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03 October 2010

Student Veterans of America 2010 National Conference

A few hours ago, I arrived home from the 2010 Student Veterans of America National Conference at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  I haven't really mentioned SVA here before, even though I've been a member for several semesters.  I think now is a good time to start talking about the organization.

This weekend, I talked to student veterans from large universities, small community colleges, and technical colleges.  I heard a keynote address from none other than the US Secretary for Veterans Affairs, Gen (Ret.) Eric Shinseki.  I ate dinner with, among other veterans, two members of the Vietnam Veterans of America.  Included in the attendees were Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine veterans, and every one of us was there because we're in college and dammit, it's hard work being a veteran in college.

Dear reader of my blog, we are not alone.

There are veterans at every school in America that accepts the GI Bill that are having the same difficulties you've read about here, and that let you to read my blog in the first place.  There are people at colleges and universities, in the administration and the disability resource centers and the counseling offices that are looking out for us.  They are learning, too-- trying to learn what works for us, what we need, what they can do to make our experience in college more productive.  We need to tell them when we have problems, and suggest ways to make things better, because they want to hear our input.

One of the recurring themes hearing from the people at the conference that were on the administration level was that the experiences we have and the stories and perspectives we bring to the classroom are a vital part of the learning that goes on at a college or university.  They want us there, and they see us struggle, and they don't always know how to help because we don't tell them.

Okay, maybe we don't always know what kind of help to ask for.  I'm sure some of my earlier posts here will reflect that.  But I've been trying, and I believe my earlier posts will reflect that as well.

Take a look at the main SVA Chapters page, where you can search for a Student Veterans of America member chapter and see what other chapters have been doing.  Join us.  We're all in this together, and we got your back.

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