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SVA conference: A student veteran’s perspective

shutterstock_122720824Last month the Student Veterans of America held their annual national conference in Scottsdale, AZ. A group of SVA of National Louis University members attended the conference. In the post below, Trevor Barr, a student veteran at NLU, shares his most memorable “takeaways” from the event and how he and his peers are going to act upon key conference learnings to support the veteran community. …

The Student Veterans of America conference in Scottsdale, Arizona was nothing short of an empowering and motivating experience.

The most important point that I got from our breakout sessions was the goal of sustainable change. The object of sustainable change is to produce intervention by an organization while providing continuous change with longevity. As the SVA at National Louis continuously progresses, it is important that we leave something that will continue to grow long after this current generation of students graduates. We plan to do this with renewed outreach to our student vets and by providing them with much needed services that are not yet available to them.

One such issue that needs to be resolved with veterans is “gap pay.” I was in need of this service over the winter break when I didn’t receive any GI Bill funding for almost two months. Since no classes were scheduled during the long winter break, no money was given to the student vets for housing. This is a problem that some chapters are already taking on by creating funds that will be made available so that student vets will be able to pay their rent.

For outreach, we will be striving to host engaging events that our fellow student vets can attend. This will allow networking opportunities and a chance to enjoy student life at NLU. One example is an event hosted by the SVA chapter of NLU for NLU student veterans. It will take place at Dave and Busters in Chicago on Friday, February 7. The purpose of the event is to offer an opportunity for student veterans to meet their peers and the NLU Veterans Program staff. Registration is limited to the first 20 student veterans, active service members, and/or military dependents. Click this link to register.

We also attended former Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey’s  keynote speech. General Casey works very hard with the veteran community to empower them to be leaders and pivotal assets in social and business circles. In order for student veterans to achieve their full potential as student leaders, he talked about his “six keys to success for student veterans.”

  1. Don’t sell yourself short.
  2. Learn to ask for help and to accept help (function as a member of a team).
  3. Get connected and stay connected (network and build relationships).
  4. Stay fit (physically and mentally).
  5. Graduate.
  6. Be bold.