Veteran Symposium to discuss strength of student veterans

Ravyn Cullor

A past year of the Veterans Symposium on campus. (Oct. 30, 2014 | CTV News) 

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The biennial Colorado State University Veterans Symposium, returning on Sep. 7, will focus on leadership and the value of veterans on campus and in the community.

The symposium will host speakers and breakout sessions covering the value of “the current generation of veterans,” as students, employees and leaders, and will be located in Canvas Stadium.

“The goal is to promote the value of this generation of veterans on campus, in the classrooms, to employers and to community members,” said Marc Barker, director of Adult Learner and Veteran Services for CSU. “They’re leaders; they bring a perspective to the classroom … unlike any other student.”

The event will feature talks by Chief of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Experience Betty Moseley Brown, CSU alumnus Lt. Gen. James Dickinson and Jared Lyon, President and CEO of Student Veterans of America.

After the Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 was passed, there was an influx of veterans in higher education, Barker said. Programs for student veterans at the time were often built around the resources necessary to educate them and the support they will need.

The goal is to promote the value of this generation of veterans on campus, in the classrooms, to employers and to community members,” -Marc Barker, director of Adult Learner and Veteran Services for CSU

“Unfortunately the narrative around how to serve student veterans at that time was all from a deficit-based model,” Barker said. “We were talking about the strain on resources and about PTSD and all of the negative things we were going to have to see and do to prepare for this influx of student veterans.”

In 2014 the ALVS realized that they were not having to grapple with those problems and launched the Veterans Symposium as part of what Barker calls their values-based model, meaning they structure resources and services available to student veterans around strengths.

“We have incredible services for those who do need help,” said Maggie Walsh, assistant chief of staff and director of veteran initiatives  “But we … are focusing on the positives and strengths (of our student veterans).”

Walsh and Barker said the value-based model is the reason that CSU is listed as the number seven best school for student veterans by Military Times.

“This symposium is just another example of CSU valuing the student veterans,” said Walsh. “We really are a national leader in what we do here with our veterans.”

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Participants must register online before Wednesday, according to the symposium’s website. CSU students and staff get in for free, admission for the general public is $25.

Collegian reporter Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @RCullor99.