The Wal-Mart Foundation and the American Council on Education on Thursday named Colorado State University one of 20 recipients of a Success for Veterans Award – a $100,000 grant that will help CSU expand its veterans services and create a national veterans honor society.
The grant builds on the university’s efforts to grow veterans affairs services through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Colorado State is the only Colorado university or college to receive the grant.
"We’ve been serving student veterans at CSU for a long time, but it has been kind of ad hoc," said Ann Ingala, veterans coordinator at Colorado State who is a U.S. Army Desert Storm veteran. "We are building a consolidated office to help provide support and have a place for student veterans."
In 2008, Anne Hudgens, dean of students at Colorado State, created a veterans committee that pulled resources from across campus to address veterans needs. The university also started the first Colorado chapter of the Student Veterans of America.
The grant money will build on those efforts by creating a mentoring program between incoming veterans and existing students, develop a faculty training program, establish a national veterans student honor society, expand outreach efforts, and develop a more comprehensive student orientation program.
CSU would lead the effort to create a national veterans student honor society as well as host a CSU chapter, Ingala said.
"We’ve had a welcome for incoming student veterans as well as a ‘welcome back’ program as part of Ram Welcome in the fall and in the spring," Ingala said. "We want to expand on that and have a half-day orientation to help student veterans making that transition from military life to college life, almost paralleling what we do in the military.
"The need for these services is only going to increase as more student veterans come back to campus, which we are anticipating with the post-9-11 GI bill."
In a news release issued Thursday, Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, said, "We appreciate the service and sacrifice of our nation’s military men and women and our veterans, and have historically worked to address some of the special unmet needs facing the military community. The Wal-Mart Foundation is proud to support the American Council on Education, its colleges and universities, and many other programs that help our veterans get the resources they need to succeed in their education and their transition back to civilian life."