(CALV) serves many non-traditional students, but especially focuses on military veterans. On Nov. 7 at 9 a.m., the CALV plans to honor veterans at UWG with a special Veteran’s Day celebration.The UWG Center for Adult Learners and Veterans
“We plan our annual celebration around Veteran’s Day, but we never want it on Veteran’s Day because there are so many community events that we don’t want to compete with,” said Danny Gourley, Director of the CALV. “This year is kind of a low-key program. In the past, we’ve had Dr. Marrero speak, bands play and things like that, but this year we are going to be a little simpler and focus on student stories. So, we have a panel of veterans who are going to speak about their experiences at UWG. We want to make it very personal this year.”
Aside from the Veteran’s Day celebration, the CALV works with UWG to serve military veterans in an extensive academic capacity. For example, all veterans and any students using GI Bill benefits get priority registration, making sure they are efficiently on pace to completing their degree.
“If a person is using Military Tuition Assistance then Dr. Marrero has agreed to waive their mandatory fees,” said Gourley. “It’s a small number of students, but Tuition Assistance only pays for tuition. So, many students would have to pay all the fees, and some may decide not to come [to UWG] because of that. Also, we have a process on campus where we are working to award credit to veterans for things they learned in the military. It’s not credit for simply military experience, but credit for what they learned based on the job they had in the military and the training they received.”
Over the past two years, the CALV has worked to review 61 different types of military training, approving 37 for credit. These efforts helped award credit to over 50 students, and more students could be awarded credit in the future as the CALV continues to review training and work with students.
The CALV is also focused on helping veterans integrate to the UWG community and see fellow students as their peers, despite differences in age and experience.
“We started offering our Green Zone training for students for the first time this semester,” said Gourley. “The Green Zone is where we are trying to expose people to the idea of military culture and the needs of military students. One of the things we learned is that we need more opportunities for our military connected students to participate in events with non-military students, just so they can learn from each other.”
An example of intentional efforts to band students together is the Student Achievement Awards, the new annual student awards ceremony which combined several different student organization’s award ceremonies into one large ceremony. With the CALV participating, the UWG community is exposed to the large number of veterans excelling academically, and the veterans can witness traditional students succeed as well.
“I was given the opportunity and accepted this role [as Director of CALV] in an interim capacity, because I was working with students and seeing the kinds of problems they’re facing,” said Gourley. “I had this strong feeling of ‘If I don’t do this, who will? I really need to get try to get this job permanently.’ It is very motivating to see what problem a military student is having and to see what I can do to make that better.”