1. What do we gain from joining Student Veterans of America?
SVA’s sole mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and after graduation. By joining as a chapter, your organization becomes part of that mission and is welcomed into a larger national framework of nearly 1400 chapters nationally. As a result, you have access to a vast network of peers who have been there. The sharing of best-practices, resources, and ideas is an invaluable asset to joining SVA as a chapter.
Being an SVA chapter also gives you added leverage and influence when advocating for veterans on campus or in your local community. SVA is also available to write letters of support on your behalf or visit your campus to assist in any way that we can.
SVA also provides numerous programs and services to SVA chapters and the individual student veterans in each group. The chapter grant program, for example, provides funding for campus-based initiatives. For more information on all of SVA’s programs, be sure to visit the Programs section of our website.
SVA Chapter membership is free. There are no dues associated with affiliating with Student Veterans of America.
2. How can my chapter gain more members?
Remember, attendance is not everything. A small, but dedicated group of student veterans can still make a huge difference. You represent your fellow veterans everyday when you make a positive impact in the community. What do you think is the measure of success for participation? Very rarely will any member-based organization have 100% participation. The national average is actually closer to 15-20%. So, if there are 100 student veterans on your campus, and your chapter has 25-30 active members, your group is actually exceeding the industry average!
Every SVA Chapter is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution for gaining membership. One of the first things you should look at is your campus-culture, and is your group providing a "value" to your targeted demographic? Think about how your fellow student veterans engage on campus. Are they commuters? Where do they primarily congregate? Are they heavy internet users? These questions will help you determine which places to advertise and what mediums to use.
For a broad based view, we have our "Success in 3D for Student Veterans" manual, which assists Chapter Leaders in creating a succesful chapter or taking one to the next level. We recommend looking through this for additional tips and advice.
3. Does SVA's 501(c)(3) status apply to chapters?
While Student Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, our tax-exempt status only applies to the national level. Universities and colleges often have a philanthropic arm that extends to student groups. If your chapter needs a tax ID or would like to purchase items without paying sales tax, contact your school's student financial services office. Additionally, as an SVA Chapter, your group is eligible to apply for funds through the Chapter Grant program.
4. Where can I find funding for my chapter?
There are a number of different ways SVA chapters can receive funding. Schools often have a fund for student group activities. The distribution of that money is typically managed by the student government or the office that regulates student organizations, such as the Office of Student Life. Check with a representative and see what is available through your institution. SVA chapters may also fundraise and solicit donations for their chapter, provided that they follow their school's regulations that pertain to fundraising. We suggest creating a chapter business plan to make your Chapter more marketable to potential donors. In addition, SVA also offers Chapter Grants to enterprising and dedicated chapters who want to improve and/or expand their services. More information on our Chapter Grant Program is available here.
5. Where can I get the SVA logo?
The SVA logo is included in the "Welcome to SVA" email that you receive after registering your chapter. If you do not have that email, please submit a contact form here with a logo request. Prior to using the SVA Logo, please refer to our Logo Usage Policy.
6. Can civilians join SVA chapters?
This depends on the chapter. While Student Veterans of America does not dictate membership criteria to its chapters, we do require each chapter to be an officially recognized student organization on their campus and that their mission aligns with ours. Many chapters do have a civilian membership option and interested persons should inquire with their prospective chapter directly.
7. Do chapters follow university student group rules?
Yes, SVA chapters must abide by all university rules and regulations. Schools retain the right to shut down a student group at any time. However, if you feel your student group is being treated unfairly, or would like to discuss a problem you are facing with your school, please contact us.
8. I'm a student veteran alum, how can I get involved?
SVA is currently developing a formalized alumni strategy in hopes of creating a more extensive alumni platform. However, we greatly appreciate your desire to be a part of our network and want to assure you that we see you, your service, and your dedication as a part of our organization. We also recommend staying connected to your school’s SVA Chapter Leader to see how you can be of support.