Serving Spartan Veterans
Serving Spartan VeteransOctober 12, 2021
Student Veterans Resource Center
From the American Civil War to the present day, Spartan veterans have built a legacy of service that spans the entire history of MSU. Today, Michigan State University is home to over 300 student veterans and 2,000 military-affiliated students. While the challenges of serving in uniform are great, re-entry into civilian life often leads to a brand-new set of obstacles.
MSU is committed to helping veterans — on campus and in our communities — succeed upon returning home from military service. The Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC) is dedicated to promoting the educational, career and personal advancement of service members, veterans and their families. Services and resources provided include Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits and health information, financial aid application support, transitional services, career development, employment and internship opportunities and referrals to other programs both on and off campus.
Patrick Forystek, coordinator for the SVRC, says while veteran students do very well academically at MSU, one of the biggest obstacles they face is finances. Many veterans are non-traditional students, meaning they have families or work full time, all while taking classes. That is why the SVRC provides workshops focusing on time management strategies, as well as resources about applying for financial aid, scholarships and grants.
Like many other programs on campus, the SVRC relies on private donations to offer services to student veterans. Donations from Spartans and friends allow the Center to host its spring banquet, offer special programming and outings for the students and fund three different scholarships. According to Forystek, the SVRC has, "a lot of smaller donors that keep [the fund] full and let us do programming for the vets. Everything that comes in is directly impacting student vets. That private support we get really helps us do everything that isn’t just staying open."
Veteran-Led Peer Advising
One of the most popular and impactful ways the SVRC supports students is through the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) Program. PAVE is a peer-to-peer advising program for incoming students to help them with the transition to MSU. PAVE advisors provide outreach, support and linkage to resources to these students. They also guide students on navigating campus, help them better understand their benefits (both educational and health) and provide student insight to other challenges that may arise during transition.
For Casey Mossholder, growing up just outside of East Lansing meant she always knew she wanted to be a Spartan. A U.S. Army National Guard Sergeant, Mossholder graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a concentration in Media Design. Mossholder returned home last October following a year-long tour in Iraq. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in Criminal Justice. A member of the MSU Track team, Mossholder said she got involved with the SVRC by applying to be a PAVE advisor in the hopes of helping incoming student veterans find a community on campus.
As a PAVE Team Leader, Mossholder has organized a variety of events and programs aimed at providing student veterans at MSU with an increased sense of wellbeing and belonging, including a mental health workshop, a book discussion and football tailgates.
“My goal is to bring a sense of belonging among student-vets on campus. Military life is so unique and brings such close-knit friendships, which can be hard to find in the civilian world. By leading this program, I can help incoming student-vets take that first step in building a new community on campus. Additional private support can help veterans and military students find the resources they need to succeed in this new environment.”?
Casey Mossholder `21
How to Help
The P.A.V.E. program costs the Center roughly $6,000 a year for the license and web support. Other costs of the program include funds for activity events for the students and peer advisors, as well as stipends to support the PAVE team leaders. Donations to this program are a great way to directly impact student veterans.
Support Spartan Veterans
Together we have an opportunity to support the Spartan veterans who have served us. In addition to the SVRC, there are many programs at MSU providing life-changing opportunities for veterans studying at MSU and living in our communities. Your support increases scholarship funds for student veterans and military affiliated students, expands pioneering programs for combat veterans healing from the wounds of war, enhances peer advising opportunities and much more.
In honor of Veterans Day this year, please consider supporting our Spartan vets.