The Student Veterans Club at Hagerstown Community College was recently recognized as an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA).
Founded in 2008, SVA is a 501 (c) (3) coalition of student veterans groups that seeks to provide military veterans with the resources and support needed to succeed in higher education, as well as in the years following graduation. Currently, the organization is comprised of more than 500 chapters worldwide.
HCC’s Student Veterans Club was founded in 2011 by HCC student Allen Calvert, of Rohrersville. According to Calvert, he realized that a student veterans club on campus would greatly help veterans assimilate to their new life.
“The college climate and culture is dramatically different from military life so it took me several months to acclimate to this new environment and I think it’s the same for most veterans,” says Calvert. “By forming the veterans club, I wanted to establish an entity that would endure well past my own graduation and to have that organization be one of familiarity and support for veterans as they transition to college life.”
The HCC club is led by four student officers and two faculty advisors. The club works closely with college admissions staff to determine what resources would best benefit veterans and to assist with veteran student outreach and advocacy. HCC also has representatives within its admissions and advising offices who are designated to assist veterans with benefits information, academic and career planning, and evaluation of education received in the military and other prior learning experiences.
“As a former U.S. Marine Captain and an advocate for veterans, I know what it’s like to be disoriented when you return from service,” says Robert “Bo” Myers, director, athletics and leisure studies, and co-advisor of HCC’s Student Veterans Club. “It’s important for veterans to be assimilated into the college community. The affiliation with SVA is a wonderful opportunity for our club to network with veterans from other colleges and universities. We’ll be able to share ideas and best practices that will help our members better serve our college and the community as they transition to civilian life.”