Student Veteran Organizations
Student organizations, in general, provide a vehicle for students with similar interests to organize. As noted during the ACE Veteran Success Jam, veterans on campus are generally interested in connecting with other veterans, and student veteran organizations can help meet this need. They provide support to student veterans and offer advice on the transition from the military to campus and from campus to career.
One veteran participant in the Jam stated that she jumped into school too quickly and subsequently dropped out. When she was ready to go back, her most important form of support was an active student veteran organization that offered peer mentors who were standing by and ready to help. Many veterans echoed the strength of peer support and the inclination to open up to “one of their own.”
Hosting a campus chapter of a student veteran organization is considered to be a best practice for veteran-friendly institutions. Just like any other student organization, such groups are led and organized by student veterans themselves and follow the university’s guidelines for organizational development. Finding the right faculty or staff adviser is an important component, but supportive candidates are usually willing to step forward when a volunteer is asked for, especially staff or faculty who may be veterans themselves.
In addition, many Jam participants advised tapping into the social media world, for instance, by creating a student veteran Facebook page or connecting with other students through Twitter. This strategy might also be a way to create a veterans community for those academic institutions without a centralized campus.