On Monday, November 18, the UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Work, in partnership with the UNC Charlotte Office of Veterans Student Services, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, and Charlotte Bridge Home, will host a one-day conference aimed at increasing cultural sensitivity, both on campus and within the Charlotte community, with respect to student veterans. The event will bring together experts on veteran’s issues as well as students, faculty, service providers and members of the general public to share the unique perspectives of student veterans as well as identify the resources necessary to support their success at UNC Charlotte and their transition to civilian life. The event is funded by a grant from the UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s Diversity Fund.
The conference program offers presentations on military culture and supporting student veterans’ success from exceptional keynote speakers, including national expert David Vacchi, a national leader in the study of and advocacy for the success of student veterans. Mr. Vacchi is an army veteran with over 20 years of active duty experience, and is currently working on his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
"Student veterans are a unique type of non-traditional student, due to immersion in and socialization to the military culture. The transition back to civilian life can be challenging, particularly in a higher education context that is relatively unstructured, and to some extent undisciplined, compared with military organizations,” says Mr. Vacchi. “Understanding student veterans and their unique experiences can help higher education faculty and staff to support the success of this burgeoning student population.”
Paul Passaro, Program Director with Charlotte Bridge Home, will also be a keynote speaker. Charlotte Bridge Home helps Charlotte veterans successfully transition home after military service by identifying their education, employment and healthcare needs and connecting them to available community, state and federal resources. Passaro is a West Point Graduate and a veteran of the United States Army.
Boots to Books will feature a student panel discussion and opportunities for interaction with all speakers from the audience. Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit the “support services” vendor fair and an art exhibit highlighting the work of Robert Bates, a veteran and student at UNC Charlotte.
Artwork courtesy of Robert Bates.