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Student Veterans Alliance members attend conference

The WKU Student Veterans Alliance (SVA) was well represented at the Student Veterans of America National Conference Jan. 7-9 in Orlando, Florida.

Members of WKU’s Student Veterans Alliance attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference Jan. 7-9 in Orlando, Florida. Front row (from left): Joe Hunter and Rick Wright; back row (from left): WKU SVA President Chris Parker and WKU SVA Vice President-Elect Colin Smith.

Members of WKU’s Student Veterans Alliance attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference Jan. 7-9 in Orlando, Florida. Front row (from left): Joe Hunter and Rick Wright; back row (from left): WKU SVA President Chris Parker and WKU SVA Vice President-Elect Colin Smith.

SVA President Chris Parker of Portland, Tennessee, led the delegation that included Vice President-Elect Colin Smith of Russellville, Joe Hunter of Bowling Green and Chapter Advisor Rick Wright of Bowling Green. Wright works on campus as the Coordinator/Counselor for the Veterans Upward Bound Project.

“I’m very proud of our SVA chapter for sending so many members to this important conference,” Wright said. “They worked very hard to raise the money to cover the cost of this trip. It’s a professional development experience that will help them in many ways. They learned lots of best practices for running a student veterans organization in Orlando. I know they will bring those good ideas back to Bowling Green to make the SVA even more successful in the years ahead.”

WKU Military Student Services Director Tonya Archey of Glasgow also attended along with MSS staff members Kent Johnson and Joshua Smith, both of Bowling Green.

Nearly 2,000 people, including student veterans, college administrators, government officials, corporate representatives and others from across the United States, registered for the eighth annual conference. The event included workshops, panel discussions, keynote speeches and an awards banquet.

Student Veterans of America Board of Directors Chairman Rodrigo Garcia welcomed everyone to the conference by saying, “We have all come together in the Sunshine State with one mission in mind: Student Veterans Success.”

The educational sessions covered topics like the GI Bill, working with women veterans, veteran focused programming, survivor support, serving the military population, scholarships, leadership and transitioning to the workforce. The featured speaker was The Honorable Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Before a full house, McDonald conducted a Town Hall to update everyone about all the changes he is trying to make within the VA.

The Student Veterans of America, founded in 2007, oversees more than 1,300 collegiate chapters from its national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Student Veterans of America supports local chapters through leadership training, grants, and networking opportunities that facilitate the development of student organizations.

WKU’s SVA affiliated with the Student Veterans of America in the summer of 2010. Its mission is to provide WKU military veterans with the resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. For information about the SVA, visit www.wku.edu/sva or email student.veterans@wku.edu. The SVA office is located in Tate Page Hall, room 415.

Contact: Rick Wright, (270) 745-5008

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