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Project Title:VET NET Ally SeminarInstitution Name:California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Innovation Category:Student Success Project Director:Patrick C. O’Rourke, Director of Veterans Affairs Services, CSULBContact Information:(562) 985-4279 , porourke@csulb.eduWebsite:http://www.csulb.edu/divisions/students/veterans_university/awareness/
Project Description:The VET NET Ally Seminar is a faculty and staff awareness program designed to educate the campus community about the needs of military veterans in higher education and the diversity of experience and background they bring to institutions.  Modeled after LGBT Safe Zone (or Safe Space) programs common on campuses across the U.S., the half-day VET NET Ally Seminar focuses on pre- and post-military culture, personal identity issues, and services available to assist veterans in achieving personal, social, and educational goals.  After attending, participants are given a sticker to display in personal workspaces to show support for veterans on campus. 
Objectives:

The VET NET Ally program is a faculty and staff awareness program designed to 

  • educate members of the university community about the needs and concerns of military service members and veterans,
  • foster a campus atmosphere that supports the academic freedom and professional, personal and social success of service members and veterans, and
  • establish a network of visible Allies to provide support, information, and assistance for service members and veterans.
Outcomes:
  • Over 225 staff and faculty have participated in the seminar since February 2010
  • Post-seminar surveys have achieved a 99% superior rating
  • Requested by several California Community Colleges and UC Irvine
  • Selected for presentation at the 2011 NASPA Annual Conference (pre-conference time)
Challenges/Problems Encountered:One of the greatest challenges is how best to present the seminar at other institutions.  With limited resources, seminars are held locally, occasionally supporting members of other institutions of higher education.  A Webinar format is not viable because of the very personal nature of the seminar and the live student veteran panel.
Evaluation Approach:Formal evaluation of the program is accomplished by a survey conducted at the end of each seminar.  Additionally, unsolicited comments via email and personal contact from VET NET Allies on campus verify that the program is very well received on our campus. Currently, participant-based learning outcomes are not developed because the intent of the program is to raise awareness and build a network of support. Assessment is the responsibility of The VET NET Ally team.
Potential for Replication:As is the case with Safe Zone programs, the VET NET Ally program is easily replicated to fit the specific needs and culture of each institution. One important consideration is finding staff or faculty who are veterans and able to develop and present the seminar. Student veteran groups are also important supporters of this program. In March 2011 we presented the full seminar followed by a “train-the-trainer” workshop. The results were well received.
Additional Resources: http://www.csulb.edu/divisions/students/veterans_university/awareness/documents/VETNETAllyBrochurev2.pdf
CEO-to-CEO Contact:F. King Alexander , Presidentfkalexander@csulb.edu
(562) 985-4121
Date Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2011