Faculty and staff invited to attend workshops on military-connected student experience

In addition to her role as professor of biochemistry at Purdue, Sandra Rossie regularly meets with undergraduates to discuss their professional aspirations and career readiness. During these meetings, Rossie encourages students to think hard about what they want to do after they graduate, while making sure they’re getting extracurricular experiences that will help them attain their goals.

But when Rossie became an advisor to two students affiliated with the military—one a veteran and one a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)—she thought it might be a good idea to broaden her knowledge of the military student experience.

She signed up for Green Zone training, which provides participants with the understanding and tools necessary to better serve the roughly 400 veteran and military students on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. A nod to the heavily fortified zone in the center of Baghdad, Iraq, “Green Zone” refers to a location recognized by veterans as a safe place, and Purdue faculty and staff are invited to participate in several upcoming sessions. 

Jamie Richards, who initiated and has been presenting the training at Purdue since August of 2013, says the sessions help participants understand the unique challenges veteran and military students face; for example, navigating earned benefits across multiple agencies, transitioning from the military to a campus environment, and adapting to Purdue culture as nontraditional students.

“We also cover some of the basic communication dos and don’ts, such as why it’s important to let veterans share their experiences instead of probing them for information that might be difficult for them to discuss,” says Richards, director of the Veterans Success Center and coordinator for Veteran and Military Student Programs. “But the intent of the training is really to create a culture of support.”

Rossie says she tries to take advantage of workshops and other resources that can make her a better advisor to her undergraduate students, and the Green Zone training didn’t disappoint in that regard.

“I remember when I got an advisee who was a veteran, I tried to let him know about veteran resources on campus, but I wasn’t as knowledgeable then as I am now,” Rossie says. “Now that I’ve gone through the training, I can point students to specific resources in a more informed manner. I also have a much broader perspective on the experiences of these students, as well a better understanding of some of the characteristics that differentiate them from traditional undergraduates.”

One of the most important things Rossie learned from Green Zone training is that not all courses may be covered by GI benefits.

“Now, after Green Zone training, I plan to have that specific conversation with any new advisee who has these benefits to make sure they are in the habit of checking with the Veterans Success Center for all benefit issues in regard to curriculum choices.”

Faculty and staff who are interested in participating in the two-hour workshop may sign up for any of the following sessions:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 15: 2-4 p.m. in STON 217
  • Tuesday, April 18: 9-11 a.m. in LYLE 1150

The training is free, but registration is required. Individuals may register here.

All those who complete the session will receive a magnetic badge they can display in their work area to signify they are trained members of the Green Zone.

Individuals who would like to participate in Green Zone training but are unable to attend the scheduled sessions may contact Jamie Richards to schedule future offerings. Staff and faculty may also visit the Veterans Success Center (part of Student Success at Purdue), located in the Purdue Memorial Union, Room 284.

Writer: Andrea Thomas, Communications Director for Student Success at Purdue, 765-496-3754, thomas78@purdue.edu

Last updated: Jan. 26, 2017

Veterans Success Center, PMU 284/286, 101 N. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7638, dogtags@purdue.edu

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