Stay Engaged this Summer with Chapter Events
As the summer term begins for chapters across the country, SVA is excited to announce nationwide events you can participate in to help keep your chapter engaged.
Mark your calendar for the Regional Summits starting in August! The program has been redesigned with enhanced curriculum relevant to all chapter leaders and aspiring chapter leaders. Watch your inbox and social media for registration announcements.
Pride Block Party
June is Pride Month! Pride block parties are an integral part of LGBTQ+ pride celebrations across the country. Again this year the pandemic has caused many pride parades, festivals, and block parties to be canceled for the safety reasons, but we can still celebrate our pride and make an impact in the community around us.
We welcome your chapter to join a coalition of veteran organizations and partners for the Pride Block Party. This is a virtual event to celebrate pride and engage members in camaraderie, solidarity, and action in your local community and neighborhood by cleaning up your block and making a positive impact on those around you. This coalition of organizations and volunteers is committed to leaving the world a better place than we found it.
Ways to participate:
- Organize a trash cleanup around campus at a local park or nearby street
- Host a canned food drive
- Volunteer for your campus LGBTQ+ organization(s)
- Weed communal flower beds
- Volunteer at your local animal shelter
- Mow your neighbor’s lawn
- Campus mural (with permission)
- Practice and promote Self-care
SVA also encourages chapters to get involved in Pride events within your community. Chapters can participate in Pride Parades and in-person block parties.
The White House announced a goal for 70% of the U.S. adult population to have one vaccine shot and 160 million U.S. adults to be fully vaccinated by July 4th. Student Veterans of America has partnered with Team Rubicon and other veterans’ organization to form the Veterans Coalition for Vaccination for the purpose of uniting and mobilizing a nationwide network of veterans to ensure equitable access to vaccinations for all Americans. You and your chapter can assist the vaccination effort in your community in ways that are meaningful and leverage your unique skills, expertise, and experience you developed in military.
- Assist in a vaccination site operation. This includes assisting with site coordination, planning, logistics, traffic direction, check-in administration, and volunteer management.
- If your team has the resources help establish a new vaccination site within your community or one in your area that is underserved.
- If you or members of your chapter are medically qualified, you can directly support the vaccination effort by administering vaccines to those who need it most.
- Get vaccinated if you are willing and able to! Share your experience with those you know and encourage them to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Additionally, chapters can indirectly assist in the United States’ mission to reach herd immunity by:
- Combating misinformation when you see or hear it.
- Using community resources provided by the CDC. As some chapters begin to resume or increase their level of activities, the link offers considerations for ways your organization can help protect individuals and communities and slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Going online and using the social media toolkit to encourage COVID vaccinations.
Fourth Of July
As Independence Day approaches, this year’s festivities won’t look that same as a traditional year, but with the U.S. reaching its vaccination goal we understand that chapters are getting back together in person. With that in mind, SVA always recommends following your campus guidelines regarding the health and safety of your chapter and other students.
Socially distanced event Ideas:
- A July 4 weekend hike/ruck/run with family groups spaced at least 6’ apart.
- Outdoor screening of movies relating to American independence. If available in your area, work with a drive-in theater. Some ideas are:
- Independence Day
- The Patriot
- Hamilton: An American Musical
- National Treasure
- The Sandlot
- Captain America
- If your community is hosting a 4th of July Parade, participate in it with your chapter members. Make sure to check with your city, town, or organization representatives who are hosting the parade.
- Have a BBQ or picnic. Invite your chapter member families to participate in a potluck or by working with a local community partner to donate food.
Virtual Event Ideas:
- Virtual movie watch party.
- Virtual tour of American independence specific landmarks or museums or structures (historic buildings, battlefields, monuments, etc.).
- Have a virtual happy hour to catch up with chapter members who might not be on campus during the summer.
- Start an at-home care package drive, with a hashtag so chapter and community members can post to social media.
As always, we encourage you to reach out to local and neighboring chapters or VSO for partnered events! Don’t forget to share your events by tagging social media posts with #SVALeads and @studentvets, or by contacting us.
Plan a Back-to-School Event & 9/11 Day of Service
With the start of a new academic year approaching, now is the time to start thinking about your first back-to-school event. SVA encourages all chapters to follow your campus guidelines when it comes to programming.
It does not matter if your event will be face-to-face or virtual but SVA is encouraging all chapters to start planning their first event now, and also take the time to think about the 9/11 day of service as we approach the 20th anniversary.
SVA has partnered with the National 9/11 Day of Service Coalition to inspire as many as 100 million acts of service and kindness in tribute to those killed and injured on 9/11, first responders, recovery workers, and members of our military community. Ideas include:
- Host a neighborhood clean up.
- Encourage members to check in on their neighbors.
- Volunteer for and/or donate for hunger relief efforts.
- Host a school supply drive.
As you plan your day of service, we ask you to remember and honor those we lost that day. The 9/11 Day of Service will remind all Americans of the importance of working together, through service, to help solve our nation’s problems
How do you plan a virtual event?
Keep it short, focus on how to keep the audience engaged because they can log off at any time, and practice as much as you can beforehand. Virtual events should be kept simple, because flashy initiatives won’t be as impressive on a computer screen.
Understand your audience.
It is key to have a solid grasp of your audience’s general attitude and interests. A few questions to ask include:
- What subject areas are they most interested in?
- How familiar or active are they with basic social media?
- Have they been out of the house recently?
- Send out surveys or start a discussion forum to acquire answers from your audience. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you get the information one way or another.
Define your format.
Just like live events, virtual event planning comes in many formats. It could be a seminar with one person taking the stage, or it could be more like a trade show or workshop. The key is to create a unique experience, something that is different than what your campus or community is already experiencing.
Choose a platform.
There are so many live-streaming services out there. Some of the popular options include Periscope, Facebook Livestream, and YouTube Live. These services offer the same basic features; it really is more a matter of personal preference. For virtual interaction, there’s Zoom.
Choose a host.
Who will be hosting the event? Whoever the designated person is, they should be able to speak clearly, respond to questions fielded though social media, introduce speakers if you have them, and so on.
The host also needs to respond at the spur of the moment to unexpected events. If the scheduled speaker is late, for example, could the host continue to come up with things to say to keep viewers from signing out? Or, your event can be hosted by multiple people, engaging with one another to provide a more dynamic experience between speakers, panels, etc.
Market your event.
Virtual events have to be marketed just like a typical live event. This is where social media comes into play. Yes, there are the usual methods of Facebook posting and tweeting. You have to go beyond that, though, and also incorporate other methods. Perhaps you can use Instagram or Snapchat to show viewers the venue where the event will take place. Social media posts can also include links to other content, such as speaker bios, vlogs, or a tutorial video on how to log into the livestream.
Don’t forget the event hashtag and use it frequently, while urging followers to do the same. If you have email subscribers, use your newsletters as another promotional tool with links to the event signup page and other promo material. Always include #SVALeads to be a part of the national conversation and tag SVA!
Choose the venue.
Just because it’s a virtual event doesn’t mean it should be held in your bedroom or at your kitchen table. Changing the scenery for many people will bring them back to a sense of normal, even if it’s through Zoom. Consider hosting your virtual event outside, or on a stage at a podium!