U.S. Navy veteran Andrew Burlingame '22 serves Alfred University as military and academic coach
Andrew Burlingame spent five years serving in the U.S. Navy before enrolling at Alfred University and earning his bachelor’s degree in health fitness management. Now, as military and academic coach at his alma mater, he serves as an advocate for the University’s military-affiliated students.
ALFRED, NY – Andrew Burlingame spent five years serving in the U.S. Navy before enrolling at Alfred University and earning his bachelor’s degree in health fitness management. Now, as military and academic coach at his alma mater, he serves as an advocate for the University’s military-affiliated students.
Burlingame was appointed in May as military and academic coach in Alfred University’s Pamela Lavin Bernstein Center for Advising. He replaced Dillon Smith ’19, MSEd ’21, who served as the University’s first military and academic coach and spearheaded efforts to increase advocacy and support efforts for veteran/military-affiliated students.
“This is a chance for me to continue my service. I’m no longer in the military, but this helps me to serve my veteran-military community,” said Burlingame, a Groton, NY, native who earned his bachelor’s degree in May 2022. During his time as an undergraduate, he held a work-study position, working with Smith on providing services for the University’s military-affiliated community.
His responsibilities include working on behalf of approximately 30 military-affiliated students—veterans, or dependents of veterans; ROTC cadets—to ensure they have a productive and enjoyable educational experience.
“My duties include anything that has to do with veteran affairs. That could mean working to see that anyone eligible to receive benefits under the GI Bill receives those benefits, or ensuring the University is compliant in providing necessary services to veterans,” Burlingame said. His office answers questions and provides guidance and reference on what services are available to students across campus. He also works to promote the University’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program and serves as an academic coach for first-year students.
During his time working with Smith, Burlingame helped develop Alfred University’s Green Zone training program, which helps faculty, staff, and students to better understand the experience of veterans, service members, and their families. Working with Smith “helped prepare me for this and has allowed me to do things that are good for the military population,” he said.
Another project Burlingame collaborated on with Smith is the development of a military resource center, which is housed in Powell Campus Center, in the Center for Advising office suite. “Dillon put in the legwork for that program. We just needed to find the physical space for it,” Burlingame explained.
The resource center serves as a lounge area “where (military-affiliated students) can gather to study, and feel comfortable spending time with their peers,” he said. “I’d like it to eventually include a display case that showcases Alfred University’s military history. I can see it growing and evolving over time. Hopefully, if we get more (military-affiliated) students, we can be in a larger space.”
Burlingame has a graduate assistant and three work study students. He and his staff recently collaborated with the Veterans Affairs office in Bath, NY, to organize a remembrance event for veterans. He plans on continuing the Veterans Day dinner event started under Smith, a collaboration between Alfred University, Alfred State College, and the local Alfred community. At last year’s dinner, veterans created a mosaic piece of art that depicts two soldiers saluting, with the names and signatures of vets who created the artwork. The mosaic currently is displayed in the military resource center.
What does Burlingame find most gratifying about his job?
“I would say building and introducing new initiatives for the community that can help our veterans and military-affiliated students,” he said, noting that he is currently working on developing coursework on the University’s Canvas platform which will serve as an “electronic one-stop shop” for accessing services provided by University offices such as the Career Development Center, Student Services, and the Wellness Center.
“Veterans face their own set of challenges when they go to college,” Burlingame said. “My job is to mitigate those challenges and make college as easy and enjoyable as possible for them.”