Offices can display poster to show support for veterans
The University of Louisville's Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services are encouraging faculty and staff to post free posters on their office doors in support of veteran students.
The posters, which feature a large "V" in front of an American flag, will serve as a sign to those students that the people in those offices are veteran friendly.
"It basically tells someone you're an ally," said Tom Jackson, vice president for Student Affairs.
The posters work similarly to the Safe Place triangle and the rainbow symbol people display to show support for the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual community. Before people can receive a poster, they must sign an online 10-point pledge to welcome veterans and their experiences and to support their needs.
Jackson said he and others will share the posters with national student veteran groups in an effort to get universities nationwide to use them to promote veteran friendly campuses.
Similarly, veteran friendly lapel pins are available in exchange for donations. The donation will be used to support veteran students on campus.
Jackson and Rodney McGuire, founder of UofL's Veteran Student Organization, developed the idea for veteran friendly posters.
Many students who are completing service today are coming back to campus with those experiences. Sometimes, they've been in combat, Jackson said.
"Their training is still very much a part of them," he continued. "All they want to know is that there is someplace on this campus they can go to, throw off their backpack, drink a cup of coffee or a soda and feel comfortable."
"Universities are becoming more aware of the veteran student population" and are able to "separate the soldier from the war," McGuire said, noting that he thinks that both veterans and the campus community will embrace the poster's concept.
UofL has about 800 veteran students on campus, said Joe Dablow, associate director of enrollment management and coordinator of the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services.
"The big advantage from my perspective is that when I send out the information to accompany the posters, that (faculty and staff) will stop and reflect and maybe start thinking about the perspective brought by the veteran coming to their unit."
The Office of Military and Veteran Student Services plans to distribute the posters and pledge cards to campus offices in the near future.
Until then, people can request the poster online. When requesting the poster, users will be prompted to fill out the veteran-friendly pledge. Once the pledge is received, offices will receive a copy of the poster via campus e-mail and can print the poster at their convenience. People also can order lapel pins online.