SECTION 1. The President of University of Massachusetts System (UMASS) including the Chancellors of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and the Presidents of Bridgewater State (BSC) and Salem State (SSC) Colleges may establish a veteran mentoring pilot program at their respective institutions to assist veterans who are attending the University in adjusting to civilian life in all facets including educational, financial and emotional. The pilot program should also give non-veteran students the opportunity to learn the value of service from veteran students and volunteer veteran mentors.
SECTION 2. The primary purpose of the program is to provide veteran students with much needed independent support, advice and guidance by a mentor in order to help their academic goals; improve their interpersonal relationships on campus; increase their retention; and provide access to student-service support. The secondary purpose would be to promote a positive image of veterans through seminars with non-veteran students to discuss the veterans' experiences in the military. These universities and colleges were selected for the pilot program because of involvement in the Veteran's Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program which would likely bring a higher number of veterans to their respective campuses.
SECTION 3. The President of UMASS or BSC and SSC may approve the establishment of a 2 part veteran mentoring pilot program, the first part of which shall recruit volunteers who are faculty, ROTC (where applicable), employees, alumni or friends of the University who are veterans of the Armed Forces to mentor student veterans with the challenges the student veterans may face in adapting to civilian life and their educational program, and the second of which shall provide the opportunity for any non-veteran student to learn from the experiences of student and faculty veterans and to learn more about the value of military service. Students enrolled in the pilot program shall be considered to be enrolled in the veteran mentor program as mentees. The qualifications of the mentors shall be subject to approval by the respective Presidents. UMASS, BSC and SSC shall report feedback and recommendations for improvement regarding the implementation of the veteran mentoring pilot program to the general court by June 30, 2012.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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