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VET Builds Skills and Camaraderie
for Incoming Veterinary Students
The Veterinary Enrichment and Teambuilding experience encourages first-year veterinary students to work in cooperation to solve physical and mental challenges.
The MU College of Veterinary Medicine orientation allows incoming students time to get to know each other with some recreational activities.
As part of the VET, Dr. Ron Cott (left), associate dean of Student and Alumni Affairs, teaches incoming veterinary students communication skills that they will need as they begin to work with clients who bring their animals to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for care.

First-year veterinary students are challenged to take a “leap of faith” and jump from the top of a 20-foot-tall pole and try to grab a trapeze bar located 6 feet away as one of the VET activities.

For the sixth year, the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed its incoming first-year students with VET, or Veterinary Enrichment and Teambuilding. The orientation program, held Aug. 15-18, 2010,at Camp Windermere at the Lake of the Ozarks, encourages students to get to know their new classmates and the CVM faculty while learning about communication and leadership styles, trust and bonding and how to achieve a healthy balance between the competing areas of their lives.

Students spend four days engaged in activities such as taking a communications style assessment, moving an “injured” colleague immobilized on a backboard along a series of logs and platforms, addressing potential conflicts through role playing and taking part in trust-building games. A brave few have an opportunity to a “leap of faith,” in which they jump from a 20-foot high utility pole while trying to grab a trapeze bar.

First-year veterinary student Courtney Martin, a Maine resident, said she had some apprehension about the orientation before she participated in VET, but it quickly disappeared. She said the forum gave students information on what to expect of the professional veterinary curriculum, provided information on resources, such as counseling services, that are available, and allowed them to meet and ask questions of the faculty, who served as session facilitators.

Martin cited a networking panel in which students were able to discuss issues within the veterinary profession with members of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association as being particularly valuable. She also enjoyed participating in the DiSC Communication Profile in which students learned their own and their peers’ styles of communication.

“It’s very beneficial to have had that. The learning environment will be so much more comfortable,” she said.

The VET orientation is made possible through sponsorships from Merial, Purina Veterinary Diets, Bayer, Pfizer, Hill’s, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust Program, Novartis Animal Health, Iams Veterinary Formulas and the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. The CVM’s Office of Student and Alumni Affairs organizes the event.

This year, 114 members of the Class of 2014’s 120 were able to take part.

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College of Veterinary Medicine
W-203 Veterinary Medicine Building
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-3554
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Last Update: February 29, 2012