Student Veterans Seek Official Club Status
It always struck Casey DiPanfilo ’17 as odd that Merrimack College, an educational institution founded to serve returning soldiers from World War II, doesn’t have a formal student group for veterans.
So, the retired Air Force veteran has taken matters into his own hands and begun the process of forming an officially recognized Veterans Club on campus.
DiPanfilo, a business management major from North Reading, Massachusetts, said he envisions a place where veterans can meet to build camaraderie and share information. For example, DiPanfilo said he only recently learned, from fellow veterans on campus, that Massachusetts administers a Welcome Home bonus program for veterans of the global war on terrorism.
“I really just want to create a platform for us to get together,” said DiPanfilo, who will complete his undergraduate education in December before embarking on a career in logistics. “We’re a small school, and the veterans are an even smaller population of students.”
A handful of veterans already meet informally on campus, DiPanfilo said, but they do not have official club status, which would make them eligible for college funding and meeting space. To gain official recognition, the group must enlist at least 10 members, who may be veterans, dependents of veterans or supporters of veterans.
DiPanfilo, who served in the Air Force from 2012 to 2016, said he is working with the Office of Student Involvement to establish the club in time for fall semester, when Merrimack begins its 70th anniversary year.
“I think this is very important,” said Allison Gill, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “These students have unique experiences in their lives; we want to foster success for them and be there to provide resources for them.”
Once the group is officially recognized, it will begin marketing itself on campus and try to build membership.
For more information, contact DiPanfilo at firstname.lastname@example.org.