KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.— Oregon Tech is excited to announce that the university has been selected as a new partner in the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) program. PAVE is a peer support program that connects incoming student veterans on college campuses with student veterans at the same college who are trained as Peer Advisors. These advisors help student veterans navigate college life, address challenges they may face, refer them to appropriate resources on and off campus, and provide ongoing support.

In early spring, Oregon Tech’s Student Veteran Program (SVP) was contacted by a PAVE program manager who stated, “Thanks to two separate grants from the May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, we will be able to expand the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education program to approximately 18 universities and colleges in the Western U.S., and three in Illinois in 2020 at no cost to the schools selected. Your campus is in the area covered by these grants.” Oregon Tech’s staff was notified both the Klamath Falls and Portland-Metro campuses were officially accepted into the partnership.

Brandon Wright, student veteran support liaison for the Klamath Falls campus and a student in the Communications Studies program, has volunteered to serve as student veteran team leader. Brandon, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army said, “Oregon Tech was founded to help veterans transition back from WWII. Veterans have always been held close to the hearts of the Oregon Tech community, which is why the university and its faculty jumped at the opportunity to join as a PAVE partner.” Brandon added, “From my own experiences attending Oregon Tech for over a year, I have seen a need for a program like PAVE. As part of a journalism class project, I interviewed SVP members about various topics. I noticed that the interviews often turned from traditional Q&A to me just being a listening ear for these veterans as they explained their challenges. Some of them had concerns with school, their home lives and their school work loads. After hours of interviews it became apparent that our student veterans were in need of some support.”

Brandon also observed that student veterans have an unspoken bond with each other, which is one of the reasons why they opened up to him while he conducted interviews for his class. “No one wants to take advice from someone who cannot relate to them, and civilians can’t always understand the way veterans feel or where they come from,” Brandon noted. “PAVE will help Oregon Tech on its mission to serve veterans just as it will help student veterans on their mission to achieve their educational goals.”

Prior to this spring, there were 26 PAVE partner campuses across the United States. Since the program’s inception in 2012, over 900 Peer Advisors have been trained and over 12,000 student veterans have been served. Oregon Tech students and staff will received PAVE training this summer and the program will officially start in Fall Term 2020.

Oregon Tech’s SVP has most recently been in the news for their work on a new program, “Vets Helping Vets,” which provides aid to veterans in Klamath County.

As Oregon’s Polytechnic University, Oregon Tech is home to over 280 military-affiliated students. The PAVE Program is part of M-SPAN (Military Support Programs and Networks), a group of programs at the University of Michigan developed to address the needs and challenges faced by service members, veterans and military families. PAVE is a partnership between the University of Michigan Depression Center and Student Veterans of America.