James Lyons ’03, one of the first Syracuse University alumni killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was inducted into the University’s National Veterans Resource Center’s Hall of Honor on Oct. 15. He was also recognized as the “Hometown Hero” during halftime…
University Welcomes Military-Connected Students with Various Initiatives
As part of Syracuse University’s enduring commitment to veteran and military-connected students, the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) hosted a virtual welcome orientation prior to the start of the fall semester. Hosted on Zoom, the orientation included a welcome address from J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF); overview of veteran services from OVMA executive director Ron Novack; and resource introductions, including those from:
- Veteran Career Services
- Office of Veteran Success
- Veteran Legal Clinic
- Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising
- Institute for Veterans and Military Families
- Student Veteran Organization
- Peer Advisors for Veteran Education
- Disability Services Liaison (DSL)
In addition to the scheduled presentations, attending students were able to ask individual questions.
To further make student veterans feel welcome as part of their transition into higher education, dozens of faculty and staff have opted to serve as student veteran liaisons, using orange door tags provided by the OVMA as a visual sign of open lines of communication and engagement for student veterans on campus. The Orange Door Liaison Initiative helps establish wider networks for student veterans on campus.
The tags create further access for communication with student veterans. By volunteering as a student veteran liaison, users are helping address concerns that may arise while talking to a student veteran. The transition into campus life can be difficult and challenging for veterans, and can often include academic, behavioral, legal, financial, personal and family issues.
OVMA provides the door tags to all participating faculty and staff. Participants are asked to hang the door tags in their offices, departments and buildings as visual signs to student veterans that they are welcome to come in and talk. The program’s expansion is part of Chancellor Kent Syverud’s plan to make Syracuse University “the best place for veterans,” a commitment he verbalized during his 2014 inauguration remarks.
“The Orange Door Initiative opens up pathways to inclusivity and to connect student veterans with various resources on and off campus,” says Novack. “We remain committed to making Syracuse University a better place for student veterans—one orange door at a time!”
Within the student community, veteran and military-support is readily available from the Student Veteran Organization (SVO). In continued dedication to its mission to provide Syracuse University student veterans, military-connected students, and military family members with resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation, the SVO recently announced new leadership for the 2020-2021 Academic Year:
- President: Charlie Poag, senior, Newhouse School of Public Communications
- Vice President: Amanda Sullivan, senior, Whitman School of Management
- Secretary: Miguel Pica, senior, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
- Public Affairs Officer: Daniel Rubio, junior, College of Arts and Sciences and Maxwell School
- Treasurer: Eric Kessler, graduate student, College of Engineering and Computer Science
“The SVO provides a great way to get involved on campus and gives those who served a sense of camaraderie as they transition to academic life,” says Poag. “Our organization provides opportunity for immediate connection between those with service-related experiences and challenges. Together, our members share strategies for success and become part of the wider Syracuse University community.”