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Student Veterans Meet at Georgetown Conference
More than 450 student veterans convened at Georgetown Oct. 1-4 for the 2010 Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference.

Among the speakers at the conference were Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki, Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Raymond Jefferson, and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Bob Filner (D-Calif.)

“I think Secretary Shinseki really connected with the audience during the SVA annual conference,” said Karen Courington (G’10), a founder of Georgetown’s SVA chapter,  “because he put himself not just in his role as secretary of veterans affairs or as a retired four-star general, but as a concerned parent.”
An empty place setting and a pair
 of boots at the conference
 represents the fallen soldier.

Courington, who also served as a C-17 Air Force pilot, said Shinseki highlighted the critical role SVA chapters have in being a “strong network for student-veterans as they transition from active duty to their role as students and on to further employment.”

Supporting Veterans
She says Shinseki praised the Georgetown chapter for providing support to student veterans.

“We’ve come a long way in a short period of time,” notes Erik Brine (G’12), co-founder and current president of the university’s chapter, which he says attracted 100 members in under nine months. Brine is also a former Air Force pilot and, like Courington, a reservist.

More than 170 students enrolled at Georgetown last year using veteran benefits.

The conference included panels on student life as veterans, a job fair, best practices for SVA chapters and proposed amendments to the Post 9/11 GI Bill enacted in 2008. The initial legislation was sponsored by 1995 Law Center graduate Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a School of Foreign Service faculty member.

Vital Roles
Also during the conference, the School of Continuing Studies (SCS) held a breakfast for student veterans.

“Without a doubt, veterans are destined to play vital roles in our society in the coming decades, and Georgetown stands ready to help them do so,” said SCS Dean Robert L. Manuel.

(October 5, 2010)
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