March 25, 2016  

Did You Know?: Peer Advisors for Veterans Education program

Peer Advisors for Veterans Education

Purdue students Paul Brayton and Mckenna Fiew are student peer advisor leads in the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education program (PAVE), which started at Purdue in fall of 2015. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)
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After beginning in the fall of 2015, the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education program (PAVE) is on its way to reaching a goal of connecting with half of the incoming student veterans at Purdue.

PAVE is a peer support program that connects incoming student veterans with current Purdue student veterans. The mission of PAVE is to support student veterans during their transition to civilian and student life.

The PAVE program began as a collaboration between the University of Michigan’s Military Support Programs and Networks as well as Student Veterans of America. PAVE is now being offered at more than 40 college campuses nationwide.

The staff at Purdue’s Veterans Success Center saw the need for a program to support incoming student veterans. Once they heard about the PAVE program, they worked out arrangements to start it at Purdue.

Along with 10 peer advisors who are responsible for 48 student veterans, PAVE hosts outreach events on campus with the goal of increasing program awareness among veteran and non-veteran students.

"We've hosted a Halloween photo booth where people could dress up in bulletproof vests and helmets, and we handed out candy canes in December," says Mckenna Fiew, student peer advisor lead and daughter of an Army veteran. "We try to get our name out on campus because there are nearly 400 veterans or military-related students on campus that we want to reach, and we also want to make the general student body aware of the program."        

In addition to peer mentoring, PAVE is in the planning stage of its second annual student-led orientation program. The orientation will educate incoming student veterans about the resources offered at Purdue, such as the Purdue University Student Health Center.

"There's kind of a gap between being accepted into Purdue and the crossover into college for student veterans because we are nontraditional students," says Paul Brayton, student peer advisor lead and a Marine who retired after 20 years. "PAVE gets to help bridge that gap to a certain extent, and the new orientation program will help even more."

The Veterans Success Center is in Purdue Memorial Union, Room 284.

Writer: Aspen Deno, denoa@purdue.edu 

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