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February 2024 Featured Campus: Central Oregon Community College

Three people in PAVE shirts. The two on  either side are standing while the one in the center is seated in a chair with legs crossed

Central Oregon Community College is our Featured Campus for February! 

“The Central Oregon Community College PAVE Team has shown a great deal of momentum and consistency in supporting their student veterans through the start of the term. They have maintained quality relationships with both student and community resources for the benefit of their student veterans. Additionally, despite the challenges of navigating split locations for veterans services, they have continued to provide regular and impactful outreach and resources for the population they serve,” says Emma Czajka, PAVE Program Coordinator.

The Central Oregon PAVE team is currently made up of three Peer Advisors, Kelly Williams, Ashley Helmer, and Jensen-Bremer Mapa, as well as two Veterans Services Coordinators, Bonnie Jordan and Levon Alldredge. Together they serve nearly 300 student veterans on their campus.

According to Bonnie, one area of pride for the PAVE team is “really helping their students understand and access benefits.” Many of the student veterans served by the PAVE team are studying aviation, a field that adds additional layers of difficulty to using VA benefits; however, the Peer Advisors are able to help students navigate those challenges much more easily.

In addition to helping access VA benefits, the PAVE team also assists with connection to other resources and benefits both on campus and in the community. Levon remembered one such instance while he was a Peer Advisor at COCC where he helped a student veteran figure out all of the benefits he was qualified to access, including how to use the food bank and housing resources.

The COCC PAVE team understands the importance of building community and a place where student veterans can connect and be themselves on campus. Kelly finds it rewarding to “help people make connections and friendships among each other,” since, “most students aren’t local and don’t really know anybody.” This connection is also useful for the PAVE team. Ashley finds that her role as a Peer Advisor has pushed her to engage with student veterans and “build connections outside of the military,” as well as allowing her to provide help for her assigned student veterans, even those reluctant to engage. The passion and care the team shows for providing student veterans a safe place to find support and community is commendable.

Keep up the fantastic work supporting your student veterans, Central Oregon Community College!