The President’s Commission for Veteran and Military Affairs at Slippery Rock University has new initiatives to go into effect for military students and student veterans. There are over 100 students at SRU who identify as veterans as well as close to 350 military-affiliated students who are members of the reserves, active duty military, ROTC cadets or dependents of military families. The commission and their plans are to support these respective groups.
The President’s Commission for Veteran and Military Affairs is a new commission and behaves like the other presidential commissions, but advocates for veterans and military members and their families.
Alumni member and veteran Shelby Kemery said that this commission was formed last spring and was incorporated by then interim University President Dr. Philip Way.
“It was created as a way for the university to take an additional step into helping the lives of veterans and their families who are trying to reach their educational goals,” Kemery said.
Catherine Massey, professor of psychology and co-chair of the commission, said that there is a lot to expect in the future because of their recent approval as an official commission of the president.
“We have a very active commission already and we have set up subcommittees to continue building and also creating policies that affect the veterans and military students,” Massey said.
Massey said that she was a former military member herself, serving in the U.S. Air Force and also assisting with committees previously at SRU that have helped support veterans and the military. She also said that the commission is currently comprised of 20 people. This includes students, staff, faculty, administrators and former students like Kemery.
“The commission is still affecting me, because even though I am now an alumni, I can still serve in helping veterans on campus, which should be a goal for everyone on the commission,” Kemery said.
Massey said that students in the military and ones who have served have issues that no one else can really relate to, and that is why she feels that it is important for the commission to help in any way that they can.
She said that some of the plans to better focus on the veterans and military-related students is to make changes to the classroom attendance policy for students called for active duty or other military obligations. She also said that they are looking to relocate the Medal of Honor Room, currently situated in North Hall, and bringing back “Green Zone” training.
“Green Zone training is designed for faculty and staff to receive training about issues potentially facing active service members, student veterans and their families,” Massey said.
Massey said that there is still plenty of work to be done, but that the commission is taking a step in the right direction with all of the dedicated members.