Former 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, retired Col. Michael Hornitschek, talks at the grand opening of the new Student Union at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 2, 2012. The idea for a Student Union, the first in Air Mobility Command, came as a way to support and reinforce the ideas found in the Comprehensive Airman Fitness philosophy, and was championed by Hornitschek. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
Col. David Almand, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, tours the reconstructed Consolidated Education, Testing and Training Center and Student Union after the grand opening at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 2, 2012. The Educational Center was reconstructed to provide three more classrooms and a cafe that will open in mid-August. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
Retired Col. Michael Hornitschek, Maj. Russell Callaway, Col. David Almand, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, and Tech. Sgt. Shena Hayes cut the ribbon to the new Consolidated Education, Testing and Training Center and Student Union signifying the grand opening at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 2, 2012. Some of the new capabilities of the facility include a classroom that can hold 60 people, being able to control the heating and air conditioning system in house and three additional classrooms. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade)
by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
7/3/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Scott Air Force Base opened its new Student Union July 2, marking the beginning of a new era for the area that houses the Education Center and Airman and Family Readiness complex.
Crowning the new indoor/outdoor area is a vibrant, 357-colored tile clay mural of the base's history created by Claudia Gullett, a local 14-year career artist and military wife. Her brothers Oscar and Gerado Olmedo also helped assemble the artwork.
"The mural is a part of Scott now and when members look at it they will feel like they belong here and hopefully remember it forever," said Gullett.
The mural is located in the outdoor patio area that is available for Team Scott members and students to use for recreational activities and studying. Then in mid-August, the 375th Force Support Squadron plans to open a café providing healthy food options for students and base personnel, as well as having another area in which to use for events.
For example, the first event planned at the Student Union is a free concert from members of the Band of Mid-America July 18, followed by an open mic night July 28. A new Facebook page has been created for events and activities associated with the Student Union, which can be found at: Scott AFB Student Union.
The events and future of the Student Union will be run through a new organization on base called the "Student Union," led by Tech. Sgt. Shena Hayes. Other members on the board include: Master Sgt. Christopher Dunstone, vice president; Airman 1st Class Kyrylo Verbytskyy secretary; Senior Airman William Mueller, treasurer; and Cheryl Kennedy, event coordinator.
"The Student Union project is important because it's a population that didn't have representation before," said Hayes.
"I am a student and I know balancing a military lifestyle and school can become overwhelming and cause people to feel disconnected at times. The union will help students by providing a support system with people who are going through the same experience. It also supports the resiliency concept that Air Force is promoting, she said."
This team will help inform students on base of education opportunities and create events in the new space.
The idea for a Student Union, the first in Air Mobility Command, came as a way to support and reinforce the ideas found in the Comprehensive Airman Fitness philosophy, and was championed by former wing commander, Col. Michael Hornitschek, who was also on hand to assist in the official ribbon cutting. He also inaugurated use of the area by holding his retirement ceremony shortly afterward.
"Through CAF, we build resiliency in our people to face challenges while serving in military career," said Hornitschek. "The Five C's, 'Care, Commit, Communicate, Celebrate and Connect,' are the software of the CAF philosophy, but a place to bring people together is also important, which was the goal behind the Consolidated Education, Training, and Testing Center and Student Union project."
With the help of River City Construction and the 375th Mission Support Group, the vision for improving the Education Center facilities and adding a Student Union came to life.
The Education and Training Center consolidates all the educational testing on the base, and soon, the resources as well.
According to Michelle Marinelli, Education and Training Specialist, the Weighted Airman Promotion System testing and volunteer testing programs will now be located under one roof. WAPS testing functional management transferred to the Education and Training Center in 2008. However, lack of suitable space prevented immediate program collocation on Scott.
"We now have a classroom that can hold 60 people, can control the heating and air conditioning system in house and have three additional classrooms in the new center," she said. The new testing rooms also offer the potential to add up to three additional academic courses per term, through joint utilization with on-base colleges and universities."
The new space will also support expansion of existing programs, as well as the new Master of Business Administration Program, to be offered by Maryville University of St. Louis on base. In addition to the new testing are plans for the Library to move to the new consolidated area as well.
For more information, contact Marinelli at 256-2401 or LaDonna Livingston at 256-2704. Student Union meetings are held the fourth Thursday of every month at 9 a.m.