Veterans Ally Program Holds Pilot Seminar
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 14:02
The Georgetown University Veterans Ally Program aimed to educate the university community about student veterans’ experiences through its pilot education and awareness seminar Friday morning.
Faculty and staff members from all academic departments gathered to learn strategies for teaching veterans and ways to improve the overall experience for veterans on campus.
University Chief of Staff Joseph Ferrara (GRD ’96) commended GUVAP’s efforts.
“You’re tapping into something that your country needs — that higher education needs — and you’re taking action,” Ferrara said.
Major Paul DeLeón (GRD ’13), one of approximately 500 veterans at Georgetown, wanted to create a network to help student veterans navigate their Georgetown experience.
“The GU Vet Ally Program was created to help create a more veteran-friendly environment and advance the university’s progress towards a campus that discourages discrimination, encourages intellectual openness and celebrates diversity and inclusiveness,” DeLeón said.
He said completing paperwork was one of veterans’ biggest challenges but that the university has demonstrated a commitment to alleviating this problem by creating the new position of veteran coordinator.
United States Military Academy professor Elizabeth Samet gave the event’s keynote address. Samet advised faculty and staff in attendance about how to better integrate veterans into university life.
“A soldier’s return is an art, and it is an art as old as Homer’s odyssey,” she said. “After every war, we are forced to learn its nuances again.”
Samet spoke about the connection between literature and the military and said open discourse was necessary to bridge the gap between soldier and civilian.
“Imagining postwar America is a responsibility that lies with teachers, students and veterans alike,” Samet said.
The seminar also included a student veteran panel, a discussion with Veterans Office Coordinator David Shearman about initiatives in the Veterans Office and a speech from assistant professor Elizabeth Stanley about the transition from the military into academia.
Alex Horton (COL ’13), a former enlisted infantryman, said that it is important not to label veterans.
“I think there is an urge to put labels on us, and I want to caution you against that,” Horton said.