One-Day Conference to Focus on Needs of Student Veterans

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CHARLOTTE - Oct. 16, 2013 - The College of Health and Human Services Department of Social Work is co-sponsoring the one-day conference “Boots to Books: Understanding Military Culture and Supporting a Successful Transition” on Monday, Nov. 18, in Cone University Center, McKnight Hall.

A free event, the conference will bring together experts on veteran’s issues, as well as, faculty, staff, students, service providers and the public, to learn about the unique perspectives of student veterans. Organizers also seek to identify resources to support student veterans’ success at UNC Charlotte and their transition to civilian life.

David Vacchi, a national leader in the study of and advocacy for the success of student veterans, will be a keynote speaker at the conference. A U.S. Army veteran with more than 20 years of active duty service, Vacchi is working toward a doctorate at the University of Massachusettes-Amherst.

“Student veterans are a unique type of nontraditional student, due to immersion in and socialization to the military culture,” said Vacchi. “The transition back to civilian life can be challenging, particularly in a higher education context that is relatively unstructured and to some extent undisciplined, compared with military organizations. Understanding student veterans and their unique experiences can help higher education faculty and staff to support the success of this burgeoning student population.”

Paul Passaro, program director with Charlotte Bridge Home, will be a keynote speaker, too. Charlotte Bridge Home helps Charlotte veterans successfully transition home after military service by identifying their education, employment and health care needs. The organization also connects them to available community, state and federal resources. Passaro is a West Point graduate and a veteran of the U.S. Army.

“Boots to Books” will feature a student panel discussion and opportunities to interact with all speakers. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit the “support services” vendor fair and view an art exhibit featuring the work of Robert Bates, a veteran and UNC Charlotte student.

The UNC Charlotte Office of Veterans Student Services, Mecklenburg County Community Support Services and Charlotte Bridge Home are cosponsoring this free conference, which is being supported by a grant from the Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund. Prospective attendees are encouraged to register online.

Photo: A drawing by Rob Bates.