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Creating Success on Purpose, Rather than by Happenstance

Student Veterans of America | October 6, 2017

Written By: Travis Bartholomew, Deputy Executive Director and Chief of National Engagement Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

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If there’s one thing my time in the military has highlighted for me, it’s my ability to tolerate just about anything as long as I can mark an end-date on the calendar. I think that’s true for many people who serve, and one of the reasons student veterans are so successful. We recognize our classes and courses for what they are – a means to an end.

Of course, “the end” is as unique as each of us. Many seek a degree or certificate to improve their career opportunities.  Some crave knowledge for knowledge’s sake.  Others have a drive to show themselves and the world they can reach their goals. 


Whatever our motivations, reaching “the end” is a huge milestone for us all, but too many of us show up not knowing where to go. That was certainly the case for me. Thankfully, an opportunity to mobilize and deploy dropped in my lap, and the network I built during that period led to a federal civilian position shortly after I came home. 

As I look back, I think about how I might recreate that success on purpose, rather than by happenstance. My current position with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) offers me the ability to put those thoughts into action to help student veterans arrive at “the end” better equipped than I was.   

ESGR has entered into a partnership with Student Veterans of America (SVA) to help student veterans enhance their resumes and build their networks in five pilot ESGR Committees:  Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia.  Through our mission of maintaining supportive work environments for National Guard and Reserve service members, student veterans can gain valuable experience with a Department of Defense agency and work with business and government leaders in their communities.  All it takes are a few hours of your time each month to volunteer with your state or territory ESGR Committee. 

As veterans, we know the power of volunteer service; we lived it by volunteering to serve our nation.  We also know volunteering can present challenges. Why else would our Navy brethren have invented the acronym “Never Again Volunteer Yourself?”  That said, ESGR offers a very flexible platform for volunteer service. 

We have a wide variety of volunteer roles, ranging from employer outreach, to public affairs, and on to our ombudsmen, who provide neutral mediation for service members and employers. In many of these roles, volunteers need not leave the comfort of their own couch. In others, volunteers are front-and-center for large-scale public events. Your type and level of participation are truly in your hands, and that’s important when there are so many demands on your time and talents.

If I’ve piqued your interest, and you’d like to learn more about preparing for “the end,” please contact our Chief of Employer Engagement, Tom Bullock, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also follow us on social media at Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.  


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