Student veterans from across the state will gather at Penn State on Sunday to network and create a community of support for those who served the nation.
Penn State Veterans Organization will host the second annual Student Veterans of America Conference this Saturday at the HUB-Robeson Center.
The conference will include various programs for veterans including a workshop on financial aid, a career-planning program including resume writing help, a discussion of veteran administration benefits and a discussion about how veterans can continue to serve their communities.
“It brings together student veterans from across the state, military veterans that are now in college or trade school,” Assistant Director of Military Education Ginny Newman said. “It provides a great opportunity for them to network and compare notes about their experiences as college students.”
The conference was also heavily organized by Penn State World Campus and Penn State Outreach, and will be open to the public, Newman said.
Newman said the Penn State World Campus has been actively involved in the conference because it now has the largest number of active duty service members and student veterans at Penn State.
As of Spring 2011, Penn State World Campus had 889 student veterans enrolled, with University Park following it with 782 veterans, she said. As of last spring, there were 3,166 student veterans attending all of Penn State’s campuses combined, which was a 21 percent increase between 2010 and 2011, she said.
National Leadership Council Vice President Joshua Lang said SVA was founded in 2008, and now includes over 500 chapters that provide a network for student veterans across the nation and abroad. Each of the chapters provide resources to support and contribute to the welfare of student veterans, he said.
“We’re a coalition of student veterans that provide support to veterans on college campuses,” Lang said. “The chapters are the ones that make the difference on the ground.”
Lang, a student veteran at Shippensburg University, has worked with Penn State World Campus and PSUVO to create an agenda for the weekend and will also serve as the master of ceremonies at the conference.
Chris Edwards, a student veteran and member of PSUVO, said he will not be attending the conference this weekend but said Penn State has many services and programs to support veterans and their families.
The university has a very diverse population of veterans and adult learners, and Penn State provides them all with individual support, Edwards (sophomore-premedical) said.
“There are veterans of all ages,” Edwards said. “Everyone has different needs when they get here.”