This article was written by Kelley S. Hughes
(BLOOMSBURG UNIVERSITY, Feb. 26, 2018) – Bloomsburg University faculty, staff and students can make a difference this semester in military student’s lives. By attending a newly developed Green Zone training course and becoming allies, they can assist in enhancing trust and connectedness of our military students, both on and off campus.
The goal of the one-hour training is simple: train faculty, staff and students at BU to become Green Zone Allies. The recognized BU military population includes approximately 400 service members, veterans, ROTC cadets and military family members. Upon completion of the training, attendees are recognized as a Green Zone Ally and receive a certificate for participating and service.
Becoming a Green Zone Ally has nothing to do with supporting or disagreeing with a war, violence, a political party, a president, the government, a movement, or any other polarizing factor,” said Bob Heckrote, supervisor, Office of Military and Veterans Resources at BU. “It is about supporting the people who support us,” he said. “In this case, BU military students.”
BU’s Green Zone training was initiated and developed by Heckrote this past year. He adapted his training from Slippery Rock University’s and Georgia State University’s Green Zone training courses. The session focuses on a “Military 101” lesson plan such as the basics of the five U.S. military branches, military acronyms and jargon.
The training also focuses on critical transitions military students make while serving their country and attending college. Key transitions for military students include preparing for future deployments and unscheduled military commitments. In most cases, college faculty, staff and friends may be part of these transitions and can assist them in their preparation, reducing stress.
With Green Zone training, trust and connectiveness is off to a good start on campus. During winter break, members of the Student Health Center staff attended the training.
“In particular, I will pay better attention to my language, challenge some of my misconceptions and think about how to better engage the military,” said Dr. Janet Rarig Executive Director, BU Health and Wellness Center.
More recently, BU graduate student Briann Halpin attended the training Feb. 20. “I also learned some valuable insight about military students on our campus such as the toll it takes emotionally on a student when they must leave school to serve. This is a perspective I normally would not think of as a civilian, ‘traditional’ student,” added Halpin.
Also recommending the training is Abdul Malik Muhammad, BU’s Coordinator of Sexual and Gender Diversity, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, who also attended the Feb. 20th training. “It is an amazing opportunity to get a grounded, authentic understanding of the military vs. what we receive simply from the media and entertainment,” said Muhammad.
The next Green Zone training for faculty, staff and students will be held March 5, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. and March 21, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. at BU’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Center, Andruss Library, 4th floor, rooms 419-420. For more information about Green Zone Training and to attend training, call 570-389-3856 or visit bloomu.edu.veterans.
Editor’s Note: The author, Kelley S. Hughes, is a mass communications major and military student at BU. Hughes is a retired U.S. Marine Corps veteran, having served honorably for 22 years. Hughes also works at the Office of Military and Veteran Resources at BU. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org