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SVSU wins ‘Great School for Veterans’ for sixth time

Military Times named SVSU a “Great School for Veterans” for the sixth year in a row.

Bethany Alford, the director of Military Affairs and veteran herself, said SVSU’s policies for student veterans helped the university receive the award.

“This award means that SVSU works very hard to ensure we are a top choice for military-connected students,” she said. “SVSU is a great choice for student veterans because we really try to create policies and resources that are beneficial to student veterans. To me, being military and veteran friendly is more than a label. It is action.”

Billy Denton, a biology junior and Air Force veteran, said he felt SVSU was a great community for veterans like himself.

“SVSU’s Military Affairs office is a home base where you can communicate with like-minded people who have shared experiences,” Denton said. “We are more than a group of veterans, and SVSU really brings us together.”

Alford said SVSU won the award by going through a process explaining how SVSU and Military Affairs connects veterans.

“We have to complete a lengthy survey about our policies and programs we offer to military-connected students,” she said. “Institutions are then ranked based on the survey responses and data collected by three different federal agencies.”

Denton said his process of transferring from the military to SVSU was very simple.

“It has been insanely easy to come to SVSU,” he said. “There is such a great staff working with us and caring about our needs.”

Alford said SVSU students can connect with student veterans by learning about resources and getting to know students who served.

“You can ask veterans about their military experience in a nonjudgmental and respectful way,” Alford said. “You can also refer student veterans or any military-connected student to our office to learn about resources both on and off campus.”

Alford said she has seen large growth in SVSU’s military community.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth in the services that SVSU provides veterans since I was student here in 2009. Since then, an entire office with dedicated staff has been developed,” Alford said. “In
my opinion, this was imperative to the successful transition of student veterans from the military to SVSU. A dedicated space where they can conduct business, meet other veterans and learn about resources creates a supportive environment and a feeling of camaraderie that they are likely missing since leaving the service.”

Alford said SVSU plans to continuously grow support for student veterans.

“I’m very proud to see how far SVSU has come in supporting veterans and will continue to work to find ways to make their experience here even more positive,” she said.

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