March 3, 2020
Contact: Sara Diedrich, 573-882-3243, diedrichs@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Student veterans at the University of Missouri value strong relationships with their faculty.

“The better the relationship created between veterans and those within the education environment, the greater the results will be in overcoming challenges as a school community,” said Marissa Price, a Marine and student at the MU School of Law.

That’s where Green Zone training comes in.

Green Zone training is for faculty and staff that wish to learn more about the veteran student experience. Its goals are to help members of the campus community understand the issues and concerns facing student veterans and to identify ways to support them.

MU’s Green Zone training will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, March 9, in the Memorial Union, Room N-201-C.  Sign up for Green Zone training here:  https://missouri.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0CeeVDPbIZhcA3b.

Student veterans speak at Memorial Tower on the University of Missouri Campus for a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Veterans Day. A panel of student veterans will participate a training on Monday, March 9, to help the community better understand the issues facing veterans on campus.

Student veterans speak at Memorial Tower on the University of Missouri Campus for a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Veterans Day. A panel of student veterans will participate a training on Monday, March 9, to help the community better understand the issues facing veterans on campus.

Students are invited to attend a similar training session - Veterans 101 - hosted by the Mizzou Student Veteran Association at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at The Shack in the Student Center. The session includes a panel discussion with Student Veterans on the challenges, issues and rewards they experience on campus. Afterwards, a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) will be served.

Alexandria Lewis, an assistant teaching professor in the MU School of Social Work, has experienced firsthand the importance of learning more about the student veterans in her classroom.

“I attended Green Zone training a few years ago,” Lewis said. “Learning about the military cultural experiences of the students we teach enhances our ability to design and facilitate inclusive and diverse instruction for students.”

The training features a panel discussion with a diverse group of student veterans, as well as an overview of military benefits, culture and coverage of military-related topics.

Price said the training format allows for open discussions that benefit faculty and staff that attend.

“There is no better way to understand veterans, their unique barriers to learning, and overall the resources vets can bring to the classroom than to hear from veterans themselves,” Price said. “Green Zone training provides a unique environment for direct and honest sharing of information that faculty won’t likely see in other community events.”

There are nearly 900 MU students that are either veterans, active duty personnel, National Guard members, reservists, ROTC cadets or family members receiving GI Bill benefits currently. In addition to this number, about 500 MU faculty and staff members identify as military veterans.

With veteran student success as his main goal, Robert Ross established MU’s Green Zone training last year. Ross is director of the MU Student Veterans Resource & Support Center.

“While Green Zone training targets faculty and staff, it benefits students by promoting better understanding of barriers and challenges they face as they navigate the campus environment,” Ross said. “We believe that an informed faculty and staff are better equipped to contribute to student success.”

Ross said events such as Green Zone training can help student veterans feel more accepted on campus.

“Unfortunately, there are far too many uninformed stereotypes about military service members and veterans,” Ross said. “Building mutually beneficial relationships goes a long way toward addressing those stereotypes and humanizing service members and veterans.”

Faculty members who have attended Green Zone training, like Anthony Lupo, a professor of atmospheric science in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, said the experience was eye-opening.

“It was surprising to learn how many veterans we have across campus, and how common these issues are,” Lupo said. “I would encourage other faculty to do it.”

Green Zone training is affiliated with the Mizzou Student Veterans Association, MU Campus Activities and MU Student Veterans Resource & Support Center.

Mizzou a top choice for veterans

MU was recently named by College Factual as one of the nation’s best universities for veterans. Additionally, earlier this year MU was designated a Purple Heart University in recognition of the university’s support of military members, including veterans and their families.

The MU Student Veterans Resource & Support Center, located in the basement of the Memorial Union, recently expanded to include space for student veterans to socialize, study and connect with resources as they transition from the military to academia. The MU Veterans Clinic, located in the MU School of Law, is staffed by law students and overseen by professional lawyers who specialize in navigating the VA benefits system for veterans. Last year, the Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center opened inside the MU Veterans Clinic. The program is a partnership between the MU Veterans Clinic and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital and is designed to make accessing health resources easier for student veterans, faculty, staff and their families.