IWP alumnus Rich finished his term as IWP’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) President before graduating on May 16th, 2020. SVA has been an integral part of IWP’s student life since 2015, and the group grew under Rich’s leadership.
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 D.C. 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.
Each year, IWP’s SVA chapter holds a 9/11 remembrance event and participates in Wreaths Across America, where volunteers honor veterans by laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery (pictured above). Rich also wanted to host events that are more easily accessible for students, so he partnered with the IWP events team to host two SVA student roundtables in the 2019-20 academic year. These roundtables were very successful, with around 15 students in attendance at both.
Major General James E. Taylor spoke at a roundtable discussion in the fall, and a speaker in the spring discussed the State Department’s Global Engagement Center and how the U.S. government is countering propaganda and disinformation. These roundtables gave students the exciting opportunity to have an exclusive, casual conversation with military officers and government officials on topics related to national security and statecraft.
“It was a privilege to serve as the SVA president and contribute to the IWP experience,” Rich commented.
Before Rich graduated, he brought in first-year student Bella Grabowski, who shares his enthusiasm for the group, to take over the chapter.
Bella said: “I have a strong passion and appreciation for the military. These are the men and women who defend our great nation and our freedoms. A lot of the time we lose sight of the sacrifice others have made for us; freedom isn’t free. I hope to serve as an advocate for our veterans as well as help others understand the true origins of our freedoms.”
Bella is starting to organize social and volunteer events for the 2020-21 academic year. She plans to continue the SVA roundtable series and will pursue other ideas to get more students involved.