When I started college in 2008, not even back a year from Iraq, the process was a little difficult to manage. My school offered GI Bill paperwork support but not much when it came to how to navigate the various offices on campus. There didn’t seem to be a Veterans group, and I bounced from one class to the next, hoping everything was lined up right.
Luckily, campuses across the country have begun to realize the significance of Veteran support on campus, and many have taken action to bolster recruitment efforts, break ground on dedicated support centers, and offer streamline services across various administrative offices.
But one component is often missing: a connection between student Veterans and the faculty there to educate them.
At Georgetown University, the recently launched Vet Ally pilot program brought professors, administrators, and other staff together with student Veterans for a seminar on the strengths and challenges that student Veterans face. And to get more acquainted with military culture, student Veterans offered insights into their experiences. From Stars & Stripes:
The format and topics were based off similar events popping up across the country in recent months. David Shearman, coordinator of the school’s veterans office, said the number of current and former military members on campus has jumped in recent years from a few dozen to more than 500.
“The professors know stuff on how to deal with veterans day to day, help them with basic issues that come up in class,” he said.
“But they don’t always know why students joined the military, what serving overseas really means, what they mean when they talk about a FOB.”
There’s a lot of talk on the gap between civilians and Veterans, and as Vets increasingly choose college as their first point of reintegration, it’s becoming even more important to get faculty and fellow students on the same page to help propel Veterans into the next stage of their lives.