D. Wayne Robinson, CEO and president of SVA, met with key Purdue and MFRI leadership last week to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for student service members and veterans. The signing took place during a meeting attended by a number of university leaders, including Dale Whittaker, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs, and Julie Griffith, vice president for public affairs. Capped by the MOU signing, the visit marked the first time Robinson has visited MFRI since taking SVA's helm last October.
The document outlines a plan to collaborate in support of the two organizations' shared mission, said MFRI director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth.
"This MOU represents the formalization of a relationship that has already produced results for student service members and veterans," she said. "Student Veterans of America is a tremendous advocate for student service members and veterans, and we are grateful for the opportunity to take our work with this premiere national organization to a higher level."
The organizations agree to collaboratively develop:
* National leadership institutes and local leadership summits focused on training student leaders in strategic SVA chapter operations;
* Direct support for SVA chapter leaders as they develop their chapter business plans;
* A national business plan competition; and
* A chapter "toolkit" of topic-specific resources (virtual and printable).
"This agreement will help to position student veterans for higher education and economic success," Robinson said. "I want our nation's leaders to view the next generation of veterans as an investment in the economy - an investment in the country - and working together is a part of that. MFRI and Purdue University have a proven track record in their work for service members, veterans and their families, and we are proud to work with them on future endeavors."
MFRI's work on behalf of student service members and veterans launched in 2008, the same year SVA was founded. Since 2008 MFRI and SVA have worked together in a number of areas, including SVA's national leadership institutes and in the co-creation of an evidence-based manual that teaches student veterans how to start a Student Veteran Organization (SVO) or enhance an existing one. SVA leaders have judged proposals at MFRI's SVO Business Plan Competitions, which are open to Indiana SVOs, and in January 2013 SVA used the model to launch the first-ever national business plan competition in Orlando.
About the Military Family Research Institute: The Military Family Research Institute was founded in 2000 with funding from the Department of Defense. It is the leading university-based organization in the nation that conducts research about, with and for military families. MFRI is part of the Center for Families in Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences.
About Student Veterans of America: SVA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coalition of more than 850 student veteran organizations on college campuses globally. SVA's mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. For more information, visit us at http://www.studentveterans.org or visit our YouTube channel.