By IZZA JATALA
From filling out endless paperwork to adjusting to new environments to reconnecting to peers, the transition from student life to military life can be overwhelming for many veterans.
IU South Bend student veterans seeking aid in this transition by connecting with the Student Veteran Organization of IUSB would not only be helpful but rewarding according to Kyle Kreczmer, president of SVO.
“The biggest purpose is to help guide incoming veterans so that they can succeed,” he said.
SVO is run by student veterans for student veterans. Kraczmer said non-veteran student are welcome to join SVO too.
“I also believe we have a duty as a student organization to provide community service events and fun activities,” he said.
He and other SVO members Millie Ftergiotis, Nick Shepard Patel and Liz George met for their Monday meeting last week to discuss details about the 5k “Sweat for Vets” charity run in November along with other club business.
Kreczmer said the charity run offers a chance to get together with family, friends and other vets in celebration of Veteran’s Day.
He said the proceeds raised will be given to Miller’s Vets, a South Bend organization that helps homeless veterans in the St. Joseph County area.
Other recent SVO events include a book drive for worldwide literacy, Free Suits for Vets event and the upcoming Rebuilding Together event on April 13.
Kreczmer said the SVO is still looking for more volunteers and if anyone is interested to contact him by or before April 8.
The four SVO members sat around the table and talked about filling out eligibility forms, where to find help filling out forms, the office of student veteran services, and continued to plan their 5k run.
Each member offered up ways they could help make 5k run a success. George said that she would look into connecting with the VFW while Ftergiotis suggested offering T-shirts to the donating participants.
Many of the SVO members are involved in other areas at IUSB and in the community. Ftergiotis was involved with another community building project.
Patel is president of the libertarian club and is currently running for a seat in IUSB’s student government association.
There was a feeling of camaraderie in the room as they continued to contribute ideas for SVO and also just socializing with each other.
“Sometimes veterans just need that camaraderie that they had in the military to help them succeed and I feel it is that camaraderie that the SVO should help to provide through members actively participating in events outside of the classroom.”
Kreczmer said SVO is focusing on building participation from the IUSB community and connecting with more student veterans in addition to planning events and aiding student veteran services.
More than 200 veterans enroll at IU South Bend each semester according to IUSB’s website.
According to Kreczmer, of the 200 veterans that were automatically put on to the SVO roster when they enroll as a veteran, there are currently only about 15 to 20 actively participating members currently.
It is Kreczmer’s as well as the other SVO members’ hope to see more students get involved with SVO.
Another hope Kreczmer shares about SVO are to have a veteran’s center on campus where student veterans can receive all sorts of additional or expanded services and resources.
This is part of their determination to establish more of a presence on campus and in the community.
Kreczmer said getting involved with SVO means helping improve campus life for student veterans just by showing support through participation.
“I believe that once we can get more active participation we could be one of the best schools for veterans to attend.”
The SVO even has their own Oncourse tab for easy access to information on student veteran services, resources and any updates regarding benefits and eligibility.
If you are interested in getting involved with SVO, contact Kreczmer at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find them on Facebook by searching “SVO IUSB.”