The Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter at Lakeland Community College was named one of the top five chapters in the nation at the SVA’s 11th Annual National Conference in Orlando, Florida, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. Out of 1588 total SVA chapters in the U.S., Lakeland’s was given the honor of being named one of five finalists for the Chapter of the Year award. The award honors chapters that embody the SVA’s mission to provide the resources, support and advocacy student veterans need for success through and beyond higher education. It also acknowledges efforts in empowering chapter members and creating positive change on campus and in the community as a whole.
Lakeland’s SVA chapter president, Alexander Picciano, submitted the nomination to the SVA national headquarters based on recent accomplishments by the Lakeland SVA which had a direct impact on the college, students and community. Some of these accomplishments include successful efforts on campus and in the community to better assist student veterans in attaining educational goals at Lakeland and beyond; designing, raising funds for and unveiling a new Vietnam veterans memorial on campus (September 2017); implementing the M.O.V.E. (Mindful of Veterans Everywhere) project to help raise awareness and assistance for struggling veterans in the community; working with The Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Lottery Commission to implement a program to grant funding for colleges and universities interested in starting veterans programs, or for Purple Star rated K-12 schools to earn additional funding for their veteran-friendly programs; and most recently, initiating a partnership with Cold Nose Companions, a dog training facility located in Chardon, Ohio.
Other finalists for this year’s SVA Chapter of the Year award were Student Veterans at UW Tacoma, Fordham Veterans Association, Rebel Vets (UNLV) and Student Veterans of Louisiana State University who received the top honor.
The Lakeland SVA is a student-run organization under the advisement of staff member and veteran Edward Evans, program coordinator for Lakeland’s Veterans Center. “I’m really proud of these students,” said Evans. “They went above and beyond, putting in the extra effort to make the chapter here something really incredible. They’re setting an example for other schools in the area and around the country.”
Lakeland’s Veterans Center is committed to helping active duty personnel, veterans, reservists and dependents attain their personal and professional goals. The veterans center can help with questions about educational benefits, advice on how to fill out and complete Veteran’s Affairs forms and much more. For more information on how Lakeland’s Veterans Center and SVA chapter are actively working to create a better campus and community, contact Edward Evans at 440.525.7529 or visit lakelandcc.edu/veterans.
Student Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) coalition of student-veteran groups on college campuses dedicated to providing peer support for fellow student veterans, and collaborating with campus leaders for better support and services. To learn more, visit studentveterans.org.