by Rebecca Byers
Students from Pensacola State College’s Student Veterans Association recently spent four days at the Fifth National Student Veterans of America Conference in Orlando, Fla. The January conference included colleges and universities from across the country, including the University of Arizona, Florida State University, the University of Florida, Auburn University, Yale, Harvard and others.
“We spent a lot of time with colleges from across the country; everything from small community colleges all the way up to some of the biggest universities,” said member Scott Fowler, a photo and art student.
During the conference, the Pensacola State College Student Veteran Association exchanged ideas with the other student veterans to find out what practices work best for them and also get information that is relevant to what veterans are facing today.
“The conference gave us a chance to meet with other student veterans and interact with their members and advisors,” SVA Advisor Nikkol Wymer said.
The conference was also a place to exchange ideas about helping veterans make the transition into the civilian world.
“I got out of the Marines in 2004, and I am currently involved with the Student Veteran Association helping veterans transition from veteran life to student life” Fowler said.
The Student Veteran Association spent four days learning and networking at the coference. Speakers included the Veteran’s Administration Secretary Eric Shineski and Florida State President Eric Barron. Many companies were also in attendance, offering support for veterans, helping to sharpen networking skills and tips on being able to succeed after school.
“The national conference was a celebration of the past years events and what we have accomplished as an organization as SVA, but it also challenged us to come back and take SVA to the next level,” said Timothy Jones, a Pensacola State College student and Navy veteran.
In breakout sessions at the conference, students learned about how to overcome challenges in re-entering school and the job market after their service. There were also business competitions, including such things as writing a mock business plan.
Another topic of the conference was member growth and how to get more involved with community projects. According to Fowler, the PSC Student Veteran’s Association has around 50 members, but wants to continue to grow.
“The biggest thing that I learned at the conference is to be involved with the school,” said Jones. “Pensacola State is doing a lot of great things for veterans.”
According to Jones, the biggest benefit for him was that although many different schools were represented, they all came together as one.
“It created a network,” Jones said. “I have contacts with Alabama now, so I can contact the SVA leader there and ask if they are having the same issues that we are having here,” Jones said.
Overall, the conference was very inspiring for those that attended.
“I came away with some great information for SVA as well as Veterans upward bound,” Wymer said. “The conference was very inspiring.”
If you are a student veteran that would like to join the Student Veteran Association, you can visit Wymer in Student Affairs, Bldg. 6, room 651 (Veterans Upward Bound).