Military institute issues awards to benefit student service members, veterans
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University this month issued awards to three Indiana student veterans' organizations in Evansville, Sellersburg and Winona Lake to engage, educate and serve student service members and veterans, campus stakeholders, and community partners.
The grants ranged from $600 to $2,000 and were awarded through Operation Diploma, an initiative launched by MFRI to support and strengthen Indiana's postgraduate education institutions and Service Veterans Organizations. SVOs are student organizations that offer social support to student service members and veterans while encouraging their involvement in campus and community initiatives, collaborations, and service projects.
University of Evansville's student veterans' organization, which is called UE VETS, garnered top honors and an award of $2,000 to support the 52 military-affiliated students on its campus. The 22-member UE VETS aims to:
* increase membership;
* provide sensitivity training for UE faculty, administration and staff;
* raise campus awareness through Veterans Day service, a veterans' fair and movie discussions; and
* collaborate with and educate area employers.
Grants also went to second-place honoree, Ivy Tech Community College – Sellersburg ($2,000) and third-place honoree, Grace College and Theological Seminary, a four-year Christian liberal arts college in Winona Lake ($600).
Martina Sternberg, assistant director of MFRI and one of the judges, helped in Operation Diploma's creation and participated from the initiative's genesis to its implementation.
"This is like coming full circle," Sternberg said. "Before Operation Diploma, fewer than five Indiana campuses had an SVO. Today there are more than 30 SVOs around the state. I am amazed at the students' passion, motivation and innovation. They are working hard to assist veterans and families while at the same time building relationships and educating the community about veterans and their families."
Since September 2009, Operation Diploma has sponsored competitions each semester to help SVO members hone entrepreneurial skills and fund local initiatives. The panel of judges evaluates proposals according to criteria that include quality of mission, clarity of initiatives and a renewed sustainability. In addition to Sternberg, judges this year were John Klinge, head coach of women's swimming and diving at Purdue; Denise Buhrmester, director of communication for Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences; and Matt Vincent, a SVO member and past president of the Collegiate Veterans Association.
Operation Diploma engages and educates postgraduate education stakeholders about issues surrounding student service members and veterans. It is also working in collaboration with the American Council on Education and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to improve the accuracy and efficiency of military credit-transfer evaluations through the state's Core Transfer Library. Operation Diploma also seeks to positively impact job-seeking student service members and veterans with work on employment-related initiatives.
Through Operation Diploma, MFRI has awarded more than $2.4 million to higher education institutions and SVOs. Nearly $50,000 has been granted to SVOs.
The Military Family Research Institute is a research and outreach organization based at Purdue University, supported by the Lilly Endowment Inc., Department of Defense and others. Through MFRI, Operation Diploma was created. To view top presentations by student veterans' organizations, visit the MFRI website at http://www.mfri.purdue.edu and click on "Programs and Grants."
Writer: Jeanne Norberg, 765-494-2084, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Michael F. Marn, MFRI director of communications, 765-496-6027, email@example.com