Champlain Senior Organizes Veteran's Awareness Week

Military Vets at Champlain

Megan Spiezio-Davis, a senior majoring in Psychology at Champlain College, is organizing a Veteran's Awareness Week from March 23-27 for her Capstone project.

Spiezio-Davis is working with the Student Veteran Association of Champlain College and the 63 student veterans currently on campus to host five events during the awareness week. The events include:

  • A student veteran presentation on Monday, March 23 in Freeman 201 from 3:30-6:30 p.m.
  • A discussion on veteran suicide on Tuesday, March 24 in the Aiken Morgan Room from 2 p.m to 5 p.m.
  • A Conversation with a Student event that is focused on appropriate questions to ask a veteran, possible trigger points and topics on Wednesday, March 25 in the Aiken Morgan Room from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Veteran Awareness presentations from Dave Gerns, the Assistant Director of Military and Veteran's Services at Champlain and Megan Spiezio-Davis, who is organizing the Awareness Week, on Thursday, March 26 in the Aiken Morgan Room from 2-4:30 p.m.
  • A showing of the film Black Hawk Down with commentary by Richard "Doc" Strous, a veteran and student at Champlain whom one of the characters in the movie was based off of, on Friday, March 27 in the Fireside Lounge from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Spiezio-Davis decided to focus on veteran's awareness for her capstone because of "a combination of embracing all the possibilities the field of psychology encompasses and hearing of yet another soldier taking their life due to the stress of military combat."

"I became less interested in what the media has to say about this topic and more engaged in what I can do to share some of the knowledge and skills I have acquired to facilitate a better environment at Champlain. It was Gandhi who said, 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world.' I think there is a real need for veteran health care to change. However, what I have learned and will speak about at Thursday's event is that for there to be any change, there first needs to be education and before education, awareness. After talking with our peer student veterans on how I could possibly offer any assistance to them, it became evidently clear, that they too wished for more awareness on campus," she said.

At first, Spiezio-Davis's goal for the project was to help veteran students feel more comfortable on campus, but after working with them, her objective changed. "What I quickly learned was that this group of students have been trained to succeed. They could be arguably the most dedicated and motivated students we have on campus, not to mention in our communities. Their potential, innovation and skills are severally overlooked.  We can learn a lot from them. I have found that no one asks the right questions. I hope this project encourages an environment where Champlain can begin the dialogue," she said.

"Ideally, a college campus is a place where people learn from each other and everyone feels they are a part of a community. This project is a reminder to all of us that we have responsibility to one another to facilitate both education and empowerment so we as individuals and as an institution reach our full potential. "More information about Champlain College's Veteran Services can be found here.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit