The first time Melissa Holloway walked into the Carolina Veterans Resource Center, she said she was greeted by the dog of a fellow veteran.
“It’s a favorite memory that keeps on happening over and over and over again,” Holloway, a 12-year active duty veteran and nursing major, said. The center is a place to find camaraderie for Holloway.
Since 2017, the CVRC has worked with campus partners to provide academic assistance, mental health resources and a community to students who are active duty, veteran, reservist, or in the National Guard.
The University was recognized this August by Viqtory’s annual Military Friendly Schools list for being a leader in the practices, outcomes and programs of military-affiliated student support. UNC received a gold ranking, placing the University in the top 14 percent of the 1,800 schools that participated in the survey.
But Rob Palermo, program director of the CVRC, said there is still work to be done .
"I would kind of view those rankings as a series of benchmarks you can try to hit, more than a competition," Palermo said.
The center offers Green Zone training, which aims to educate faculty on the “military connected student experience,” in addition to Boot Print to Heel Print, a separate orientation program for military-affiliated students.
Palermo said the Green Zone program has trained approximately 480 people in the past two years at the University, including both faculty and hospital employees. He said he wants the program to continue to be able to better serve the veteran population.
Before studying at the University, six-year Air Force veteran and advertising and public relations major Caitlin Russell said she reached out to Palermo and began working at the center to help her fellow veterans.