BRIEFLY DESCRIBE YOUR CHAPTER’S HISTORY
The CU Denver Veteran Student Organization was established in 2009 by three students with the goals of promoting community, camaraderie, and advocacy for student veterans. In 2011, we learned of the Student Veterans of America, and made our partnership with them official. Since then, the Veteran Student Organization has been directly involved in several efforts to improve the unique situations of student veterans as they experience the transition to and from higher education.
WHAT ARE YOUR CHAPTER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
Our strengths come from the tight relationships we have with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, university administration, faculty, student government, our fellow students and student groups. We are recognized as a pioneer in student group leadership on campus, and regularly meet with other student organizations regarding how to build and grow. Additionally, we have core programs in place to keep our student veterans engaged. Our greatest challenge and weakness stems from the fact that we are by nature a commuter group of students on a non-traditional commuter campus. 2013-14 Business Plan 3
HOW IS YOUR CHAPTER RESPONDING TO YOUR UNIQUE CAMPUS CULTURE?
Since most students commute to school it is difficult for them to participate in campus activities if they are not already in the area. Some factors that decrease veteran’s willingness to participate are: parking fees, time spent commuting to events, and schedule conflicts. Fortunately there are several opportunities which can help to mitigate these factors. The layout of Denver’s traffic arteries are conducive to carpooling. The Veteran Student Organization is currently organizing a carpooling system which will help veterans meet new people in their neighborhoods, save money on transportation, and become more involved on campus.
We are using technology to allow veterans to dial into meetings. We also partner with the peer mentors as an opportunity to reach out to incoming students. We found that sports and intramurals are a great way to drive commitment to events. As an example, we had weekly participation in a summer softball league from over 20 members. We’ve also experienced success with bowling events, as well as Broncos games, and we regularly negotiate for free Rockies, Avalanche, Nuggets and Buffalo tickets, including distributing 50 free tickets to the CU Buffaloes vs. California Bears game.
EMPOWERED BY SUCCESS IN 3D
In the past year, members from CU Denver’s Veteran Student Organization have been chosen to participate in the SVA Leadership Institute in Indianapolis and the SVA Leadership Summit in Denver, Colorado. The lessons we’ve learned at these events have been pivotal in our approach to adding value to our university. Leveraging the skills of our officers with our deepening understanding of Success in 3D, we’ve been able to assist several other student organizations with goal-setting & branding.
We see ourselves in a unique leadership position, and we are dedicated to growing and nurturing our fellow student organizations so that years down the road our collective efforts will have positively influenced not just the students of CU Denver, but the university as a whole.