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Saturday, December 2, 2023

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Meetings for the Student Veteran Organization are held at the Student Veterans House. (Credit: SVO) Meetings for the Student Veteran Organization are held at the Student Veterans House. (Credit: SVO)

Student Organization Spotlight: Student Veteran Organization

The Student Veteran Organization serves veterans, active duty, reservists, ROTC and military dependents at SDSU.
By SDSU News Team

The San Diego State University Student Veteran Organization (SVO) is a student organization that promotes peer support and social camaraderie while facilitating the academic, professional, and personal excellence of student veterans.

Through the SVO, members are able to bond with other student veterans, participate in career development events and serve the community.

The organization’s president, Jonathan Reiland, says joining the SVO has given him access to people and resources that he otherwise never would have had, such as an internship at Northrop Grumman Corporation. He says the organization put him in the right places to meet the right people who were able to help him get to where he wanted to be.

On Saturday, the SVO will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a gala at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. At the gala, the organization will look back at its 10-year history and look forward to its bright future.

For the past decade, the SVO has supported thousands of student veterans throughout their time at SDSU and assisted with the overall academic success of its members.

What was your motivation for joining the Student Veteran Organization?

I transferred here from Cal State San Marcos. I wasn’t really involved with the veteran community there; I just went to school and did my own thing. When I transferred here and during my transition to San Diego, I wanted to do things I normally wouldn’t do, such as being a part of a social organization like the SVO. I just wanted to get involved.

What has been the highlight of your time with your organization?

My first semester, I was vice president of the SVO. One of the things I started working on then was the Student Veteran Organization Veteran Success Award. A lot of veterans at school get G.I. Bill benefits, and they are only awarded those benefits when they are actually enrolled in classes. During winter and summer break, you don’t receive benefits, and for some students that creates a hardship. To alleviate that, the Veteran Success Award comes into play. It’s a scholarship to help offset costs during breaks. It’s awarded to an active SVO member. Last semester, we awarded it to two of our members.

Is your organization only open to student veterans or can anyone that supports the military join?

We’re recognized as a student organization on campus, so as per Associated Students guidelines, we cannot restrict membership to anybody. We’re open to everybody, but we actually encourage military dependents to join. We also encourage ROTC to get involved, as they are the future leaders of the military.

How do you go about finding new members for the Student Veteran Organization?

There are a couple of ways we do it. In the beginning of each semester, we do tabling like other student organizations. We advertise in the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center and then also just through word of mouth. Anyone, member or not, can come to our events and get involved.

When are your meetings and is there a membership fee?

We have two general body meetings each month: on the second Monday at 3:30 p.m. and the fourth Thursday at 2:30 p.m. They are held at the Student Veterans House. We just let everyone know of upcoming events. Afterward, we barbecue and hang out. As far as membership fees, we don’t charge anything. We are very fortunate to receive donations from outside corporations that like to support veteran organizations.

How can students find more information about your organization?

Our main avenue of communication is the Student Veteran Organization website. We also have a Facebook page to get more information.

What kind of activities does your organization plan/attend?

Every month, we try to do a camaraderie event, community service event, fundraising event and career development event. That’s our goal each month.

What impact have SDSU faculty made on your organization?

A long-time friend of the SVO has been Joan Putnam, the director of the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center. She is a big supporter of ours. Our advisor, Crystal Little, is a former Marine herself and has been the true north compass of the organization. She keeps us on track.