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APSU to provide Green Zone training to faculty, staff to better assist veteran students in transition

Transitioning from military life to student life can be difficult for veterans, particularly if they have recently returned home from a deployment or completed their active duty service. Unlike the structured environment of the military, universities have a variety of colleges, departments and administrative areas that can feel like a complicated maze to navigate.

Transitioning from military life to student life can be difficult for veterans, particularly if they have recently returned home from a deployment or completed their active duty service. Unlike the structured environment of the military, universities have a variety of colleges, departments and administrative areas that can feel like a complicated maze to navigate.

At Austin Peay State University, the goal is to create a more veteran-friendly university. The Green Zone program was designed to give those men and women transitioning to student life a way to recognize staff and faculty who have been trained to provide a resource and ally for student veterans and active duty service members.

Taking a cue from other major universities like Clemson University, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, which also provide Green Zone programs, Austin Peay will provide training in July and August for its faculty and staff who want to better understand the problems facing veteran students.

“After faculty and staff complete this training, they will become what we call a Green Zone Volunteer Ally, and as a student veteran coming onto campus, I will know you have received some sort of training and I’ll be in a safe zone when I talk to you,” Jasmin Linares, APSU Military Student Center coordinator, said.

Faculty and staff who complete the training will receive a Green Zone emblem that may be placed outside their office door and on their syllabus to allow veteran students to identify their participation.

Volunteers are not expected to be experts who can solve the unique problems facing veteran students; instead, they are trained to simply be supportive to those who have sacrificed for others.

“Not everyone needs to go to disability services or veterans affairs when they have an issue – sometimes, they just need someone who will listen,” Linares said. “When a veteran comes in who is missing a limb or is blind, you can see their issues, but what about people with invisible wounds, such as PTSD? How do you help with that?”

If students do have issues that require trained professional help, volunteers will be made knowledgeable of the many options and resources available to assist veterans.

For more information on Green Zone training, contact Jasmin Linares at the APSU Military Student Center at 931-221-1685, or email at msc@apsu.edu.