Congressman Chris Gibson to Speak
SUNY Ulster to Dedicate Veterans Lounge as Battle Buddy Center
Congressman Chris Gibson to Speak at May 1 Opening Event
Continuing its ongoing commitment to being a “military friendly campus,” SUNY Ulster will dedicate its Veterans Lounge as a Battle Buddy Center during ceremonies on May 1, 2013 at the campus.
SUNY Ulster President Donald Katt will be joined by Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19); Andy Grosso, Vice President of Business Development, New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc. (NYSID); active duty military, veterans and a local Color Guard, to commemorate the opening. The event will be held at 11:45 a.m. in the Vanderlyn Hall lower lobby, outside the College Bookstore.
Creation of the Battle Buddy Center/Veterans Lounge was made possible through grant funding from NYSID and support from Gateway Community Industries, Inc.. NYSID will provide funds over a three-year period to purchase technology, furnishings, equipment and other enhancements for the Battle Buddy Center.
Located in Vanderlyn 156, the lounge will include such amenities as a television and study areas and also provide access to services for veterans who may be struggling, such as a toll-free hotline and literature. The Battle Buddy Center/Veterans Lounge will be open during all school hours.
The center will reflect the pride veterans have in serving their nation and have a board with photos that will connect the different branches of service. It is based on the military concept of a Battle Buddy, which assigns soldiers with partners to assist each other both in and out of combat.
SUNY Ulster ‘Military Friendly’ Campus
“The Battle Buddy Center/Veterans Lounge will serve as a home for student veterans, active duty military or dependents of active military, and a safe haven for quiet study where student veterans can get away from the hustle and bustle of campus, socialize and provide peer support and fellowship,” said Manny Torres, a 2012 graduate of SUNY Ulster who now serves as the college’s Veterans Coordinator.
While Torres was a student last year, he re-invigorated interest in the Veterans Club and worked with the College and students to launch the center. James Haggerty, Congressman Gibson’s district veterans director and NYSID’s veterans consultant, also was instrumental in getting the center opened.
Home to about 50 veterans, SUNY Ulster has been named a “military friendly” campus from G.I. Jobs magazine since 2011, ranking the college in the top 15 percent of all colleges and universities in its interest in educating members and veterans in the military.
“With more military returning home, SUNY Ulster expects to see its military population increase and the Battle Buddy Center is one important new tool for assisting these students and helping them succeed,” said Wendy McCorry, assistant dean for student success.
NYSID and Gateway Industries Partner with SUNY Ulster
“NYSID recognizes that creating employment opportunities for service disabled veterans and other New Yorkers with disabilities who face barriers to employment is not only the right thing to do, but it also improves our state’s economy and strengthens our communities,” said Ron Romano, president & CEO. “Based upon the current veteran population and the anticipated growth of veterans’ programs and services on campus, we are pleased to collaborate with SUNY Ulster and Gateway Community Industries, Inc. in the opening of this Battle Buddy Center.”
NYSID has been turning business opportunities into jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities for nearly 40 years. The organization supports job creation efforts for a diverse group of New Yorkers with disabilities through its member agencies and assists with veterans' support programs, promoting quality of life for veterans as they reconnect to the New York State workforce.
NYSID is partnering with Gateway Community Industries, Inc. in the opening of SUNY Ulster’s Battle Buddy Center. Based in Kingston, Gateway assists people with disabilities in developing the skills and supports necessary to achieve success and satisfaction in their lives through integrated vocational, therapeutic, residential and business services.
In addition to SUNY Ulster, NYSID has participated in the opening of three Battle Buddy Centers thus far: at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy; at Fedcap Rehabilitation Services in New York City; and at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango.