The Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter at Lakeland Community College has been named one of the top five chapters in the nation once again.
Out of more than 1,500 total SVA chapters in the U.S., Lakeland's was given the honor of being named one of five finalists for the 2020 Chapter of the Year award duringSVA's 13th Annual National Conferenceheld online Feb. 19-20 with more than 5,000 attendees and featuring many high profile speakers. This is the second time the Lakeland chapter has been a finalist. The group was also honored with a top five recognition in 2019.
“The Lakeland Student Veterans of America is standing strong in their mission to empower student veterans for academic support and professional career development,” said chapter president Jessica Ales.
The recognition embodies 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 officers are president Jessica Ales, vice president Matt Bogo, secretary Ally Turk, treasurer Julian Mai, public relations Lovii Hicks, and sergeant-at-arms Tim Sherman. Chapter co-advisers areGreg Truhan, criminal justice program director and professor, andDean Becker, patrol officer.
Lakeland's SVA remained active on campus throughout 2020, with members supporting one another academically. Among the reasons for their nomination include establishing a partnership with the welding department producing beautifully-crafted American flags to be used as future fundraising items; assisting with other local veteran organizations and SVA chapters for more community outreach; volunteering time and services helping those in need during the pandemic, including working at food banks; participating in a Toys for Tots campaign during the holidays; participating in outings with Summit for Soldiers for mental health assistance; interviewing withWINT 1330 AMradio's "They Sacrificed for Us" segment; designing SVA merchandise masks with Cleveland Bred, and advertising SVA at locally owned veteran businesses. They are currently developing a podcast and designing a project to inspire transitioning veterans using their G.I. Bill.
"To make the top 5 nationwide in anything is a great honor and testament to our efforts," said Truhan. "The chapter has overcome many obstacles thrown their way but has remained resilient."
Other finalists for this year's SVA Chapter of the Year award were California State University-Northridge, Clemson University (winner), Syracuse University and the University of Washington-Tacoma.
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 Greg Truhan firstname.lastname@example.org.