Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap

The Student Veterans Association [SVA] recently hosted a “Bridge The Gap” session, in the hopes of providing some training and education to faculty and staff so they can better understand their student population.

Veteran students often bring diverse insight into classroom conversations considering their backgrounds, however, they also face special challenges. Many Veterans—particularly recently separated Veterans—are having difficulty adjusting to the significant culture change, from the team oriented military to the individualized student roles. There is also an age discrepancy between the Veteran students and the traditional student, and many veteran students are geographically separated from their friends and families, among other things.

These are some reasons why the SVA is actively trying to build a stronger relationship with the rest of the student body. Many students in the SVA are commuters and find it challenging to connect with people on campus.

“Participation in school actives can be difficult for many student Veterans, but we want to get to know the other students, to make friends…but also, we can learn a lot from each other,” said Christopher Perdue, SVA Secretary. “As Veterans we have a lot of life experience that we can teach the other students, likewise, going back to school is not easy; trying to develop study skills, find study groups, getting involved in student life, can be very challenging.”

Only two faculty members attended the”Bridge The Gap” session, which some found discouraging considering that Le Moyne is actively recruiting Veterans for various programs.

Assistant Director at the Center for Continuing Education, Jennifer Reddy hosted the session along with SVA Vice President Michael Venditte. Reddy said that while faculty attendance was low, there is still hope that the message is being spread across campus.

“I was not discouraged by the low turnout this time. Many of the faculty and staff members attended the last session we had, and considering that this is a busy time of the semester, many of the faculty were likely unable to attend,” said Reddy.

Biology Professor, Wendy Scherer attended the session and thought it was a useful event that brought many things to her attention.

“What was really important to me was getting the perspective of how a Veteran student would act or what he or she might say in a situation. I did not realize that some student Veterans might choose to keep their Veteran status a secret or why a student would feel uncomfortable sharing their personal stories or their Veteran status,” said Scherer. “I have had Veteran students in my class, they identified themselves to me as Veterans, and I just wanted to understand them better.”

According to Perdue the SVA is currently organizing more events for students and Veterans to come together.