Vets helping vets

The transition to CSU — whether it be from high school, another university or years in the workforce — can often be difficult. For no group is this more true than for student veterans.

That’s why the CSU Adult Learner and Veteran Services office implemented a new Success Program, aimed at making the transitional process for student veterans less stressful and more successful, at the beginning of the 2012 fall semester.

Tom Pritchard, head of the new program and an education and human resources graduate student, explained that, while there were various resources on campus to help students transition, there weren’t any that were directly focussed on the veteran students. According to Pritchard, there needed to be a more direct resource for veterans to transition alongside students who were in the same boat.

“Transitions at any point are critical. Veterans are unique in that they have a different life experience,” Pritchard said.

The program allows veteran students to directly tell their resources what they need to be successful throughout their college experience, according to Pritchard.

In order to be sure that veteran students are in the right courses, following the right major and are on the correct academic path, the office must listen to the students’ demands and needs rather than telling them what they should or should not be doing, Pritchard said.

“The question is, ‘What kind of life do you want to create and how does your education aid that?’” said Jerome O’Leary, a student veteran in the program and human and exercise science major.

The new program is beneficial in that the students have a resource that understands exactly what they need to be successful, according to O’Leary.

“It’s obviously a program for us,” O’Leary said. “It’s for us, by us.”

Michael Roberts, the Veteran Services Program manager at University of Colorado Boulder, explained that CU Boulder has been implementing a similar program throughout the past year.

No matter what school a veteran chooses, there needs to be something in place for them to get the best help they need in order to be successful, Roberts said.

“Wherever we are, we need to be sure that this generation — that served our nation — is taken care of,” Roberts said.

Roberts explained that it is very positive to have a veteran-directed program because a lot of various factors play into the motivation, the need and the goal of the veteran students. If programs don’t pay attention to these factors, then the students aren’t going to be getting the help they need.

Collegian Writer Alex Steinmetz can be reached at news@collegian.com.