Casper College is our Featured Campus for February! “Casper College has been consistently and successfully supporting both their student veterans and PAVE team members. They have been exceptional in connecting students with resources, even having four resources from organizations such as the VA and the Wyoming Veterans Commission come into their Veterans Center every week to make support more accessible. They’ve gotten off to a very strong start this semester,” says Emma Czajka, PAVE Research Assistant.
Casper College’s PAVE team, led by Team Leader Dustin Smart and Veteran and International Student Coordinator Nicholas Whipps, has six Peer Advisors. They serve a community that includes about 150 student veterans and another 150 military-affiliated students.
“We at Casper College believe a more connected student is a more successful student. And PAVE is one of the key parts of providing that connection. There’s something to be said for a student being able to know that they have an advocate on campus” says Nicholas. Nicholas goes on to describe a time when his team kept reaching out to a new student veteran throughout the semester, never getting a response back until finals week. “They were in significant distress, and because they knew they had an advocate on campus, they reached out and then they got the help they needed.”
“As a brand new student, when I got an email from a Peer Advisor, it was helpful knowing that there are other student veterans on campus. Just knowing that someone’s reaching out and offering help, that made me much more comfortable in my first semester at school,” says Dustin.
“PAVE is beneficial to me both inside and outside of college. I’m able to learn about resources not only for the vets at college, but also for the soldiers I lead in the Guard,” says Peer Advisor Kameron Wilson.
Their team has many success stories to share—including helping one student veteran navigate the stressors of a custody battle and single parenthood. A former team leader, Stephanie, was able to build rapport with that fellow student veteran and earn their trust in the process. That foundation of respect and trust enabled Stephanie to support that student through some of the challenges they were facing that made success in college difficult to achieve. This student is now thriving and on more solid footing than before they received the essential peer support that is at the heart of PAVE.
Way to go, Casper College! We are very proud to partner with you.