MILWAUKEE (WSAU) The American Legion’s national convention is underway in Milwaukee with a two-day symposium on one of the biggest concerns facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans – getting a college education. Student veterans, educators, and others are talking about ways for campuses to handle the massive numbers of new veterans at colleges and tech schools.
Derek Blumke, who heads the Student Veterans of America, says vets often feel isolated from younger students on campus – and that gap must be bridged. His group has nine chapters on Wisconsin campuses, and almost 300 throughout the country. Among other things, they help veterans deal with class schedules and paperwork, and they provide mentors to help new students get acclimated. They’re also trying to get more schools to accept military training as college credits – such as leadership classes for non-commissioned officers. Blumke says U-W Madison lets its R-O-T-C chapters approve military training for college credit – and it’s one thing Wisconsin is doing right.
About 10,000 veterans are expected at the Legion convention, which runs through next week in Milwaukee. Some big-name speakers are due in next week including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.