Belmont University dedicated the newly created Bruin Vets Center (BVC) at a ceremony yesterday afternoon. Located in Fidelity Hall, the BVC is a result of Belmont’s recent space reallocation process, a campus-wide initiative that encouraged all members of the Belmont community to request the use of available space across campus.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “The Bruin Vets Center represents our deep appreciation for student veterans’ service to our country and our commitment to creating an environment in which they can study and commune with one another. This dedicated veterans space resulted from a collaborative decision making process we began last fall, through which we invited the campus community to submit proposals on how to best use vacant spaces on campus. Driven by student leadership, more than 50 thoughtful ideas were submitted and shared online, each of which was discussed in depth by our senior leadership team and also reviewed by our Student Government Association. We are grateful to all who participated in this process and excited about the ways Belmont student veterans will benefit from this space.”
The opening ceremony included remarks from Belmont’s Provost Dr. Thomas Burns, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Many-Bears Grinder and Belmont student veteran Jonathan League. The event concluded with an original performance by Jason Earley, a Belmont songwriting major. Earley recently participated in Operation Song, a songwriting retreat where veterans and songwriters collaborate to create songs that feature veterans’ stories.
League spoke on behalf of Bruin Vets, Belmont’s student veteran organization and the entirety of the institution’s student veteran population saying, “We are grateful for the opportunity to have a place set aside for us. It’s a place of study, of community and meeting for Bruin Vets. We love Belmont as an institution and also because of the nurturing we experience at this special place.”
Belmont’s Veteran Success initiative, led by Associate Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education Dr. Mimi Barnard, facilitates veteran support services and is also housed in Fidelity Hall. Veteran Success initiative staff work with Belmont offices from across the institution to provide opportunities for community building, academic success and career preparation. Additionally, staff assist by coordinating programming opportunities for student veterans with community partners.
“The Bruin Vets Center provides space for student veterans to study, enjoy time together and meet with community partners. We’re thrilled to be able to bring together the good will and good work of Belmont staff and faculty to support student veterans and also to have a special place provided by the institution for student veterans,” Barnard said. “We’re excited to see their development and success and also see how our student veteran enrollment continues to grow.”
The initiative has contributed to significant growth at the university among students using veteran education benefits. Last year, Belmont had 217 veterans and dependents, 103 of which were student veterans. This fall, Belmont welcomed 265 veteran and dependents, 130 of which are student veterans.