Student Veterans of America

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					  Student Veterans of America




“Yesterday’s Warriors, Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders”
                      16 February 2009
          Veteran Symposium for Higher Education
     Derek Blumke -- Background

• Born and raised in Alanson, MI; 28 years old
• Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force
• Multiple overseas deployments since 9/11
  (Afghan Theater)
• AC-130H “Spectre” Gunship maintenance
  supervisor; 6 years active duty – 16th Special
  Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, FL
• Separated from service in 2005 for college



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     Derek Blumke -- Background

• Past 3 years 110th Fighter Wing, Michigan Air
  National Guard; Photographer/Public Affairs
• Started community college Fall 2005
• Transferred to The University of Michigan:
  Winter 2007
• Double Major: Psychology/Political Science
• Working with University of Michigan Depression
  Center on program for outreach and treatment of
  veterans for “Welcome Back Veterans” initiative
• Building proposal to cut suicide rates among all
  returning veterans
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      The Challenge for Veterans
        on College Campuses
• Applying while separating from the service
• Adjustment to campus environment
  – Inflexible / bureaucratic administrative structures at
    many universities
  – Greatest influx of combat veterans in last 40 years;
    will continue to increase in coming years
• Relations with general student population
• Desire for cohesive interaction with “true” peers
• A first step: Student Veterans Association at
  UMICH, formed in Fall 2007

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     Student Veterans of America
            Rapid growth from standing start

• Networking / organizing. “LGOPs” on Facebook
  – Inaugural conference (Chicago), January 2008: More
    than 25 groups represented
• The Mission:
  – Assist veterans in making their transition to academia
  – Assist universities in creating resources and changing
    policies to ensure veterans success at college
  – Advocate for veterans at the state and national levels
    so student veterans are provided every opportunity to
    succeed by our state and federal governments


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     Rapid Growth: Highlights
         Universal Need
• Spring 2008: Rapid growth in
  membership, visibility / profile, efforts to
  shape public policy
• Successfully advocated for passage /
  adoption of “21st Century GI Bill” (S.22)
• All-hands conference (Washington), June
  2008
  – More than 50 groups represented

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     Student Veterans of America
            Future Growth and Opportunities

• Preserve our independence and unique role
• Expand our mission and capabilities
  – Greater outreach to returning / separating veterans
  – More resources for veterans on campus (mental
    health, peer-to-peer counseling, academic
    assistance)  “Ranger Buddy” on campus
  – Maintain a non-partisan public profile!
• Professionalize the organization
  – Sustain a large, nationwide volunteer organization
  – Create a small “cadre” of full-time employees
    (coordination, continuity of operational effort, stability)
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        Resources for You
• Campus kit for veterans
• Military to college guide for student
  veterans
• Regional and National Conferences
  -Midwest Regional Conference: February
  27 and 28 at Cantigny in Wheaton, IL
  -National Conference: April 17-19 San
  Francisco, CA
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     Collaborative Opportunities
            What you need to do…
• Go to Website and select resources
• Organize vets on campus by setting up a
  meeting via email from registrars vet list
• Approach dean of students and university
  leadership.
• Understand that these people are adults,
  they are not the typical student.
• BECOME AN ADVOCATE. REACH OUT
  TO OTHER CAMPUSES!!!
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         Questions?
         Derek Blumke
derek.blumke@studentveterans.org
         231-330-8913
 Executive Director: John Powers
John.powers@studentveterans.org
         401-615-8225

www.studentveterans.org
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