VCU starts Green Zone for veterans

Thomas Dickson
Contributing Writer

VCU has started the Green Zone program in an effort to enhance the quality of university life for military veterans.

The program identifies VCU faculty trained in dealing with veterans’ issues.  A volunteer faculty member can assist a veteran with his or her problem, or give the vet information on where to receive the right help, VCU Veterans Administrator James Chambliss said.

According to Chambliss, training helps volunteers better understand the veteran, the veteran’s experience and the way of military life.

The Green Zone program is an initiative stemming from VCU’s larger program called USS-RAMS.

“These programs are designed to help veterans transition from military life to college life,” Chambliss said.

One of the driving organizations behind these programs is the VCU Student Veterans Association.  Veterans sit in on the training to ensure the program is as accurate as possible.

“It’s admirable,” SVA president Kazonga Singleton said.  “The university has thrown its support behind us.”

The SVA raised veterans’ concerns to VCU administrators when the school was developing USS-RAMS and Green Zone, Singleton said.

“It is making VCU more vet friendly,” Iraq veteran and VCU junior Johnathan Hoggatt said.

Hoggatt said that transitioning from the military to a college life is difficult.

The USS-RAMS program has more initiatives ready for implementation.  Next semester there will be a veterans-only orientation that will provide new student veterans with information that will help them be successful at VCU.  Certain classes soon could be exempt for veterans who receive similar training in the military.

Chambliss said the new VCU veterans program requires active involvement from the individual veteran.  In order for veterans to benefit from these programs, they must let someone know about the issues they are facing at VCU.

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