“I didn’t know there were so many other Marines at IWP until I went to a meeting.”
IWP students Sean Cusack and Sam Greenwood have recently launched the IWP chapter of the Student Veteran Association under the guidance of Career Services Director Derrick T. Dortch. Casual social meetings are held on a biweekly basis in the Student Lounge at Marlatt Mansion, and volunteer activities are scheduled throughout the semester. Events are open to all, and full membership (meaning a say in the direction of the organization) is available for veterans.
The Student Veteran Association (SVA) is a nationwide group that facilitates networking and charity events for veterans and those around them. There are chapters at various schools throughout the DC area, including Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and others. These chapters cooperate under their shared SVA charter and hold inter-university networking, volunteer, and social events.
“Just show up, and you’re in,” said Sean Cusack. “You don’t have to be a vet to be included.” He went on to discuss the activities that he and Sam are planning. “We were able to organize a presentation at IWP on the structure of the DoD, we enjoyed a trip down to the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA, and we’re planning a trip to a local hospital to visit wounded veterans.”
IWP SVA visits the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA.
Sean Cusack is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He has deployed twice, once to Afghanistan and a second time on a Marine Expeditionary Unit to the Persian Gulf region. He found himself at IWP after taking the advice of his college friend and IWP recruiter Tim Stebbins. Since then, he’s made every effort to take advantage of the opportunities in the DC area. “I didn’t know there were so many other Marines on campus until I went to a meeting” of the SVA, he said.
As of right now, the group hosts a comfortable 10 to 12 students at their socials. Sam and Sean have an eye on ensuring the beginning stages continue to succeed, then they will look towards further development. “I don’t think we’ll ever be a club where we’re meeting once or twice a week. We understand that graduate school is a busy time for most people, and we are looking to make this organization fun and worthwhile without it being overly time-consuming” he said.
As for the veterans at IWP, “The Yellow Ribbon Program is awesome because it covers the tuition costs not covered by the GI Bill®, but there are still ways we can grow the appeal of IWP for vets on campus,” he remarked. “We’re looking forward to feedback so we can tailor our activities to the availability of our members.”
The experience veterans have accumulated is indispensable to the IWP classroom. It is a responsibility of our nation that the real-world lessons learned by men and women in uniform factor into the decision-making cycle of our government. IWP offers a place for veterans to share their experiences and consider how they fit into in our nation’s overall strategy. We are happy that our students have found a new way to enhance the veteran student experience and look forward to future developments.