CWU News

Helping Ensure CWU Military Students Succeed Focus of Conference

Each day an estimated 20 military veterans commit suicide. Loneliness, feelings of isolation, or a lack of support are among the primary causes. Making sure the more than 600-military veterans, and their family members at CWU feel connected and cared for is the purpose of the Veterans Resource Conference on Tuesday, May 1.

“If we take a look at those who are going through campus, these veterans, the campus, I’d say, has a responsibility to see these guys succeed—as with all students,” said Dr. Peter Schmidt, who directs the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Behavioral Health Program. “Vets don’t want a handout, they want a hand up. They’re not expecting any favors, any privileges based on their service. They just want support.”

Schmidt will discuss “Post Traumatic Growth and Transitioning from the Military” during a conference presentation, to be held in the Student Union and Recreation Center Ballroom at 2 p.m.

“When one transitions out [of the military], it’s a huge loss of purpose,” Schmidt said. “Where can we assist these folks find their next place in the world? Because everybody has a place in the world. How can we help them find their next purpose? I like to refer to that as a second mission.”

Other conference presentations on veteran’s benefits and employment after military service will be included in the event, which kicks-off at 11:00 a.m. It is open to the public.

“We want all of our student veterans to come, along with any and all interested veterans within Ellensburg, Kittitas County, and beyond,” stated Ruben Cardenas, director of the university’s Veterans Center.

The event is co-sponsored by the Veterans Center and the CWU student veteran’s club. Cardenas points out that a “Resource Lunch with (Veteran Service Organization) VSOs” is also on the schedule. It will include representatives from and information pertaining to CWU Career Service, Disability Services, and Student Medical and Counseling Clinic; HopeSource, Kittitas County Veterans Coalition, WorkSource, VFW American Legion, and Yakima Veterans Center.

“Rather than focusing on the problem, let’s focus on what the solutions might be,” Schmidt said. “The veterans [individual] journeys are going to be unique, but there are some common elements. For anybody that takes an interest in this and can connect with a vet, they may be saving a life.”

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,