CSU Stanislaus to Hold Conference for Women Veterans

CSU Stanislaus – California State University, Stanislaus will honor women veterans on Feb. 20 by hosting the Women Warrior Wellness Conference, an all-day event that will include an opening ceremony in the morning, a wide range of speakers on veteran services in the afternoon and a social hour featuring Native American music in the evening.

The conference, held on campus in the Faculty Development Center and the Event Center, represents a collaborative effort between the university and the community to generate support for women veterans and greater awareness of their needs. It is also an opportunity for women veterans on campus and in the community — often a marginalized group — to become aware of services and resources that are already available.

“Women veterans have been the unspoken segment of the veteran population for decades and have not traditionally been included in veteran benefits or services,” said Jennifer Grigoriou, coordinator of the Women Warrior Program at CSU Stanislaus. “They have internalized this silence and neglect, and in turn, they hesitate to identify themselves as veterans or think of their service as meaningful.”

The event will begin with the opening ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Faculty Development Center, with traditional military presentations and remarks from CSU Stanislaus President Joseph F. Sheley and representatives from the CSU system, Swords to Plowshares, Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Ripon High School JROTC and the office of Congressman Jeff Denham, among others.

Lunch will be served from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Event Center, where tables will be set up promoting various resources for veterans. The afternoon program, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Event Center, will feature a number of different speakers.

Representatives from CSU Stanislaus will speak from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. about the various services available to student veterans, including disability services, psychological counseling and more. At 2:30 p.m., a talk on comprehensive primary care for women will be given by Linda Kleinsasser, R.N., the Women Veteran Program manager at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. That will be followed by a panel of mental health speakers, including experts on art therapy, transgender issues, readjustment counseling and domestic violence.

The evening program, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. in the Faculty Development Center, will be a social hour with food and refreshments available. The theme for the evening will be Native American and LGBTQI veterans, and two well-known, women-led, Native American drum circles — Turtle Women Rising and Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits — will be on hand to recognize women veterans through song.

The conference is free and open to the public. However, organizers ask that those interested in attending register for the conference at this website to ensure enough seating, food and refreshments are available.

The Women Warrior Wellness Conference at CSU Stanislaus was made possible by Swords to Plowshares, a not-for-profit veteran service organization that awarded the university a $35,000 grant last summer to develop resources for women veterans on campus and throughout the region. In addition to the conference, the grant will fund a designated space for women in the Student Veterans Center, along with counseling and professional trainings.

For more information on the Women Warrior Wellness Conference, contact Jennifer Grigoriou at [email protected] or (209) 667-3381. For information on veterans services offered to CSU Stanislaus students, visit the university’s Office of Veterans Affairs.

Source: CSU Stanislaus, February 7, 2014, by James Leonard