Wayne State University is our Featured Campus for January! “The Wayne State University PAVE Team shows dedication to connecting with and helping foster success for their student veterans. They continue to engage in a tremendous amount of activity, including a bi-weekly newsletter, workshops, PAVE parties, and extensive outreach. Their impressive levels of energy and creativity, combined with their work with TRIO and Student Support Services, showcase their commitment to student veteran support,” says Emma Czajka, PAVE Program Coordinator.
Wayne State’s PAVE Team is made up of four Peer Advisors, led by Academic Success Coach Dante Strother and Director of Veteran Student Support Services William Keilman. Together, and through grant funding, the team works to serve 120 military-affiliated students on campus out of a population of over 500 military-affiliated students.
Getting PAVE started initially at Wayne State was a challenge due to staff turnover and a lack of engagement from student veterans like may schools face. However, according to Peer Advisor Carissa Bennett, PAVE has shown a lot of growth with the onboarding of Dante Strother as the Veteran Services Coordinator.
Despite initial struggles this PAVE team has found renewed vigor and, according to Dante, has been “trying to find ways to stay engaged with it in terms of innovating and making sure they provide the best program they can and reach more student veterans.” This is evident in their PAVE activities, like holding a graduation information workshop and providing graduation materials for student veterans after one PAVE student veteran raised concerns in an interaction with their advisor.
The Wayne State PAVE Team is also dedicated to providing a sense of community for military-affiliated students on campus. “Knowing that you won’t be left behind is a big part of what we do here. Letting them know that as long as you are here, you will be supported,” says Dante Strother. The sentiment is echoed by Carissa, who says that “Overall the sense of community that this program allows us to build is really rare, especially in a campus with over 20,000 students,” and “the VRC provides that space and that community.” The Wayne State PAVE Team also values community outside of campus, holding community service events like cold weather drives and volunteering with a homeless veterans shelter to stay engaged and give back to the greater veteran community.
Keep up the incredible work supporting your military-affiliated students, Wayne State University!