Student veterans from universities representing 13 states from every region of the country gathered in Chicago to found Student Veterans of America (SVA). Their goal is to address the issues facing student veterans.
DART Student Veterans of America is beginning, through grassroots efforts by student veterans, to advocate for much needed changes to current policies dealing with the education of veterans. SVA has already begun to assist student veterans in the development of student veteran organizations at their respective institutions. In the future SVA will continue to advocate on and off campus, and assist universities in providing adequate resources and programs for veterans.
As part of its core mission SVA is committed to placing student veterans' resource offices or coordinators on college campuses. As SVA President Derek Blumke stated in a recent interview, "the majority of campuses throughout the nation currently lack the infrastructure to support returning veterans." Additionally, "veterans are incredibly intelligent and well rounded individuals. They simply need programs set up so when they arrive to campus they are welcomed with open arms." These resource offices will assist veterans in educating them on their benefits, providing them with the resources required to succeed in school, and in their transition from the service member to the student.
The conference had national representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Modern Wars, The National Association of Veterans' Program Administrators, and the Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois departments of veterans' affairs attended and offered their full support of this new organization.
Student Veterans of America is gaining national momentum, and will meet in Washington D.C. during the spring of 2008 to further develop coordination between student veterans groups on college and university campuses nationwide.
For more information about the convention or Student Veterans of America, please contact John Mikelson (University of Iowa) at (319) 384-2020.