Arkansas Tech University continues to raise the bar in its outreach to active duty personnel, veterans and their families from the United States armed services.
Through its Office of Veteran Services, ATU assisted more than 450 students seeking military-related benefits during the fall 2016 semester alone.
In an effort to take service for that population to another level, the ATU Office of Veteran Services is developing a new Green Zone project. The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in Arkansas, will provide faculty and staff with training that will better prepare them to serve the needs of military-affiliated students.
“We strive to serve our students as effectively as possible,” said Marsha Oels, coordinator of veteran services at Arkansas Tech. “Doing research and learning more about this program has been exciting because of its potential impact. Programs such as this will not only be of great assistance to our military-affiliated students but to our entire campus community.”
Graduate assistant Alan Parsons is assisting in the development of Green Zone training at ATU. He has reached out to colleagues at East Carolina University, the University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Memphis to learn more about similar efforts on their campuses.
Parsons also traveled to a conference Feb. 9-11 in Washington, D.C., that allowed him to learn more and gather additional Green Zone resources.
Oels, Parsons and fellow ATU Office of Veteran Services staff member Shelly Hall continued their development of the program in March by attending a Green Zone campus training at UT-Dallas.
Next steps will include training a small core group of identified faculty and staff members at ATU who can serve as trainers when Green Zone is fully active on campus in fall 2017.
Grant funding has played a key role in allowing Office of Veteran Services staff members to pursue the Green Zone program. Through the efforts of ATU alumnus and Hall of Distinction member Gen. Bill Harmon, the ATU Foundation received a $1,000 grant from an anonymous foundation to help offset the cost of conference attendance.