SVA on the Road: University of Central Oklahoma
Student Veterans of America | October 14, 2016
Written by: Eric Gage, Student Veterans of America's Director of Chapter Services
On August 29th and 30th I had the honor of attending UCO Veteran Orientation hosted by Central Veterans, the SVA chapter at the University of Central Oklahoma. The event took place in the UCO Nigh University Center Ballroom. It was an open house style event with many local and national veterans' organizations present, as well as different key offices from around campus. Student Veterans were invited to sign in, enter for door prizes and speak to all the groups and campus services in attendance. Each student veteran who attended the event and talked to every exhibiter in attendance got a special prize. New and returning student veterans came away with valuable contacts and resources, along with prizes.
While on campus, chapter leaders and I had the honor of attending meetings with different campus, community, and state officials to improve the campus and community for student veterans.
I also was taken on an amazing campus tour. We stopped by a few campus offices, and made stops at the campus wellness center as well as an Olympic and Paralympics training site that was preparing to send athletes off to the Rio 2016 Paralympics games. We also made sure to spend some time at the campus veterans center. The University of Central Oklahoma Veterans office is very impressive. Located on the second floor of the library, it contains a computer lab, study spaces, and resource offices, as well as a kitchen space and lounge. The kitchen and lounge were of special interest to me since Central Veterans were awarded a 2014 Vet Center Initiative Grant. It was great to see the funds from the VCI 2014 grant put to good use.
After the students and exhibiters departed, I joined the chapter leaders to do some evaluating of the event. We discussed what went well and what could be improved for next semester. I was very impressed by not only the event, but also by the number of student veterans who signed up and paid dues to be an active member of Central Veterans for the school year. Most SVA chapters do not collect dues, but Central Veterans has chosen to. Payment of dues includes full membership voting rights, and the rights to attend chapter events and activities, along with a chapter t-shirt. Before leaving I also spent time working with the chapter's leaders on developing their chapter. Central Veterans is a very active group, with many chapter programs and events. This chapter is made up of hard charging student leaders with lots of support from campus administrators and staff. The students, as well as staff and administrators, were amazing hosts.
After our time was up, it was time for me to catch a flight back to DC. The Chapter Leaders of Central Veterans started off their school year strong, and I am confident they can keep the momentum going. Keep fighting the good fight Central Veterans!