A new resource center at Academy of Art University was proudly christened at 79 New Montgomery Rd in San Francisco, California, on February 15, 2018. The goal of the new center is to improve employment outcomes for returning military service members and provide them with a space unique for their needs. “With a student population of nearly 800 students, the Academy recognized the need for a safe space for student veterans.” The building is equipped with desks for studying, or couches and televisions for simply taking a break. The center was built in effort to show support and appreciation for the men and women who have served our country, and who now want to start a career in art and design.
Academy of Art University and many other universities have declared support for President Barack Obama’s 8 keys to success initiative, which outlines steps to support veterans on campus. The new resource center encompasses all 8 keys in its development. Number four of the eight keys states, “Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all Veterans, together with the creation of a designated space.” It creates the culture of connectedness by having support from the ever-present and friendly resource staff, specifically Chrystal Beamon, the Student Services Coordinator. At the Disabled American Veterans Convention in Florida, President Obama stated, “…Let’s help our veterans get that degree, get that credential, and compete for the high-skilled jobs of tomorrow.” The development of the resource center is an innovative step to help our veterans achieve this goal.
From ‘Call to Arms’ to a Call to Art
Ryan Baily and Lodhi Sikander were two of close to eighty veterans present at the soft launch of Academy of Art’s new resource center. Ryan is a young college freshman from California. He spent time stationed both in Hawaii and Georgia during his six years of service in the military. Currently, his area of expertise is information technology, mostly working with computer systems. But, Ryan’s dream is to create real-to-life documentaries, specifically about life in the military. “I always knew I had a passion for creativity,” he states. “…To be able to project my military experience on film is my ultimate goal. I had to come out here by faith, and I know this is where I was meant to be.”
Lodhi Sikander was born and raised in Pakistan. He began his military career at age 35 and spent 9 years migrating between army bases in Oklahoma and Texas. After traveling to America, he began work in real estate and hospitality – his fifth career. During his last few years serving in the military, he had the chance to experiment with a camera. It was then that he discovered his passion for photography. Currently, his interests are fashion journalism and photography.
The two veterans met during the launch and became quick acquaintances over cups of coffee in the center’s new comfortable lounge. Despite different backgrounds, they share a common interest: pursuing an art and design degree at Academy of Art University.
Steps for Success
Academy of Art University is dedicated to helping the military succeed. A representative is available any time to answer questions or help with the application process. To show gratitude and respect for veterans of our country, the school will waive the college application fee. There are several options to assist those in need of financial assistance. Military financial assistance is available through the forever GI bill (FGIB) website. Financial aid representatives can assist you in applying for aid and benefits. Military scholarships through Academy of Art University are also available to those who qualify.
A list of artistic departments, degrees, and majors are also listed for more specific information about each program. Some areas of interest that Academy of Art offers are photography, graphic design, fashion, game development, architecture, acting, and film/digital media. Your student services coordinator, located in the veteran’s center, can assist you in finding more academic information about your area of interest.
Several resources are available to veterans and active military, including career services to assist in career planning. Support service links are listed under the military assistance page of the AAU website.
Veterans can find assistance with employment, financial counseling and even parenting. Health and mental health services are also an included support service. Military Health System gives health information to military personnel and families, as well as offers insurance information. The Veterans Crisis Line connects you with a live person, either via phone or live chat, to offer you help and support in time of need.