Ivy Tech Kokomo named home of new chapter of Student Veterans of America

Campus ‘Stars and Stripes’ organization excited to earn SVA membership

SVA_Logo_Master_2KOKOMO, Ind. — Stars and Stripes, the organization for student veterans at Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Campus, has been approved as a new chapter of Student Veterans of America, a national coalition of more than 1,100 student veteran organizations in all 50 states and across the globe.

“We are very excited to be accepted into SVA,” said Derek Braden, president of the Kokomo Campus’ Stars and Stripes. “SVA chapters are known to be the ‘boots on the ground’ that help veterans reintegrate into campus life and succeed academically. That’s always been the goal of Stars and Stripes and it will be great to have the support of this national organization.”

Braden also credited fellow Stars and Stripes officers Ryan Wolf, vice president; Brook Lindsey, treasurer; and Alexander Norfleet, secretary, for their efforts in the application process.

Melissa Dwight, coordinator of veterans’ activities for Ivy Tech Kokomo Region, said, “Our hope is that this will bring new opportunities to our student veterans and also strengthen our membership and the overall veteran experience at Ivy Tech Kokomo. We’ll be able to access SVA’s vast network of peers, sharing best practices, resources and ideas.”

SVA operates with the mission of providing military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. Each chapter must be a student group officially recognized by its university or college and provide a peer-to-peer network for veterans attending the school. Chapters often coordinate campus activities, provide pre-professional networking, and generally provide a touchstone for student veterans in higher education.

“Today’s veterans face numerous obstacles in their path of attaining a college degree,” SVA leaders say on the organization’s website. “These challenges range from a missing sense of camaraderie to a feeling like an outsider amongst 18-year-old traditional students to a lack of understanding by university faculty.

“When coupled with the visible and invisible wounds a war, a college degree can be an elusive goal for men and women returning from military service,” they continue. “Student Veterans of America makes that goal a reality.”

Daniel Madson, who was president of Stars and Stripes last year and now a student at Purdue University, said, “When I heard Ivy Tech Kokomo’s application had been approved, I could not have been happier. The resources that a national group like SVA will bring to our veterans on campus is incredible.

“This means that the Kokomo Campus will have the support of our fellow veterans nationwide, all helping each other to reach our goals of academic success,” Madson continued. “We have historically been a strong force for change and together we will make a difference. I am looking forward to being an alumni member.”

Ken Fisher, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1152, said, “We are pleased to offer our support and enthusiasm as Ivy Tech reaches out to our newest veterans to assist them in obtaining their educational goals. Creating a local chapter of the Student Veterans of America in Kokomo, Indiana, is a great move forward.”

Ivy Tech Community College across the state has been named to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list by Victory Media. The Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that best support America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students. Other Ivy Tech regions with SVA chapters include Lafayette, Wabash Valley, North Central, Richmond and South Central.

For more information on Stars and Stripes and other veterans’ services in Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region, contact Melissa Dwight at 800-459-0561, ext 245, or mdwight@ivytech.edu .

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About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu.
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