BGSU selected to pilot support program for student veterans - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

BGSU selected to pilot support program for student veterans

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BOWLING GREEN, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Student veterans on Bowling Green State University's campus are getting help from fellow vets. A new peer-to-peer mentoring program started up this semester, but this program is different from others.

On average, BGSU has about 600 student veterans on campus. Starting this semester, they can go to the Non-Traditional and Transfer Student Offices where they can talk to fellow students who know exactly what they're going through.

24-year-old Josh Noblet and 21-year-old Catherine Peterson are both in the U.S. Army National Guard and current students at BGSU.

One thing they wish they had, but didn't, when they started college classes was a fellow student veteran mentor to help them with the transition from military to college life. After four years of brainstorming the Department of Veteran Affairs selected BGSU to start a pilot program called Peer Advisors for Veteran Education, or PAVE.

"Our goal is to bring them in, support them, help them have the very best academic experience that they can have and then we're all going to celebrate when they graduate," said Dr. Barbara Henry, Assistant Vice President of Non-Traditional and Transfer Students Services.

BGSU is one of three schools selected for the program and started operations this semester. Thirty student veterans are currently being mentored by Nobelt and Peterson. They can help their fellow vets with questions about financial aid, GI benefits, programs, and more.

The transition from military to college life can be difficult but the mentors say it is the common ground of being a veteran that will make the peer program so successful.

"Whether it be another war or something, it's always good to have somebody say, 'Oh, I know what you mean, I've been there,' and even if they don't know 100%, it's good to have that connection; somebody to stand with you kind of thing. So it's kind of good to have a program where my whole job is to basically be the middleman between you and campus," said Nobelt.

"PAVE is a very good initiative because a lot of time veterans aren't going to just come out, 'Oh I need help with this,' but it's good for us to take initiative and ask them if they need any help with anything, ask what their needs are. So we can come out and just meet their needs and not make them have to go through any extra work," said Peterson.

The program is currently in the design stages, so a new veteran's center will also be available.

For more information visit paveoncampus.org

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