August 16, 2011

RSU Unveils New Student Veterans Mentoring Program

On August 15, 2011, Rogers State University unveiled a new student veterans support program.

The Vet 2 Vet (V2V) mentoring program will pair new RSU student veterans with experienced RSU student veterans serving as mentors. The mentors will provide peer-to-peer guidance regarding the experience of transitioning from military life to being a college student.

"We had several mentors apply and all of them were well above the minimum requirements and demonstrated great leadership ability. The program will start with five mentors and we hope to see it grow in future semesters," said Jessica Heavin, coordinator of RSU counseling services.

Mentors are required to be a veteran/military student, have completed at least one year or two semesters of course work at RSU, be currently working towards a degree, be in good standing with the university and have a retention GPA of 2.5 or better.

The V2V program is modeled after the University of Michigan's Student Success Initiative. The mentoring training materials, which utilize volunteer mentors so the program requires little funding, have been adopted with permission of University of Michigan's V2V program director.

RSU provides a two hour training for the V2V mentors covering the basics of the program, how to structure sessions and available campus resources. While program materials add some structure to the process, Heavin said the real power of the program is found in consistent peer-to-peer contact to provide support and answer questions.

"It always helps when you know someone who has already been through a similar situation and knows the correct answers. Student veterans face many questions: who, where and how questions are common and they are the most daunting," said Michael Gordon, a volunteer V2V mentor.

Rogers State University has created more opportunities for the on-campus student veterans community. In 2010, the RSU chapter of Student Veterans Association (SVA) was recognized by the RSU Student Government Association as an official student organization. The RSU chapter of SVA is one of only four nationally recognized SVA chapters in the state of Oklahoma.

In addition, RSU Student Affairs & the RSU VA certifying official on campus will host an information session for any student veteran/dependent/or spouse. This meeting, to be held Friday, August 19 at noon in Centennial Center conference room A, will discuss changes in VA benefits and services offered on campus and in the community.

Currently, there are approximately 180 student veterans and/or dependents enrolled at Rogers State University.

"This program will help us ensure our student veterans have a successful school experience and persist towards graduation at RSU," said Nancy Page, senior admissions counselor & RSU VA certifying official.

Any RSU student veteran wishing to be placed with a mentor should contact Heavin at 918-343-7845 or