Sep 21, 2018

Veterans press for services

Omega Delta Sigma is a veteran fraternity at Fresno State created by
and for veterans. Fraternity members Devon Mathis (left) and Anthony
Graves try to recruit members and provide information for fellow veterans.
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

Student Veteran Organization pushes to get a veterans-only lounge and rededication of the Fresno State fountain.

“Of all the CSUs, Fresno State is one of the only ones that doesn’t have a designated area for veterans,” said Luke Newlon, president of the Student Veteran Organization at Fresno State.

“San Diego has a whole building for veterans. We don’t even have an office that we can go to, gather, have meetings or put out information,” Newlon added.

Newlon explained that the Student Veterans Organization is one of the few things at Fresno State tailored to veterans’ needs.

“We’re here to serve the veterans on campus,” Newlon said. “We want to give assistance in finding out what’s available, as well as helping to ensure the smooth transition from military to student life.”

The veterans service coordinator Robyn Gutierrez agreed that a resource center would be beneficial for the veterans on campus.

“Several campuses in California have veteran centers for their students,” Gutierrez said. “The students would like to have a place to meet other veterans. They want a place so they don’t have to go off campus for counseling.

“California State University, Sacramento and University of California, San Diego both have resource centers where they have people to aid their veteran students,” she continued. “The veterans want a place where they can identify with one another, go in, hang out, have coffee and do school work. There is nothing on campus that’s solely for veterans.”

Anthony Graves, the sergeant at arms for Omega Delta Sigma (National Veterans Fraternity Inc. at Fresno State), explained the benefits that he receives from Fresno State.

“We get priority registration starting our second semester,” Graves said. “We get some fee deferments because of the GI bill, and decreased GPA requirements for some classes. Other than that, there isn’t much that we get.”

Gutierrez noted that funding was a major issue in getting veterans more benefits from Fresno State.

“There is not really that many services specifically targeted toward veterans,” Gutierrez said. “But we are working on it, and we’d like it to happen, we just don’t have the funding.”

Graves explained that in addition to the lounge, what he really wanted to see for veterans was recognition.

“Omega Delta Sigma wants to raise veteran awareness more than anything,” Graves said. “There are a lot of men and women at Fresno State who have really done some amazing things. There are heroes walking among us. We sign up and give everything to our country. That’s the message we really want to get out.”

Omega Delta Sigma is not the only ones pushing for more awareness. The Student Veteran Organization is also pushing to get the fountain renovated and rededicated.

“We want this year’s Veterans Day celebration to be the biggest and the best yet,” Newlon said. “Last year’s class left a gift to get the fountain renovated. And since it’s a fountain dedicated to the veterans, we want to plan our celebration around the same day.”

The fountain was originally dedicated in 1961, Graves explained.

“A lot of people don’t know that the fountain is a World War II veterans memorial that was dedicated by the class of 1961’s Korean War veterans,” Graves said. “We want to get the fountain rededicated so that people know why it’s there.

“Multiple generations of student veterans have given much more than we have, and it’s up to us to see that those people are recognized,” Graves added.

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