MAHWAH, N.J. – Veterans have a new place to gather on Ramapo College of New Jersey’s Mahwah campus, since the college opened its Transfer Center and Veterans Lounge this week.
“It is a pretty awesome thing that they did for us,” said Joseph Barbato, president of the school’s Veterans Student Organization. “We are very appreciative of it and we are going to respect the space.”
The spot has couches, a coffee bar, a meeting table, computers and a charging station. It is designed to be a central location where veteran and transfer students can access resources, and will be staffed by employees who work with them. The lounge is between the offices of academic advising and financial aid, two of the offices students utilize most.
“We believe this will support Ramapo to continue to deliver on our promise of providing individualized attention to increase student success,” said Christopher Romano, Ramapo’s vice president for enrollment management and student affairs.
Barbato, an Army veteran and current member of the Army National Guard, called the college “very veteran friendly.”
“A lot of us are using the G.I. bill, and a lot haven’t gone to school before, so they make the transition very easy for us,” said Barbato, who grew up in the Haskell section of Wanaque and graduated from DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne.
He is studying social work, and hopes to focus on veterans or children.
“People don’t usually think that veterans want to be social workers, but it is something that I feel passionately about. I like to help people,” he said.
Nearly all of the college’s veteran students are transfer students, and about 40 percent of undergrads at the college are transfer students, according to the college.
“These students often bring with them to campus distinctive perspectives and experiences that enrich both classroom discussions and campus programming,” Ramapo College President Peter P. Mercer said. “Dedicating a space on campus for them is a point of pride for all of us at the college.”
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