Kent State students join campaign to support student veterans

Samantha Meisenburg

Supporters of Student Veterans of America (SSVA) is a movement for those wanting to help student veterans transition into the classroom. New to the Kent community, SSVA is a local affiliate of Student Veterans of America, a national organization to help student veterans with higher education.  

Currently, there are approximately 1,300 SSVA affiliate chapters nationwide, with more than 440,000 members. 

“SSVA is not only a campaign but a movement to educate the students and community of Kent,” said Danie Minor, a senior public relations major and co-creator of SSVA. “We want to educate them on the resources available for student veterans,” Minor said.

Taylor Meade, a junior public relations major and a co-creator of SSVA, said the movement is a convenience for supporters.

“From our research, we realized that a lot of student veterans have families and when they leave campus for the day, they aren’t inclined to come back so we wanted to create a movement for if someone wanted to support them, they can do it online on their own time,” Meade said.

Cierra Phillips, a freshman pre-nursing major, joined SSVA because her fiancé is enlisting in the Coast Guard and was a student at Kent State.

“I think others should take the pledge because the more people who are willing to support, the better,” Phillips said. “The more supported these students feel, the more power we have to do great things.”

The pledge, created by Kent State students, involves making yourself knowledgable of the rights and support available to student veterans. 

This movement is dedicated to Bradley “Sonny” Sonenstein, a Kent State graduate student and Air Force veteran who committed suicide in November 2015. 

“He was a selfless and amazing person who fought for student veteran rights to make sure that they had every thing understood about what was available to them and their GI Bill,” Minor said.

Meade said Sonny was the inspiration to getting SSVA started because he “would talk people out of [committing suicide] although he was battling internally.”

SSVA will host a Twitter chat using #SVATalk to discuss Student Veterans of America and Supporters of Student Veterans of America on March 7 at 9 p.m. Members will also be tabling from 10 a.m. to noon on March 3 in the Student Center.

For more information, visit Kent’s SSVA’s website

Samantha Meisenburg is a Veterans/ROTC reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].