Programs and Services - Student Veterans of America by maclaren1



  Strategic Summary

       P.O. Box 77673
    Washington D.C. 20013
                             Student Veterans of America
                                         Strategic Summary
Today’s generation of veterans face a tremendous set of obstacles in their path to attaining a college
degree. These challenges range from a missing sense of camaraderie experienced while serving, to a
lack of understanding by university faculty and students on the experiences of military service. To combat
these obstacles, student veterans from across the country have come together to form Student Veterans of
America and are now working to assist their brothers and sisters in their new mission of attaining a
college degree.

As veterans return from war and join the campus environment, many have found they tend to stand out
from the typical undergraduate and have been finding it even more difficult to successfully integrate into
the normal flow of campus life. While being older than the rest of the student body can add to the
isolation veterans face, many also come from diverse backgrounds and may be the first in their family to
pursue a college degree. These factors, coupled with the visible and invisible wounds of war, make the
attainment of a college degree an extremely daunting task for the men and women returning from military
To combat these difficulties, Student Veterans of America has been working with veteran service
organizations (VSOs), non-profit organizations and The Department of Veterans Affairs to create
uniquely tailored programs to assist the increasing number of veterans who will be arriving to campus to
utilize the Post 9/11 GI Bill. These programs range from mental health and suicide prevention to
programs built to assist wounded and injured service members make the transition from military hospitals
to college campuses.
The needs of returning veterans have become well-understood and visible, and having grown to more than
more than 200 chapters in our first two years of existence, we are proud of our progress to date. SVA has
been working to create a positive environment on campuses for those who have chosen to pursue a
college degree to enhance their lives, and as a result of these efforts would like to see even more soldiers
choose education as an essential phase of reintegration to civilian life.
Through education, advocacy and service, Student Veterans of America is dedicated to creating an
environment that fosters a smooth transition into institutions of higher learning from military service.
Specifically, SVA strives to:

 Assist veterans in their         Coordinate and assist in              Advocate on behalf of
 successful transition to         the development of                    student veterans on the
 academia through the             programs and policies on              state and national levels
 empowerment and                  campuses to aid in the
 support of student               transition from combat to
 veterans organizations           the classroom
Programs and Services
Student Veterans of America is creating a wide range of programs and services to provide the necessary
conditions for veterans to successfully transition from military service to academia. These program areas
focus on transitional assistance, education and career advancement, organizational development and

National Programs
SVA Chapter Grant System
The SVA Chapter Grant system provides member chapters of Student Veterans of America (SVA) with
the resources necessary to accomplish the SVA mission at the local level.

While member chapters of SVA are student groups at their respective institutions, many of these groups
lack adequate funds to hold basic events such as movie screenings, speakers, social networking events
and career fairs. SVA Chapters with access to resources via their educational institutions often find that
the school heavily limits the scope and purpose of their activities.

In order to facilitate the activities of individual chapters, SVA will provide access to funding for specific
events on and off-campus.

SVA National Scholarship Program
While the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides increased funding for many veterans of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, the cost of attending college is still a major obstacle to degree completion facing veterans.

In order to fill the gap left by inadequate GI Bill funding SVA is developing a scholarship fund to directly
support those veterans who have the greatest need. This scholarship will be available to any veteran who
is a member of one of SVA’s 246 member chapters.

SVA Conferences
In order to facilitate and broaden peer-to-peer networking and veteran’s educational advancement
throughout the nation, SVA facilitates national, regional and state conferences. These conferences
provide the opportunity for the exchange of ideas, training and the provision of resources and the means
to discuss future endeavors for Student Veterans of America. These conferences are invaluable in
ensuring that student veterans and SVA Chapters continue to discuss the issues affecting returning
veterans and construct solutions to such issues by interacting with other members of SVA.

Student Veterans of America has taken on an important role to represent the interests of its members and
student veterans across the country in its communication with congressmen, executive officials and the
White House. SVA has and will continue to work with the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars
and other VSOs to ensure that student veterans receive the benefits they have earned through their
military service.
Transition Assistance Programs

Wounded Injured and Ill Veterans Educational Transition Team (VETT)
Student Veterans of America is partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to assist wounded
injured and ill veterans (WII) veterans make the transition from the military hospitals and Warrior
Transition Units to which they are assigned to college campuses through peer mentorship and

The WII VETT Program will assist WII Veterans in attaining their academic goals by mentoring and
connecting wounded and injured veterans at the military hospitals with members of local SVA Chapters.
Student veterans will participate as “peer mentors” to motivate and educate WII Veterans of the
opportunities available at college. To compliment the support and mentorship provided by the student
veterans at the hospitals and the military bases, each wounded or injured veteran is then assigned a
sponsor at the school he or she plans to attend. The sponsor is then responsible for assisting the WII
Veteran in the application process, finding housing, registering for classes and connecting the veteran
with the local social network provided by the SVA Chapter.

SVA Mental Health Program
Approximately 30-40% of the service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have
reported symptoms of PTSD, TBI, depression and other related anxiety disorders. In the past six months
alone, Student Veterans of America has lost four of its members to suicide and has thousands of its
members struggling with depression and post-traumatic stress.

To combat these tragedies, SVA is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National
Network of Depression Centers to create a peer-to-peer suicide prevention/mental health program; The
Jed Foundation, MTVu, and the national student mental health organization, Active Minds, to create a
public service announcement campaign to destigmatize mental health on college campuses; the non-profit
organization Give an Hour, which has a network of more than 4,500 mental health providers nationwide
who have volunteered to assist with the mental health needs of veterans and their families; and SVA is
looking to partner with other organizations and governmental agencies to help decrease the number of
suicides within the student veteran communities.

SVA’s Mental Health Program (MHP) will be a four-tier initiative that makes use of the communal bonds
that already exist among veterans. The SVA MHP relies on peer-to-peer assistance and referrals, and just
as veterans have been trained to be Wingmen or Battle Buddies while on active duty, they will again be
tasked to look out for one another.

This program will provide members of SVA with gate keeper and referral training and will be
complimented with training videos and manuals to further educate SVA members on the struggles their
fellow student veterans may be facing.

Rodrigo Garcia - Board Chairman
Rodrigo Garcia is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2006. He graduated from
Northeastern Illinois University summa cum laude in December of 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in
Finance, and with an MBA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in May 2009. Rodrigo has been
previously employed by Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and
is currently employed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Derek Blumke - President
Derek Blumke served six years in the U.S. Air Force to include three deployments in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom. Shortly after transitioning to the Air National Guard, Derek attained an
associate’s degree from North Central Michigan College. In January of 2007, he transferred to the
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Political
Science. In 2007 he founded a student veterans group at the University of Michigan, and in 2008 Derek
co-founded Student Veterans of America with Elizabeth O’Herrin and Luke Stalcup.

Michael Dakduk – Vice-President
Michael Dakduk’s tours of duty include Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Michael now attends the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is pursuing a B.S. in Public Administration.

Marello Harris - Secretary
Marello Harris enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in February 1991 and served nine years on
active duty. He has worked as Executive Protection Guard for the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, DC,
and Veterans Employment Specialist for the Georgia Department of Labor. He obtained an associate’s
degree in general business from Athens Technical College, and in 2008 he transferred to Kennesaw State
University for completion of a BA in Accounting with a minor in Management.

Peter Meijer – Board Member
Peter Meijer started his Army career at the United States Military Academy at West Point before
transferring to Columbia University. At Columbia, Peter continues to serve as an NCO in the US Army
Reserves while actively participating in NYC veterans’ issues with the Military Veterans at Columbia
University. Originally from Grand Rapids, MI, Peter is the grandson of retail magnate Frederik Meijer,
and through two family businesses has grown up surrounded by a diverse assortment of corporate and
non-profit networks.

Luke Stalcup - Board Member
Luke Stalcup deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2002 and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since
2004, Luke has achieved a double major in Math and Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures
from Columbia University, and he is now working on his master’s degree at the School of Foreign
Service at Georgetown University. Luke served for two years as the president of US Military Veterans of
Columbia University. In 2008 Luke co-founded Student Veterans of America with Derek Blumke and
Elizabeth O’Herrin.

Nathaniel Donnelly - Board Member
Nathaniel Donnelly served as an infantry Marine for eight years and is an Iraq War Veteran. He
graduated from San Diego State University in May of 2009 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in
International Security and Conflict Resolution. He now serves as the Employment Committee Chairman
for the San Diego United Veterans Council, the Panama Operations Manager for Swing Associates, and
the Corporate and Government Relations Officer for SCHAP.

Current Staff
David Inkellis- Office Director
David Inkellis graduated from the University of Michigan in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in History. He
plans on joining his parents in law, possibly with the Navy Judge Advocate General. David assists with
the day-to-day operations in the Student Veterans of America headquarters in Washington, DC. David
previously worked as an administrative assistant for online customer service at ProQuest in Ann Arbor,
Projected STAFFING
Position                                               Salary
Executive Director                                     $50,000
Programs Director                                      $40,000
Development Director (funded)                          $39,000

          Program Group                     Strategy                                  Budget
          National Programs                 Chapter Grant System (Unfunded)           $50,000
                                            SVA Scholarship Program                   $50,000
                                            Annual National Conference                $35,000
                                            Regional Conferences (Funded)             $34,000
          Organizational Development        VETT (Funded, 1 Intern)                   $12,000
                                            Mental Health Program                     Project in
                                            Development                               Development
          Management and General            Executive Staffing and Benefits           $129,000

                                            Executive Travel                          $4,000
                                            Supplies and Contractual Services         $7,300
          TOTAL                                                                       $321,300
Student Veterans of America’s member chapters have made an incredible impact on the lives of
thousands of veterans. United as SVA, student veterans are making a difference in this country, and have
been for two years, including SVA’s integral role in the passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Student
Veterans of America is proud to continue serving America’s returning heroes and to play its role to ensure
that they become America’s “Next Greatest Generation”.

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