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Grant to help APSU continue "Green Zone" program for veteran students

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Aurora Foundation, a national non-profit that helps veterans earn a college education, recently awarded Austin Peay State University with a $5,000 grant to continue its Green Zone Program. The University’s Military Student Center began the Green Zone initiative in July to train APSU faculty and staff on the issues facing veteran and military-affiliated students.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Aurora Foundation, a national non-profit that helps veterans earn a college education, recently awarded Austin Peay State University with a $5,000 grant to continue its Green Zone Program. The University’s Military Student Center began the Green Zone initiative in July to train APSU faculty and staff on the issues facing veteran and military-affiliated students.

“We wanted our school to not only be military friendly; we wanted to go to the next step to make sure as many faculty and staff are properly trained,” Jasmin Linares, APSU Military Student Center coordinator, said. “In the training, we talk about the veteran student’s challenges and their leadership abilities and skills. We talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and what does that look like in the classroom.”

Since the program began, more than 117 APSU faculty and staff have participated in the training. Once an individual receives the training, they display a “Green Zone” sign outside his or her office. This allows a veteran student to know that professor or staff member is someone they can go to for support.

“When the staff and faculty finish the training, they’re not subject matter experts, but they are a friendly ear to listen to our military-affiliated students and help them connect with resources on campus or off campus,” Linares said.

Last February, Linares attended a national conference on veteran college students and learned about the Virginia-based Aurora Foundation. She heard the organization provided funding for projects like APSU’s Green Zone Initiative, so she went to work applying for a grant. In November, after the program’s first successful semester at APSU, she learned the Foundation was giving Austin Peay $5,000.

“This funding will help create a Green Zone training program on APSU’s campus, which will facilitate a deeper knowledge of student veterans amongst APSU’s staff,” Thomas DeWitt, president of the Aurora Foundation, said. “With an increasingly informed faculty, the student veterans of Austin Peay State have a greater opportunity to succeed, both in and out of the classroom.”

Austin Peay is the 20th university to receive an Aurora grant. The foundation has helped more than 20,000 student veterans over the years. Linares said the grant will allow them to expand the Green Zone program at the Clarksville and Fort Campbell campuses, and to build awareness among student veterans that the Green Zones exist.

For more information, contact Linares at linaresj@apsu.edu.

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