Heather Black

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The Green Zone Program at Mississippi State University Provides Mentors For Student Veterans

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-More men and women who serve in our military are returning home from the frontlines ready to pick up where they left off, but transitioning can be difficult.

They may not be on the front lines, but some Mississippi State University student veterans are still fighting personal battles within.

That’s why last fall the Center for America’s Veterans started a program to better serve their student veterans.

“We also look for other ways to enhance the educational experience and the green zone is intended to do that it’s intended to increase retention and increase graduating rates that’s the bottom line of the green zone,” says Ken McRae.

After serving nine years in the Army Reserve and the National Guard, Jeremy Baham understands the difficulty transitioning from military to civilian life.

“You get very close to your unit when you serve and so you have a close support system and when you get to a school you don’t necessarily have that if your family is not here if you don’t have friends already at the school it can be a difficult transition,” says Jeremy Baham.

That’s where the green zone mentors come in. several MSU faculty and staff throughout campus have open doors for any student who needs to talk.

“Post of the mentors that identifies everybody that has gone through the green zone training typically they’re other veterans, but they’ve gone through some specialized training to identify special needs for veterans coming to school now and so you can come in here and look see who has been through that training and say hey that person maybe a good person to talk to,” says Baham.

“It’s about identifying somebody from my branch I can look and say okay I want to find another Marine to talk to so I can go to the list and say okay here is a faculty member over in engineering which is maybe what I’m majoring in that was a former Marine. Of course a Marine always a Marine, but somebody i can talk to and share our experience and obviously somebody that have dealt with this because they probably came back to college as well,” says Baham.

Baham hopes the program will continue to encourage student veterans no matter their obstacles.

“Very special population they deserve to be given every chance to succeed at college and they have some special needs that we are trying to fill,” says Baham.

The Aurora Foundation funds the grant for that program.