Fairmont State University has been awarded $2,478 through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Diversity for Equity grant program to assist the University’s Veteran Services Office in starting a new engagement activity for students who have served in the military. Fairmont State will use the funds to provide outdoor recreation events for student veterans.
These opportunities will give Fairmont State’s student veterans easily accessible experiences designed to encourage reflection, social interaction, and anxiety management. These events will also help students develop their support networks and make the connections needed to successfully navigate the challenges of being a student veteran while capitalizing on the many resources Fairmont State offers to its students who have served in the military.
This award has been designated to fund two outdoor adventure excursions: a camping and fishing trip to Seneca Creek Backcountry in the Monongahela National Forest and a camping and hiking trip (location to be determined). Both of these opportunities will be advertised in the spring of 2019.
“Engaging veterans in a meaningful experience, such as backpacking, supports their success at Fairmont State and allows them to draw on the therapeutic benefits of the outdoors, teamwork and challenge,” said Jan Kiger, Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Leadership. Kiger will be organizing and leading the student veterans’ trips.
“I am so excited about the upcoming camping trips,” said Sandy Corwin, Fairmont State’s Veteran Certifying Official and Advocate. “I feel these trips will provide a great opportunity for the veterans to take a break from school and, hopefully, do some reflection on their present and future goals.”
The purpose of WVHEPC’s Diversity for Equity grant program is to help students not only enter into programs of higher education but also to successfully complete those programs regardless of their demographic characteristics. Adding these special activities for veterans not only aligns with WVHEPC’s mission but also Fairmont State’s strategic goals including boosting student retention and graduation rates, engaging nontraditional students, and improving accessibility.
Fairmont State’s Veteran Services Office, located in 230 Hardway Building, provides information about benefits and certifies eligible students to receive their benefits under state and federal programs while connecting student veterans with off-campus agencies that serve them.