Veterans and military students find resources, connect on campus
The SVA network brings together a community of Veterans and military students
Many Veterans start out on campus alone, not knowing their peers because they are older. Student Veterans of America (SVA) fixes that divide, creating networks of Veterans and military students on thousands of campuses to assist with navigation and school challenges, or to simply let them hang out with those who share common experiences.
Through a network of more than 1,500 on-campus chapters in all 50 states and three countries representing more than 750,000 student Veterans, SVA assists Veterans and military students by connecting them with a community of dedicated chapter leaders.
These leaders work to provide the necessary resources, network support and advocacy to ensure that student Veterans can connect, expand their skills, and rise to great heights in academics and beyond.
“We serve the chapter leaders at [colleges and universities] ensuring that they have the resources and tools to be effective leaders on their campus,” Lauren Augustine, SVA’s vice president of government affairs, told VA’s Veterans Experience Office. “We do that through a lot of programs and services, notably our regional summits, our leadership institute, and our national conference, better known as NatCon. And we do advocacy work in D.C.”
Veterans and military students experience camaraderie at SVA’s events
NatCon, the largest annual gathering of student Veterans in the country, draws several thousand participants each year. The next NatCon will be held in January in Orlando.
The national conference is a great opportunity for SVA to hold a series of breakout sessions on such diverse topics as running a campus chapter to writing a resume. Veterans and military students hear from notable speakers who provide guidance and motivation for their success in academics and the job world.
Veterans who attend NatCon and SVA’s other events, and who join a campus chapter, can also experience another important intangible by meeting others who have served: camaraderie.
“Being able to connect with and network with other student Veterans is the most valuable part of NaTCon, as is working with our chapters,” Augustine said. “Our chapters provide a really great peer support network on campus for students as they’re going through school or as they’re coming onto campus. They also provide a lot of camaraderie and a community for somebody to join.”
SVA strong advocate of G.I. Bill
In terms of advocacy, SVA is a strong proponent of the G.I. Bill, the U.S. legislation that, in part, enables Veterans to obtain grants for college tuition.
“We make sure that [the G.I. Bill] remains a strong benefit that students can rely on when they go back to school,” Augustine said. “We also make sure to share the good news about the educated Veteran workforce with employers and institutions themselves, so Veterans are welcomed on campus and welcomed in employment after they leave school.”
For Veterans transitioning out of the military who want to become involved in an SVA chapter, the best way to do so is by checking out the organization’s chapter map to see if a chapter exists on their campus. If there is no chapter, “We’re more than happy to help you set up a new chapter,” Augustine noted.
Statement of Endorsement
Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.