On June 15, the Planning Committee for the NC STRIVE 2016! Conference hosted a daylong meeting at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford. Interagency collaboration was exemplified by the participation of the Chair and four Vice Chairs of the Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members, and their Families—Secretary Cornell Wilson, NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, kicked off the conference, followed by Flo Stein, Deputy Director, NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. A total of 216 individuals, representing administrators, faculty, and staff from institutions of higher education, federal and state agencies, and veteran service organizations attended the event.
Green Zone training was offered, with separate sessions for community colleges and four-year schools. Three tracks—DoD to VA: Eligibility and Access to Care; Military to Higher Education: Facilitating Academic Success; and Career to College: Enhancing and Building the NC Workforce—were offered concurrently in the morning and afternoon. Presenters emphasized the importance of addressing both academic and behavioral health needs of student Veterans. Evaluations indicated that all three tracks were valuable in introducing them to military culture and providing concrete strategies for supporting student Veterans. It was clear that conference attendees were unfamiliar with many of the resources. They were appreciative of the strategies and tips for increasing the comfort level of student Veterans and for easing them into their transition from the military into civilian and college life.