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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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A group of Military Ally Program graduates. A group of Military Ally Program graduates.

Military Allies

The Military Ally program creates a safe zone for members of SDSU's military community.
By Hallie Jacobs

“Military affiliated students make up about 10 percent of our campus, so it's imperative that we cater to their needs to ensure their success at SDSU.”

San Diego State University houses one of the largest military populations in California, with more than 3,000 military-affiliated students.

To support members of this community, SDSU created the Military Ally program to provide insight and awareness of the unique cultural and social background of military affiliated students and their families.

"It's no secret that SDSU is a military supportive university," said Derek Abbey, Marine Corps veteran and co-developer of the seminar. "Having the Military Ally program on campus only helps strengthen our commitment to serving our military population."

The program was developed by the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center to provide a glimpse into what today's military demographic consists of and what these students bring to the campus.

Built from a similar program at CSU Long Beach, SDSU's Military Ally program generates a network of campus partners who understand the unique needs of military-affiliated students.

Here to help

"This program is great for people who may not interact much with members of the military community," Abbey said. "It teaches them about military culture, how to help a student in need, academic and off-campus resources and strategies to help start conversations."

Advocacy and awareness are the two main focuses of the program which teach faculty and staff how to advocate for military-affiliated students and help them find the resources they need. They will also be taught how to create a safe, inclusive space for students.

"You can't talk about San Diego without mentioning the military community," Abbey said. "Military affiliated students make up about 10 percent of our campus, so it's imperative that we cater to their needs to ensure their success at SDSU."

More than 70 members of the SDSU community have successfully completed the training and the Veterans Center will continue offering the program as long as there is a need. 

Get involved

In addition to faculty and staff, student groups and community organizations are welcome to participate in the four-hour seminar through slide presentations, interactive working groups, student panels and audience participation.

Those who attend the Military Ally seminar are presented with resource material as well as visible indicators showing their support of the military population.

For more information, or to sign up for the program, contact Todd Kennedy, veterans coordinator.