My Campus Vet Center Was A Lifeline When I Needed It Most
Student Veterans of America | January 27, 2017
Written by: Ryne Tobar, a U.S. Navy Veteran and student at Duquesne University
The request to speak freely is not always an appeal to which permission is granted. I was a sailor who often tried to push etiquette with my superiors. Sometimes my boldness and candor was appreciated while at others it was met with reprimand. I cherish the ability to freely speak, a right guaranteed in the constitution that I took an oath to defend. It took an experience of having that right constricted to better understand the fullness of its possibility. Although I am again a civilian, I remain a veteran, and my experience in the military continues to shape the person I am today. What this means isn't always clear.
Ryne Tobar, pictured here at the Duquesne University Campus Vet Center
There are a lot of things that can't be taught in a college classroom. There are some things that must be experienced and experience takes time. Experience takes energy, it takes a certain amount of commitment. Experience requires a level of openness and the realization that an experience has changed who you are in some indescribable way. To try to communicate this to another may require twice as much energy, digging for words that feel like they have lost their meaning in the end. College is its own experience. Military service is certainly an experience of a very different type.
SVA Announce Semi-Finalists for the 5th Annual National Business Plan Competition, Sponsored by Bank of America
Student Veterans of America | December 7, 2016
SVA Chapter Grants, sponsored by Bank of America, are designed to encourage student veterans to think about long-term sustainability strategies and develop the best possible plans for their chapter. They can use these awards to fund events, conference travel, or purchases needed to enhance the experience for student veterans in an SVA Chapter.
Members of Santa Fe Community College SVA present during the 4th Annual
SVA National Business Plan Competition at NatCon 2016.
The winner of last year's SVA National Business Plan Competition, Santa Fe Community College, did as any good business would do, they leveraged the money they received from the SVA Chapter Grant, and the bonus grant for winning the business plan competition, in order to double their resources. By spending $1,500 from the award on raffle items, which they chose based on a survey of students on their campus, they were able to more than double their resources and raised almost $4,000. With that money, they were able to engage in teambuilding activities, like white water rafting, and produce an end of year luncheon to honor all the student veterans that were graduating from SFCC.
Student Veterans Bring Unity to OSU Following Monday's Attack
Student Veterans of America | December 2, 2016
Written By: Gretchen Klingler, President of Vets 4 Vets: Student Veterans of America at The Ohio State University
Throughout the campus attack at OSU on Monday November 28th, veterans in our community were using social media to check on each other. We set up several social media posts where people could like or comment that they were safe, and it was amazing to see how close we are as a student veteran community, if someone didn't check in on one message thread, we'd quickly act using phone calls, text messages and any other means of communication available to check on each other.
After learning about the #BuckeyeStrong event at St. John Arena on Tuesday night, we reached out to our members to participate and come together after the tragic events that unfolded on campus on Monday. Early Tuesday evening, veterans started filtering into our campus veterans lounge. The veterans involved in Vets 4 Vets and those who frequent the lounge are a tight-knit group, and we all know each other pretty well. Once we were gathered, we decided to carry a flag with us that was reminiscent of the American flag, with scarlet and gray stripes and an Ohio State Block O in place for the blue field of stars. It was by far the most fitting symbol for us as veterans and as Buckeyes to be carrying to an event meant as a symbol of our solidarity as veterans with our university.
Members of the Ohio State SVA Chapter, Vets 4 Vets attended Tuesday's Buckeye Strong event.
When we arrived at St. John Arena, we were asked by the campus alumni association why we all decided to come together, and we explained that as student veterans, sometimes we are removed from the traditional student experience. By coming together as a unit and attending the event together, not only were we among peers, but we also had the opportunity to show our support to the university as a unified group.
SVA On the Road: Teaming Up with George W. Bush to Serve Wounded Warriors
Student Veterans of America | October 28, 2016
Written by: Derek Fronabarger, SVA's Director of Policy
Of the many different projects that Student Veterans of America works on, it's the ones that bring communities and student veterans together that are the most rewarding. Traveling around the country, talking with chapter leaders and student veterans is not only a way to build new relationships but also talk with the people that we as an organization serve.
When working in D.C., you can get stuck on "inside the beltway" issues and you need to get out to remember why SVA works so hard for veterans. Recently, I had the privilege to travel to Crawford, Texas for one of our student veteran service projects. Service projects are local events where student veterans have the chance to give back to communities by cleaning up playgrounds, assisting homeless shelters, and other activates that serve their communities. This particular event qucickly became the highlight of my year. We were asked to assist in a trail cleanup at the Bush Ranch owned by President George W. Bush.
SVA's Derek Fronabarger along with President George W. Bush and
SVA's President and CEO, Jared Lyon
Local chapters responded to the President's request to help clean debris off of the 100 kilometers of bike trails for the the W100. The W100 is a bike race for disabled veterans that not only promotes teamwork but helps wounded warriors to trust themselves and push their bodies to the limit.
To Orlando and Back Again: How SVA Chapter Grants Can Impact Student Veterans
Student Veterans of America | October 26, 2016
Written by: Stephanie Stavrenos, a U.S. Army Veteran and SVA Chapter Leader at Saint Xavier University.
When my chapter developed its business plan last year during the SVA Leadership Institute Series, we had no idea that our hard work was about to be recognized on a national level. We had been crossing our fingers that we would be awarded an SVA Chapter Grant, a $2000 check that would send our members to NatCon 2016. Everyone was so excited when we received word from SVA that we secured the grant, but shocked and amazed to also receive an invitation to participate in the National Business Plan Competition at Natcon! At first I didn't understand; I didn't remember entering any contest and we hadn't designed our plan with any thoughts of being competitive. Instead, we designed it around the passion we have to improve the lives of veterans on our campus, and the enthusiasm we feel in being part of such an awesome organization. Now we had been selected for having one of the top six business plans in the country, and we proudly accepted the invitation.
Stephanie Stavrenos seen here speaking at a 2015 SVA Leadership Summit.