Accomplishment Spotlight: AmeriCorps VISTA Members Build and Support Student Veterans of America Chapters September 11, 2012Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
Blake Lovelace and Morgan Neubert both recently completed terms of service as AmeriCorps VISTA members at Student Veterans of America (SVA). SVA is a relatively new national nonprofit organization with the mission to provide military veterans with the resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. Today’s veterans face numerous obstacles in their path of attaining a college degree. SVA alleviates these obstacles by creating student veteran clubs or “chapters” on college campuses across the globe.
During their year-long service term, Lovelace and Neubert formed nearly 100 student veteran clubs, with roughly 20-30 student veterans per club, as a result of their direct outreach. They also assisted in the renewal of over 60 chapters. In doing so, they helped SVA achieve its “Clinton Global Initiative Goal” of over 500 chapters in all 50 states. And all that happened six months ahead of schedule.
SVA has grown exponentially in chapters and members. Therefore, pressure on the very small national office team to support their ranks has been overwhelming. Lovelace and Neubert bridged the gap, and became the first points of contact with student veterans on a range of matters, including dissemination of scholarship, internship support opportunities, job openings and conference information.
During Lovelace and Neubert’s service terms, SVA hosted two conferences for student veterans. The VISTA members played crucial roles in the success of the conferences. For the SVA National Conference, they completed a nationwide calling campaign that resulted in roughly 500 student veterans in attendance. During the conference, they established the registration process, oversaw a job fair and provided logistics support to conference workshops. For the second event, an intensive leadership training, Lovelace and Neubert assisted in supporting the 60 student veterans selected to participate. “Seeing these student veteran leaders working together to learn skills to bring back to their home campuses was inspiring,” Neubert said. “It made us realize how much our year of service has made an impact and how much more this organization can make a difference in the lives of student veterans.”