal State LA, a lot of people know each other, but when you’re here, everyone is really close. I’m pretty grateful, there’s a great brotherhood here.”