Student Veterans of America

The Student Veterans of America: UW-Milwaukee chapter is a campus student organization open to UWM student veterans, active military, their dependents, and supporters. Current SVA leadership and members goals are to connect members with campus and community service projects in the Milwaukee and surrounding area.

History of the SVA at UWM

KirchnerCoryell

Mike Kirchner and Lia Coryell, Co-Founders of UW-Milwaukee’s Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter.

In 2012, two graduate students, both veterans, came together to establish UW-Milwaukee’s Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter. In three months time, more than 50 students had signed up to become members of the organization. Since that time, the SVA has been recognized each year as one of the top student organizations at UWM, and in 2014, was selected as the number one student organization on campus. Through dedicated leadership, SVA has enhanced the UWM student veteran experience by advocating, volunteering, and establishing impactful programming for their comrades.

Stories

UWM SVA Member Helped Change WI State Law to Ensure Student Veterans and Service Members Are Eligible for Priority Registration.

At the end of January 2013, while attending the Student Veterans of America National Conference, UWM student veteran David Tucek learned many states had laws giving student veterans and service members eligibility for priority registration for classes.  Having served six years in the military, Tucek realized how important this was for student veterans.

Under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, student veterans receive tuition assistance for a limited number of semesters.  There are specific rules tied to how the funds are used, and specific time frames.  He was concerned because so many classes in the UW system fill up quickly.  Student veterans have eight school semesters allotted by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, and service members still in the reserves need additional flexibility.  If student veterans and service members are unable to enroll in a required course prior to their benefits expiring, those education benefits are lost.

Tucek knew priority registration would help address these issues. Starting in February, 2013, Tucek began sending emails to Wisconsin state lawmakers, asking them to support a bill making student veterans and current service members eligible for priority registration for classes in the UW system and Wisconsin technical colleges system.  After sending out over 200 emails, State Representative Diane Hesselbein (D-Middleton) responded to Tucek and drafted the bill. The bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support from state representatives and sent to Governor Scott Walker.  Walker signed the bill into Wisconsin state law in November, 2013.

“This legislation means [service members and veterans] have access
to a quality education which can help propel their future,”  – Governor
Scott Walker during a press release.

The act affected registration for students’ beginning in Spring 2014.

Tucek is past Vice President of the UWM Student Veterans of America-Milwaukee Chapter and graduated in 2014. He currently works for the Brown Deer Police Department.

Read the original story online for more details. For more information on student veterans’ priority registration, please contact the UWM Military Education Benefits Office (MEBO) or contact MAVRC for assistance.

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