"Is it possible to ever, truly, return home from battle?"
The ancient Greeks understood how important the journey home after battle was that they used the specific word “nostos.” Nostos was a critical part of an individual’s re-integration into society. Today, soldiers are expected to become civilians overnight, often leading to psychological and emotional problems for which the veteran, their family and their community all suffer.
In Spring 2017, Stockton University piloted a unique nostos experience for student veterans. Led by classics professor David Roessel, 18 student veterans read the Iliad and Odyssey, and then embarked on their own 12-day journey to Greece for a study tour entitled, “From Troy to Ithaca: A Soldier’s Journey Home.” The goal is to scale this as a national program to engage veteran students throughout the United States.
How You Can Help:
The University and generous donors made it possible for the student veterans to participate at no cost to themselves both in 2017 and again this year. The cost to fully fund a student veteran is $3,000. The incredible impact on student veterans inspired the Pappas Family Foundation to commit $35,000 for 2020. The Dean C. and Zoë S. Pappas Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies has committed an additional $10,000, and we now seek to raise $40,000 in additional gifts to match this generous support. A combined total of $85,000 will fully fund the costs for 20 student veterans and staff leaders to participate in this trip next year. A gift of any size to this valuable program will make a huge impact in the lives of our deserving students and on their journey home.
Student veteran Sgt. Jessica Layton recently reflected on her own personal experience. She and her classmates were the first to journey to Greece in 2017 and . Sgt. Layton articulated how so many veterans feel alone and out of place when they return to civilian life. Thanking the donors, she stated that donor generosity tangibly demonstrated to her veteran classmates that “we are not alone.” You can watch Sgt. Layton's presentation on her program experience in the video above.