In the first steps of fundraising for a new veterans resource center, the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association is planning a gala that could bring actor Bradley Cooper (CAS ’97), who has engaged in veterans advocacy in the past, to campus.
The gala will be part of a larger fundraising plan for a new resource center, which GUSVA said is sorely needed for the university’s 500 veterans.
GUSVA is reaching out to alumni ahead of the gala, including Cooper, who participated in Michelle Obama’s “Got Your Six” campaign that helps veterans readjust to civilian life.
Spread across the undergraduate and graduate schools as well as the School of Continuing Studies, veterans sometimes lack the resources to create a sense of community. Thirty of the university’s 500 veterans are undergraduates, and three live on campus.
“That fact kind of exemplifies the untraditional nature of being a veteran student or a veteran-type family. They have obligations your day-to-day student wouldn’t have,” GUSVA President Zach Zimmerman (MSB ’14) said. “A veterans resource center would have a positive impact for a veteran in the School of Continuing Studies as well as someone in the undergraduate School of Foreign Service and the MBA program and Law Center as well.”
Georgetown opened a Veterans Office with a full-time coordinator in December 2011 after extensive lobbying from GUSVA. Before GUSVA formed in 2010, resources for veterans were sorely lacking, GUSVA faculty adviser Barbara Mujica said.
GUSVA members envision the center, which would cost $1 million to launch and require continual funding, providing career, financial and academic resources to veterans, along with a meeting space to cultivate a sense of community.
“It’s important for vets to talk to other vets because the most important source of information for veterans is other veterans — veterans who’ve already been through it,” Mujica said. “That’s something that the GUSVA seeks to remedy.”
The funding GUSVA receives from the Office of the Provost is minimal, covering mainly panels and guest speakers. The gala will hopefully begin an extensive fundraising campaign to reach the $1 million goal.
“We need to raise money, and this is a first step in that direction,” Mujica said. “We’re hoping that we’ll raise maybe $40,000 to begin with, and we hope to do this every single year until we have enough money to get started.”
GUSVA treasurer Aaron Scheuerman (MSB ’14) pointed to the resource center as the logical progression of GUSVA’s recent expansion.
“I am most proud of how far GUSVA has come in a short amount of time,” he said. “Just a few years ago there were few resources for veterans on campus, but the student veterans now have a strong community and are hosting a whole weeks of events in honor of Veterans Day, have established the Veterans Living Learning Community and continually participate in many service projects in the D.C. area.”