With new center, university elevates support for student vets

Feb 29, 2016

President Marc Johnson (left) visits with Terina Caserto and Gabe Kennedy in the KUNR studios.
Credit KUNR

The University of Nevada, Reno's new William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center has just opened on campus. And one of the important services to be housed there is focused on support students who are also veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The veterans' services have been brought together to facilitate efficient collaboration in the new facility under the name of the Nevada Military Support Alliance Veterans' and Military Center. 

The University's support for student veterans and some highlights of the new building were the topic of the University Spotlight on KUNR's Beyond the Headlines. President Marc Johnson visited with university guests Terina Caserto, director of Veterans Services, and Gabe Kennedy, U.S. Marine Corps and Nevada Air National Guard veteran who is a junior English major. (Interviewed by David Stipech; air date 2-26-16.)

More about veterans' services online from the University of Nevada, Reno

More about the guests and topic:
(Source: University of Nevada, Reno)

The William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center, opening to students on Feb. 22, is considered a vital connecting piece in the University’s ongoing effort to enhance the student experience on campus by offering a suite of student-centered services and spaces in one physical location. National studies indicate that that more integrated student success services are, the greater likelihood that students will persist and graduate. Within the Achievement Center, students will have access to the Writing Center, Math Center, Tutoring Center, Career Services, Advising Center, Student Veterans Affairs, Disabilities Resource Center, Counseling Services, Trio & McNair Scholars and student faith-based groups. The William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center also has shared collaborative workspace, classrooms, computer work stations, and food service.

There are several design features that are intended to bring students more opportunities to learn interactively and engage with one another more personally. For example, the main stairs from the first to second floor are called “Social Stairs.” The stairs feature areas to the side where students will be encouraged to sit, congregate and informally gather, adding to the collaborative feel of the building. Intensive one-on-one peer mentoring will be encouraged through services such as those offered in Career Studios, which facilitates student internships, mentorships and career connection.

The building will be in many ways student-run. Student workers have been specially trained since before the holidays at the Joe Crowley Student Union and are now fully in place at the student achievement center to man offices, direct flow and problem-solve. Other design features incorporate elements of the site’s previous building, Getchell Library, which served University students from 1962-2013. Reddish brown granite from the Getchell building are part of the design features along the west wall of the first floor, which is also home to the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno’s “Graduation Wall.” The wall will yearly list the number of graduates produced by the University. The Reflection and Meditation Room on the second floor features two individual rooms and a larger space for prayer, reflection and meditation, including foot wash, mats and shoe storage.