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 Tuesday, November 13, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Office of Veterans Affairs established to recruit and serve veteran students
By Jon Leslie, Publications and Creative Services

The newly established Office of Veterans Affairs provides expanded services for veteran students on the Boulder campus. Headed by Marine Colonel Greg Akers (retired), the office assists veterans as they adapt from military life to collegiate life, connecting and supporting them as they pursue their CU-Boulder studies. In addition, the office is working to build new strategies aimed at enhancing the university's overall recruitment of military veterans.

"Essentially, I help them transition from military life to the academic world," said Akers. "Primarily, it's a lot of on- and off-campus referrals. For example, if an individual is interested in coming to college, I'll put them in touch with the admission advisor who deals with veterans. Getting them connected with the right person is critical, and I help them through that."

Not to be confused with the financial aid-based Veterans Services Office, which assists students with the VA education benefits process, the Office of Veterans Affairs represents a broad expansion of the university's support for veteran students. In less than two months, the office is already working toward a long list of goals and objectives, including:

  • Identifying veterans on campus and communicating with them regularly
  • Serving as the primary advocate for campus veterans and service members
  • Enhancing the visibility and recognition of veterans on the Boulder campus
  • Soliciting scholarships and grants to assist veteran students
  • Developing a veteran student mentoring program
  • Building campus recruitment strategies and marketing the university to prospective veteran students
  • Establishing an informal veterans group via a listserv email
  • Serving as a liaison with local, state and federal veterans organizations
  • Advising university leadership on policy matters relevant to veterans

As part of the efforts above, Akers will soon be surveying current veteran students to gain a better understanding of what their specific needs are in terms of campus support and why they chose to attend college at CU-Boulder. The results of the survey will help him build strategies for recruitment efforts directed toward what he anticipates will be a large pool of prospective veteran students in the coming years—the result of a significant increase in the education-related government incentives for military recruits.

"I do think we will see more veterans coming to campus," Akers said, "and we need to make sure that it's a good environment for them, that we can support them when they get here and that we can set the conditions for success."

For information on mentoring a veteran student or assisting in other Office of Veterans Affairs efforts, visit www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/VA or contact the office at 303-735-3028.


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