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Veterans' Issues and Support Initiative and Outreach Network (VISION)


The Veterans’ Issues and Support Initiative and Outreach Network (VISION) was created by a group of students who wanted to better serve our veteran population in Syracuse and Central New York.  With tens of thousands of veterans returning to Central New York in the coming years, VISION’s founders saw a great opportunity to serve those returning service men and women who had served us all.

The Syracuse College of Law is located on the doorstep of one of the most important veterans’ hospitals in New York State.  Additionally, one of the largest Army bases in the country, Ft. Drum, is just one hour north, making Syracuse a hub for veterans’ services.  VISION strives to better connect the Syracuse College of Law and our veteran population and to provide vital resources to benefit those in need.

Currently, VISION works to serve veterans through three key initiatives.  First, students are able to provide pro bono work by staffing a local veterans’ legal clinic that meets once monthly in Syracuse.   Student volunteers work on a wide range of legal issues facing our veterans and gain a familiarity with a niche area of the law that will soon be in high demand as our warriors return from overseas.

Second, students can contribute to the research and drafting of a “white paper” aimed at influencing legislation that will allow veterans to upgrade a less than honorable discharge if their discharge is found to be related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) or Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”).  This change in the authorizing statute will ensure that veterans have access to the treatment and benefits that they need and deserve from Veterans Affairs. 

Finally, students can work on the creation of a comprehensive resource guide detailing all of the services available to veterans in the Syracuse area in one easy to access place.  No such guide currently exists, and it will be of tremendous benefit to all veterans in the community.  We see these projects as just the beginning for VISION, and the organization aims to take on additional initiatives as it grows. 

Returning veterans often face numerous challenges after coming home from service, and many struggle to successfully acclimate to civilian life.  VISION hopes to provide Syracuse University College of Law students an opportunity to help those in our society who deserve our service the most.   President Lincoln once said that “[a] nation that does not honor its heroes, will not long endure.”  If you are interested in helping VISION honor our heroes, please email Tom Caruso at tmcaruso@syr.edu.