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AACC Joins Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans

Feb. 2, 2011

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Lt. Governor Brown brings higher education presidents together to improve student veteran services

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Feb. 1, 2011) – Anne Arundel Community College President Martha A. Smith, Ph.D.,  joined her counterparts from community colleges and public four-year institutions in Annapolis this week to sign the Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans. The Compact aims to improve on-campus services for veteran students. Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown – a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, a graduate of ROTC and the nation’s highest-ranking elected official to serve a tour of duty in Iraq – convened the meeting and worked closely with veteran advocates and higher education leaders to forge the important partnerships that will ease student veterans’ transition to campus life.

During his opening remarks, Brown cited a troubling essay published in the Community College of Baltimore County student newspaper detailing a student veteran’s war experience and the college’s controversial, but necessary, decision to remove the student until a psychological evaluation could be performed as one of several catalysts to create the Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans.

“Veterans bring a unique maturity and life experience to the classroom – an experience that in most cases enhances classroom discussions and benefits every student’s learning. But as each war is different, so is every generation of veteran,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “We have an obligation to serve those who served and we must do more to ease student veterans’ transitions from combat to campus. While the urgency to sign this agreement was sparked by an atypical and unfortunate incident on one of our campuses, I am proud that higher education leaders from across the state will work together to improve the services we provide to the men and women served on our behalf.”

The Compact calls on Maryland’s higher education community to do more for the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and seeks to ensure the educational success of veterans who choose to return to a Maryland school through greater awareness and understanding of the unique challenges student veterans face.

Participating institutions pledge to designate an office or staff person as a ‘go to’ for all student veterans to help them navigate everything from GI Bill paperwork to behavioral health counseling. The Compact requires campus officials to provide training for faculty, staff and student leadership to promote greater awareness of veteran issues; and it encourages campuses to create student veteran organizations to provide incoming veteran students with necessary support from their peers who are also transitioning back into our communities.

“AACC appreciates the sacrifices our military service members and veterans make for all of us, so we want to ease their transition to college so they can achieve their academic goals,” Smith said.

AACC already has established a Military and Veterans Resource Center as a central place where active-duty military, reservists and veterans can go to find out about services the college offers for active-duty military and veterans, get assistance in navigating registration or just interact with others in the military. In addition, the college has begun a Veteran Ambassador program to provide incoming veterans with a peer point of contact for information, support and help transitioning from the military to campus life.

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