Student veterans come together to give back

By Jake Smith

The Student Veterans of Oakland University are heating up this semester as they engage in on-campus activity like never before.

In 2009 veteran Mike Brennan noticed the influx of veterans coming into Oakland and started the Veteran Support Services (VSS) office. The only student-run office under the Student Affairs Division of OU, the VSS office led by Jeffrey Schuett offers a variety of services to student veterans such as priority registration, four free electives, universal in-state tuition rates and SVOU.

Branching out from VSS, the Student Veterans of Oakland University is a student organization on campus that aims to bring veteran students together for volunteer and social events. Starting this year, SVOU has put their “boots on the ground” making strides to become more prevalent on campus.

“We’ve gone from hey, we’re here to answer questions about the GI Bill to hey, we’re doing campus community involvement, we’re advocating, fundraising, and we have major corporate sponsors for our events,” Vice President of SVOU Kevin Ferguson said, “there are big things that we’re doing and we’re trying to push that out there.”

For their event: the Road March to End Hunger on November 12th, SVOU will team up with Theta Chi, Alpha Delta Pi, and the Oakland Red Cross to collect non-perishable food to be donated to a homeless shelter for veterans.

SVOU hopes that in addition to making more of a name for themselves on campus, coordination with other student orgs will allow everyone to put on bigger and more impactful events.

Due to the helpful services VSS provides on top of standard government benefits and the community involvement SVOU creates for student veterans, Oakland University was awarded the title of veteran-friendly campus from GI Jobs Magazine. Located in 116 North Foundation Hall, the SVOU office is open to Oakland’s growing population of over 300 student veterans to come in and get involved.

“We have a strong veteran population, which we strive to provide with the most pertinent information available as far as veterans services–both on campus and in the local community,” Ferguson said, “the path that VSS, SVOU, and Oakland as a whole are on should naturally draw in more veterans.”

With increased activity on campus, VSS and SVOU hope to keep making Oakland an exceptional place for veterans to finish their education.

“As veterans we like to leave things better than the way we found them and that’s what we’re trying to do for Oakland,” Ferguson said.