Military veterans making the transition from serving their country to pursuing a college degree can find it difficult, particularly when they have been out of school for several years. To help ease the transition, Sacramento State provides a solid support system for veterans, active duty military personnel and their dependents.
A forthcoming example was the Veterans Diversity Awareness Conference on Nov. 1. It was sponsored by the Student Veterans Organization, Peace and Conflict International and Campus Crusade for Christ. Ancillary sponsors are the Women’s Resource Center, Pride Center and Sac State’s Army and Air Force ROTC detachments.
The genesis of this conference came from the students themselves who believe that the campus could benefit from a greater understanding of the military and the people who volunteer to serve their country. Dustin McMillan, president of the Student Veterans Organization, was instrumental in putting this program together. Veterans Success Center Director Jeff Weston says Dustin’s 20 years in the Air Force gives him a solid perspective about the rigors and rewards of military life.
The conference was open to all Sac State students, faculty and staff. Its goal is to foster discussion among the participants to generate an even greater welcoming campus experience for returning veterans and their families.
Discussion topics included military life, women in the military, educational benefits, military diversity, mental and physical health of the returning veteran and military dependents. Workshops will feature a military dependent to discuss the problems of coping with the prolonged absence of a loved one, and a social worker from Mather Veterans Affairs Hospital who will addresses the physical and psychological challenges confronting returning vets.
Guest speakers will include Rocky Chavez, undersecretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs and Barbara Ward, Deputy Secretary, Women and Minority Veterans Affairs.
Sac State’s student-veteran enrollment (1,200) is the second largest throughout the 23-campus CSU system. Female veterans on campus comprise 28 percent, which is double that of all servicewomen.