Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Green Zone"

My co-worker and I recently had the opportunity to make the trip up to Eastern Carolina University to attend their “Green Zone” training alongside representatives from other public 4-year and 2-year schools in the state. The intention is to encourage each institution to adapt the training to their own schools’ needs and implement at the earliest convenience.

So- What is Green Zone?
Green Zone training was created by the Student Veteran Services office at ECU to provide staff, faculty and students a strong foundation for understanding and serving military affiliated students. Being a military spouse myself, I understand the unique challenges of living the military life and dealing with the good and the bad that comes along with it. 

Schools across the country are facing an influx of military affiliated students as armed conflict comes to an end and each branch faces drawbacks and a reduction in force. North Carolina has the third largest concentration of veterans in the country (750K). The incoming class each year at UNCW has been consistently 20% military affiliated the last few years and we anticipate that number to grow. While we have many policies in place that make us a military-friendly institution, providing staff and faculty training is the next big step in continuing to provide the best service and fostering the success of military affiliated students across our campuses. 

The training included: military terminology, the military experience, the emotional cycle of deployment, suicide prevention, transitioning from military to academic life, PTSD/TBI, institution specific services, what veterans want us to know, how to welcome vets to campus, privacy, and what we can do as staff and faculty to support these students. While we had two presenters guiding us through the material, the main focus came from the panel of current ECU students with varying experiences in the military (active duty, National Guard, Army, Marine Corps, spouse, deployments, no deployments, medically separated, etc.). 

After our training we had the opportunity to have a round table discussion about issues and triumphs at our own institutions and were given a tour of the new Student Veterans Services office on their campus. The staff and faculty that work most closely with military affiliated students on campuses across the state were able to take away great information and ideas to better serve this student population and it is a testament to the fact that our schools are dedicated to Serving those Who Serve. 

Amanda Parkstone
Transfer Admissions Coordinator

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