Faculty and staff train to make BloomU a Green Zone

Kelley Hughes, Contributing Writer

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s military Green Zone training is available again this year.

The university-implemented volunteer training is held for faculty and staff who choose to enhance trust and connections with military students. The recognized university’s military population, “military students” includes approximately 400 service members, veterans, ROTC cadets and military family members.

“Last year, our first year, we hosted approximately 200 faculty, staff and students who became allies,” said Bob Heckrote, supervisor at the Office of Military and Veterans Resources at Bloomsburg University.

A Green Zone Ally is someone who is knowledgeable and appreciative of military students and their service, Heckrote added, who also serves as academic advisor for undeclared and military students.

“Our goal is to double our number of allies this year,” said Heckrote, who initiated, developed and adapted the training from Slippery Rock and Georgia State University’s Green Zone training courses.

The 90-minute session focuses on a “Military 101” lesson plan such as the basics of the five U.S. military branches, military acronyms and jargon. The training also focuses on critical transitions military students experience while serving their country and attending college.

Key transitions for military students include preparing for future deployments and unscheduled military commitments. In most cases, college faculty, staff and friends may be part of these transitions and can assist them in their preparation, reducing stress.  

“The goal of the training is simple: train faculty, staff and students at Bloomsburg University to become Green Zone Allies,” said Heckrote. “It is also a learning opportunity for me as I welcome feedback and recommendations from the faculty and staff.”

Recent Green Zone training was held Sept. 24, which included 11 faculty and staff members from the university. “Green Zone training promoted creative thoughts on my part on how to assist our military students,” said Dr. Benjamin L. Franek, assistant professor from the College of Science and Technology.

“I learned new language that the military use to better empathize with what the military students may be going through, and [Green Zone training] opened up a better line of communication,” added Franek, a resident of Berwick, Pa.

“I recommend it to anyone – that we can broaden on the horizons is a beautiful thing. We are always looking to better communicate, to better shape the experience in the classroom,” said Franek.

Recommendation for other faculty and staff to attend also came from Dr. Carol A. Adukaitis, Director of Applied Science in the Technical Leadership/Educational Pathways Program. Adukaitis also attended Green Zone training and is now a Green Zone Ally.

“I would recommend Green Zone training to faculty and staff,” said Adukaitis, a resident of Danville, Pa. “Transitioning from combat to college can be a life changing experience,” said Adukaitis.   

The training provided a non-military audience an opportunity to learn about military experiences from Bob Heckrote, who served tours included Iraq and Afghanistan.

Audukaitis also commented that the video,” Remember Me,” by Lizzie Palmer, was emotional yet informative.

Upcoming Green Zone training will be held: Oct. 11, from 2-3:30 p.m., Oct 17, from 11-12:30 p.m. and Nov. 30, from 3-4:30 p.m.

For more information about Green Zone Training and how to attend training visit [email protected].