USA House opens as a new home for military and veteran students


Gracie Wilson

The last house on fraternity circle is home to a new living learning community this year.

Gracie Wilson, Collegian Managing Editor

The last house on fraternity circle no longer sits empty as it welcomes new company for the fall 2021 semester. The USA House is now open to veteran students and military dependent students.

“What a lot of our service members nationwide are saying is ‘I want that college experience. I want real college experience,’ and there’s nothing more real about the college experience than that residential life,” Randy Spade, Director of Military and Veteran Services at Ashland University said.

The house is not a new fixture on campus, but has been vacant since the closing of the CASA House almost two years ago. Prior to that, it belonged to the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

Renovations began at the end of spring 2021 semester to prepare for students to move in this fall.

“We are spearheading a complete renovation of the USA House from paint to furniture,” Nathan Vacha, Ashland University Student and US Marine Corps Rifleman said. “It’s all donor based which is fantastic because it just goes to show there’s definitely a unity within the military community here on campus for creating a great space.”

The new housing will add something different to the Ashland University campus than the living learning communities that exist currently such as housing for students in the Honors Program, Ashbrook Program and Greek Life.

“Truly, it’s the students and the groups of students that come together that really make AU what it is, so when you see the USA House in the fall and you walk by it and see the work that’s being done there, it’s a constant improvement,” Vacha said. “We’re always working at making the house better which is something I think AU would pride itself in as well.”

The house is an addition to the military and veteran resources that are becoming more available to students on campus such as the Jack W. Liebert Military and Veteran Resource Center that opened in the Fall 2020 semester.

Spade said the new center has made a difference on campus by providing military connected students a place to gather together in a relaxed setting, and the house aims to duplicate those qualities.

This unique experience of serving the country unites AU’s military and veteran students, and now the USA house will allow them to connect socially and academically as well.

“I’m currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserves and to me, the weight of my service has a lot to do with why I’m studying in the first place,” Vacha said. “It’s not so much a balancing act, more so it’s, to me, working in harmony with learning and bettering myself while bettering others.”

The Military and Veteran Resource Center, along with the AU community, are excited to welcome these students into their own space where they can share their own unique experiences.

While the house is home to the military and veteran students of Eagle Nation, they are more than happy to welcome guests who want to see the new renovations or chat about what the Military and Veteran Service Center can do for students.

“The house is open to anyone,” Vacha said. “There’s no secret handshake or password to get in the house. If you know a friend or know someone that’s living in the house, come on in.”