Four years ago, the Veterans Resource Center opened on Wick Avenue to provide services for Youngstown State University’s student veterans and a place to go while they are on campus.
The two-floor, 6,000-square-foot building was rededicated and renamed after Carl A. Nunziato, who along with Harry Meshel and Bernie Kosar Sr., had the idea to raise money to build the center. The money came from multiple groups, organizations and donations.
Rick Williams, manager of YSU Veterans Affairs, runs the center along with a staff.
“[Carl Nunziato, Harry Meshel and Bernie Kosar Sr.], along with prior YSU Veterans Office Coordinator, Jim Olive, met with then-president David Sweet in 2009 to discuss the initiative and a campaign cabinet was formed,” Williams said.
Within the next few years, discussions were held about where the Veterans Resource Center would be located. The current location on Wick Avenue, the former Peck House, was agreed upon and the ground was broken under former YSU President Randy Dunn. The official grand opening occurred under YSU President Jim Tressel in 2014.
The building includes a student lounge, community room, restrooms, computer labs kitchenette and vending stocked with snacks donated by families in the area.
Student veterans also like to give back to the community by volunteering in different places in the Youngstown area.
Arena Kittle, a freshman psychology major, works at the resource center and volunteers in her free time.
“We have activities like I’m going down to a church to help serve food,” Kittle said. “It’s nice, quiet and I work here. Everyone is so kind.”
The center provides services such as the waiving of application and orientation fees, priority registration, veterans-only classes, military-friendly deployment policies and more.
“I’m proud to say that I have had several student veterans tell me that they would not have made it through college without the center,” Williams said.
Randall Gillum, a sophomore nursing major, also works in the center.
“The center gives us our own private area to study,” Gillum said.
The center also offers VA counselors who come to the center for any student veteran who needs that service. While the center does not employ counselors, they do have counselors from the Cleveland Veteran Center who can be there for a student veteran by the next day.
Cindy Finney, a sophomore social work major, utilizes the computer lab with free printing.
“It’s quiet in here, which is nice for those of us who have [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and we help each other out,” Finney said. “The people upstairs really go above and beyond for us.”
Ethan Hvostal, a junior electrical engineering major, comes to the center to do homework but also works there.
“It’s very private here with great computers and free Wi-Fi,” Hvostal said. “We get a lot of support and it’s a very healthy environment.”