Takeaways From My Summer Internship at SVA HQ
Written by: Marty Hernandez, UCLA Student Veterans of America Chapter President.
I recently concluded a five-week summer internship with the Student Veterans of America (SVA). What started out as just an idea, transformed into an opportunity and an experience that I will never forget. Two months ago, Jared Lyon, CEO and President of SVA along with Walter Tillman, Vice-President of Programs were on a tour of southern California SVA chapters. As the president of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)- SVA, I looked forward to meeting with them in hopes of establishing a closer relationship between UCLA and the national SVA in Washington D.C. We discussed many issues that are impacting the student veteran community, both in Los Angeles and throughout the country. We discussed the transformative power of higher education and how it can be utilized at the local chapter level to make the biggest impact with the veterans on our campus.
How SVA Helped Me Grow As A Policy Advocate
Written by: Christina Giordano, SVA Policy Associate who is currently a senior at the George Washington University pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.), International Business and Marketing.
Working as a Policy Associate at Student Veterans of America has been an invaluable experience. I’ve learned a lot about veterans affairs but also general life lessons. Let’s start with veterans affairs, besides doing a deep dive with the GI Bill, I now understand the importance of veterans resource centers, VSOCs and the peer-to-peer support through SVA chapters.
Takeaways From My First SVA Leadership Summit
Written by: Becky Patterson, U.S. Navy veteran and SVA Chapter Liaison/AmeriCorps*VISTA Member
I attended my first SVA Leadership Summit recently here in Washington, D.C. I was a Chapter Leader for two years, and shame on me for not making it to one earlier. The summit started off with a service project, new to the agenda this year. A group of strangers came together to help the National Park Service; a group of strangers who were no longer that at the end of the summit. By the end of the service project, friendships were already forming, which only strengthened throughout the weekend.
Turning Words Into Actions
Written by: Dan Standage, SVA's Director of Disability in Education.
Have you ever known someone who lives payday to payday, but routinely celebrates at a local bar or club? Do you live in a neighborhood with a community space, and the one neighbor whose yard is a complete wreck, is constantly complaining about the homeowner's association (HOA) not doing a better job? How about your middle school PE coach, who could have been Paul Blart Mall Cop, and insisted that you take yet another lap? Ironic isn't it? The irony is prevalent in the disability space too. On July 26th, the United States celebrated the 26th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This important piece of legislation helps ensure people with disabilities are given the same opportunities as people without disabilities. It's not meant to be Robin Hood; taking away from the non-disabled and giving to the disabled. However, the perception of the ADA and people with disabilities tends to be negative.
What the SVA Leadership Institute Helped Create for My Chapter
Written by: Jonathan Granata, a United States Air Force veteran and former president of the SVA chapter at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Granata currently works as a Development Specialist at SVA HQ, while pursuing his MA in Organizational Leadership at George Washington University.
I first heard about the 2015 Leadership Institute in Savannah, Georgia when I was attending the Google Leadership Summit in NYC. I was instantly interested when I heard that it was specifically for chapter leaders and was focused on the broad scope of how to build and maintain a sustainable SVA chapter. Each day we broke down individual aspects of topics that every chapter faces on campus such as membership, marketing, effective communication, recruiting, fundraising, and policy. We were instructed on best practices by the SVA staff and heard from corporate leadership on what they look for from veterans. The most beneficial aspect of the institute was how Student Veterans of America provided the forum for all of the chapter leaders to network and provide best practices and experiences. Hearing what other chapters (both well-established and brand new ones) had done to make a positive impact with their members and on their campus was a huge advantage. Building these relationships between chapter leaders gave us the opportunity to communicate and ask questions far after the institute.