The veterans and active duty soldiers that make up 10 percent of the UWT student body have a new resource through a recently established registered student organization.
The Student Veteran Organization started early last quarter, and registered as a chapter of the national organization, Student Veterans of America, near the end of December.
The goal of the organization is to be a resource for veterans and active duty, really anyone who can take advantage of VA benefits, as they make the transition from the military to student life.
Since its establishment, the club has spent much of its time talking with prospective students from Joint Base Lewis–McChord. Members describe the campus experience, answer questions, and encourage soldiers to apply. They are also available to help student veterans or active duty get situated on campus in any way that they can.
Now the group wants to expand its membership and increase its involvement in the community.
“In the military they urge volunteer work, and a lot of us want to continue that even though we are out of uniform,” said Ted Alger, the organization’s secretary.
Alger said the SVO hopes to expand into serving the families of deployed soldiers, particularly in partnership with the local Veterans of Foreign Affairs. They also plan to become involved with the USO, and partner with UWT’s Diversity Resource Center to help plan the Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day celebrations.
Ultimately, however, Alger said the club wants membership to drive the projects and activities, and they are now working to recruit new members.
The SVA has chapters in all 50 states and three countries, and is sponsored by many corporate entities such as Google, Bank of America and Disney. As registered members of the SVA, club members are able to apply for a variety of scholarships and grants that these companies fund.
The SVA also advocates for the education of soldiers on a national level. Alger said the organization has become the go–to expert on the G.I. Bill in Washington D.C.
“They have quite a voice,” he said.
According to the SVA website, they are currently fighting for in–state tuition waivers in states that do not provide such benefits, including Washington, where passage of a pending piece of legislation would remove the one–year waiting period to establish residency for veterans and active duty.
The club meets the first Monday of every month during lunch hour in BHS 104. For further information contact Jesse Schweizer at firstname.lastname@example.org.