For the 2022-23 academic year, Reinhardt University launched Green Zone Training. Green Zone Training provides faculty, staff, and students with an understanding of the military experience of student veterans as they transition from the military to campus life.
According to Walter May, Ph.D., dean of students, last year Reinhardt had 37 students receiving veteran’s benefits, and of those students, 13 were actual veterans. To better support these students, he says, “We began looking at how we serve these students, what resources we can offer them, and what resources are available in the community around us that we can serve them with.”
A committee was formed consisting of faculty, staff, and students to work on a plan to better serve this population of students. Committee members include Cheryl Brown, Ph.D., professor of sociology and United States Army veteran; Melody Bourne, DBA, Enrollment Management for Professional Studies and Graduate Admissions (PSGA) and United States Army veteran; Robin McNally, assistant professor of math; Tommy Calhoun, records and registration administrator; and student Scott Wade ’23, a veteran of the United States Navy.
Following models of other schools, Reinhardt decided to implement Green Zone Training. Through this training, participants learn to understand who our student veterans are and learn about the military experience. They also learn about the veteran experience in higher education, what they can do to support our student veterans, and become familiar with resources, both on and off campus, that may be of help to our student veterans.
“Green Zone Training is important for the Reinhardt community because it creates a supportive environment for our military-affiliated students,” says Bourne. “Our faculty, staff, and students who receive the Green Zone Training are better able to understand the unique experiences and challenges of this population group, and, more importantly, are better equipped to refer these students to the appropriate services, resources, and key points of contact as needed.”
“The training is a great way to show our support for all members of the community who have served in uniform along with their families who also share the costs of service,” says Brown. “We also want staff and faculty to understand the transition our veterans and their families may be going through as they join the RU community.”
Bourne emphasizes that the training is not intended for participants to become a counselor in any way. “We just want people to have empathy, understanding, and the ability to point a student in the right direction,” she says.
Green Zone Training is offered in person. Upon completion of the training, participants receive a sign to display in their office. The sign lets any veteran or military-affiliated students on campus know whom they can go to for support.
The Green Zone Training Program began at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 2010 and is now found at institutions of higher education across the country. Modeled after the Safe Zone program, Green Zone seeks to provide a network of allies for all veterans and military-affiliated students on campus.
The name Green Zone should be familiar to many post-9/11 military personnel. It is an internationally recognized secure zone in Baghdad, Iraq.
Reinhardt’s first training session was offered during the faculty/staff Welcome Back week before students arrived on campus in August. “We currently have 15 Green Zone-trained faculty and staff,” says May. “We will offer another training in January 2023 for all interested faculty, staff, and students.” May notes that anyone interested in Green Zone Training can contact the Dean of Students Office for training information.