Cal Poly Center for Military-Connected Students Celebrates Grand Opening of New Campus Location
Contact: Kari Leslie
805-756-6838, [email protected]
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly has renovated and doubled the size of its Center for Military-Connected Students, creating a space with many enhanced benefits for students, including more indoor and outdoor study space, new computers, free printing and a bigger food pantry that has received more than 850 visits since the start of fall quarter.
The new space is ADA-compliant and air conditioned and features an outdoor courtyard area. Students can access resources, grab a snack, study and find community through the Student Veterans and Dependents Club.
“Relocating the center to this new, larger location has allowed our community to expand, as more students can now access these crucial resources,” said student veteran David Gaspar-Martinez.
The center serves more than 700 student veterans, active-duty students, and students with a service connection through their parent or spouse.
“This is their space,” said Kari Leslie, lead coordinator for the Center for Military-Connected Students. “We want students to feel incredibly comfortable and use it as they need it. We want to provide whatever they need to navigate their day.”
In September, U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best College’s guidebook ranked Cal Poly as the top school in the West for veterans for the fourth straight year. The listing shows the most veteran-friendly universities among public and private institutions that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.
“The Center for Military-Connected Students provides students with the tools, support and community they need to succeed at Cal Poly,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Keith B. Humphrey. “We are so proud of the work that our center staff accomplish for our students. This new space will help them achieve their goals of advocating and advancing the interests of our military-connected students.”
Two days before Veterans Day, Cal Poly held a grand ceremony to mark the expansion. The Nov. 9 event featured several speakers, a ribbon-cutting and tours of the new space.
Speakers included Calvin Angel, local interagency network coordinator with CalVet; San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Debbie Arnold; Clint Weirick, representing State Sen. John Laird’s office; Greg Haas, from U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal’s office; and student veteran David Gaspar-Martinez.
Leslie accepted two honors for the center: a State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition from Sen. Laird’s office and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Rep. Carbajal’s office.
“I want to say thank you, on behalf of the students here, to all the campus and community members who provided both the funding and support we needed to see this new space become a reality,” said Gaspar-Martinez. “This is a space that truly impacts students’ lives.”
Construction of the center was funded in part by $55,000 in grants from the local area budgets of San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Arnold and John Peschong. Another $20,000 was contributed for programming purposes by the County Veterans Service Offices, led by Veterans Services Officer and Cal Poly alumnus Morgan Boyd.
Community donations are welcome and are used to improve the services and experiences of Cal Poly’s military-connected students. Visit militaryconnected.calpoly.edu to learn more.