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SVA helps veterans' college transition

Summy Veterans

Jeanna Summy, Lamar University Student Veterans Association advisor talks at the group's meeting, Oct. 26, in the Setzer Student Center. UP staff photo

With many LU students  enrolled who have served their country, the university’s new Student Veteran Association was formed to assist those students with a smooth transition to campus life.

Jeanna Summy, SVA advisor, said there has been overwhelming interest on campus.

“We started emailing and putting up fliers, and there was a big interest for veteran students, a lot of people wanted to know more about it,” she said. “But, I guess the biggest surprise for me was that there was a lot of interest with staff and faculty veterans on campus. They were like, ‘Yes, we want to be a part of it.’”

Summy said the objective of the Student Veteran Association is to help veterans come back home comfortably and have a warm welcome to campus life.

“Our official mission is that it should be veterans, connecting with other veterans,” she said. “We know that they’re coming from different walks of life, some of them may have just been released to civilian life,” she said. “And some of them may already have families and they’re coming back to school.

“We just want to help them integrate into university life, which is a pretty hard transition, even for a regular student.”

Hector Flores, LUPD chief and SVA coordinator, said that the organization’s goal is to support veterans.

“The club’s here to support veterans and their dependents, to provide mentorship to people that have been through the process of going through college after leaving the military,” he said. “That’s the main point, just to provide a support group.”

Flores said that the association is here to not only support veteran students, but also help the ones that need assistance.

“I think the main need is veterans needing assistance or information with doing their GI Bill, Chapter 31, and be a support as far as getting the paperwork done, when you need to get things done so that you can get your classes covered — Hazelwood (Act), stuff like that,” he said.

Flores said the association allows veterans to come out of their shell and lets them socialize with other veteran students.

“I think the best way to put it is it allows the student that’s coming out of the military or their dependents that are coming to the university, to actually talk to somebody that’s been through it,” he said.

Flores, a Marine Corps veteran, said when he got his doctorate he took advantage of the GI Bill Chapter 31 and Hazelwood Act.

“I know the ins and outs of all the different parts, so I can provide a, ‘Hey, don’t do that, do this,’ and you need to do it within a certain amount of time to help them get through the process,” Flores said. “That’s usually the biggest barrier veterans encounter is the process of getting it done or getting their paper working.”

Summy said that even though the SVA is targeted towards student veterans, the association is open to all students.

“I like to say for veterans, but also veteran supporters,” she said. “We do have dependents interested. If it’s a veteran, it’s open to the dependent. So, spouses of veterans or anybody on campus who is a veteran supporter.”

To join the SVA, search the club on LU Hub.

summy veteran

Jeanna Summy, Lamar University Student Veterans Association advisor talks at the group's meeting, Oct. 26, in the Setzer Student Center. UP staff photo


Category: News