The club needs 25 active members for national recognition; next meeting is Sept. 28.
By Christian Erevia
The Student Veterans Association of America brainstormed how to boost membership during their second meeting Sept. 14 in Oppenheimer Center.
The club has nine active members, but needs 25 to become nationally recognized as an official chapter.
“We have 45 members on the roll, but they’re not all active,” said SVA treasurer and business sophomore DeWayne Poates, who served in the Army for 20 years.
Gaining status as an official chapter would mean a big incentive for scholarship donations, said pre-nursing sophomore Atenas Ward Moctezuma.
The association is working to reach out to both this college’s veterans and dependents such as Moctezuma, whose husband is a Marine.
SVA president and real estate sophomore Manuel Gonzales also served in the Marines.
“People can expect a family vibe,” Gonzales said of the association. “We want to let them know there’s someone there for them.”
Both veterans and dependents of all ages are welcome.
“We try to help out everyone,” Gonzales said.
“We want people to feel comfortable, like a family, to create an environment where members can put their feet up and just relax,” Gonzales said.
The club has seen a few new members join its ranks. Music freshman Edward Lee Jones experienced his first SVA meeting this past Wednesday.
“Being a nontraditional student, it’s a safe place to come where people have a similar background. I wanted to be a part of something that helped serve the veterans,” Jones said.
Poates joined the SVA a year ago and is the current treasurer.
“It’s veterans helping veterans — that’s the No. 1 thing. This is a great way to be able to network and most importantly to redefine themselves,” Poates said.
Military dependents also contribute to the club.
“I wanted to be a part of a club that is more involved, and I think this is the one,” Moctezuma said. “I found my place easily here. There’s a feeling to it; there’s a vocabulary. It’s reminiscent and it feels good.”
The association will have a tent at the Antojitos festival as well as SACtacular, selling sausage and chicken wraps to promote membership. The club is working toward making its presence more pronounced on this campus and is looking forward to its move to the Victory Center upon completion.
The SVA will meet at 4 p.m. Sept. 28 in the TRiO computer lab, Room 219 of Oppenheimer.
For more information, call Gonzales at 361-563-2828.