‘Best Place for Vets’ in Full Force at Student Veterans of America Conference

Syracuse University student veterans and members of the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the Veterans Affinity Group, and University admissions attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference in San Antonio in early January.

Syracuse University turned the Lone Star State orange recently as over 20 Orange student veterans, the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs (OVMA), the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), the team from the Veterans Affinity Group, and University admissions attended the Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference in San Antonio in early January.

Syracuse boasted the largest Student Veteran Organization student chapter in attendance and in total the University had over 30 people at the conference. SVA’s national conference is the largest annual gathering of student veterans, advocates, thought leaders, stakeholders and supporters in higher education in the world. Over 2,000 student veterans, higher education professionals, alumni and employers attend for training, recruiting and fact-finding about opportunities for student veterans.

The three-day conference consisted of breakout sessions geared toward student veteran success and post-graduation opportunities. Syracuse University had the most presentation and panel discussions—five—than any other university, sharing “best practices” (campus resources, culture, research and analytics, entrepreneurship, financial literacy) with other universities and solidifying the University’s commitment to making the University the “Best Place for Veterans.”

Leaders from OVMA and the University led a panel discussion about the role on-campus resources play in maximizing student veteran networks, resources and the importance of professional networking as well as critical financial literacy.

IVMF’s Research and Evaluation team’s presentation focused on debunking the myths surrounding veterans as college students and discussed empirical evidence touting the benefits of enrolling these non-traditional students on a campus. In addition, IVMF delivered training on entrepreneurship in conjunction with key University partners—First Data, Disney and the Small Business Administration —reinforcing the program and resources available to student veterans interested in starting a business while pursuing education.

Student veterans were able to network with members from the OVMA, IVMF and University admissions learning about all that Syracuse University has to offer to student veterans on campus and at training programs around the U.S.

“It is critical to empower our student veterans and afford them the opportunity to attend the SVA National Conference, where they learn a great deal of best practices, bring those back to campus to further enrich their student experience and that of others at Syracuse University,” says Ron Novack, OVMA executive director. “None of this could happen without the generous support of our gracious donors and supporters of the Veterans Legacy Fund(VLF), who enabled us to send our 20 student veterans to the conference this year. We hope others will join the VLF and help us increase that number next year.”

James Gilchrest, Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow at the IVMF and National Guardsman, attended the conference. “I was ecstatic when I learned I would be going to #NatCon2018. I am a former SVA chapter president and have always wanted to attend,” Gilchrest says. “During NatCon I made it my personal mission to share the programs IVMF offers as well as OVMA’s unique and supportive services on campus. I also made great connections with employers and other organizations who are terrific support resources for me as a student veteran. I’m proud to be affiliated with a university that keeps the needs of student veterans at the top of their priority list.”

Katy Quartaro ’18 USMC veteran and secretary of Syracuse University’s SVO, as well as a team leader for PAVE also attended. “One of the biggest things I learned at SVA NATCON was that the student veterans of Syracuse University are very lucky,” Quartaro says. “I do not think I would have been able to attend without the help of the University, OVMA and the Veteran Legacy Fund. The fact that I was able to focus on learning as much as possible without worrying about the financial impact, made the event that much better and reinforced the support student veterans here at SU really get.”

About Syracuse University

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private international research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering student success through teaching excellence, rigorous scholarship and interdisciplinary research. Comprising 11 academic schools and colleges, the University has a long legacy of excellence in the liberal arts, sciences and professional disciplines that prepares students for the complex challenges and emerging opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Students enjoy the resources of a 270-acre main campus and extended campus venues in major national metropolitan hubs and across three continents. Syracuse’s student body is among the most diverse for an institution of its kind across multiple dimensions, and students typically represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Syracuse also has a long legacy of supporting veterans and is home to the nationally recognized Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the first university-based institute in the U.S. focused on addressing the unique needs of veterans and their families.

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