Clemson University’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) was named 2020 Chapter of the Year on Saturday, February 20 at the annual Student Veterans of America National Conference. The announcement was made virtually during the organization’s Honors Gala.
“We were, and still are, almost in disbelief hearing that we won SVA Chapter of the Year,” said Matthew Morris, chapter president and U.S. Navy veteran of six years. “I think the success we have had in a fairly short time just shows the dedication of the veteran community at Clemson. I’d like to thank our amazing executive team, advisor Brennan Beck, members and everyone who has helped navigate the obstacles that this year has thrown at us.”
Established in 2008, the SVA’s mission is to build and sustain empowered veterans in the Clemson community through fellowship, support and continuous service. The award is a tribute to the legacy of Clemson student veterans and supporters who have worked hard to improve the program each year since its inception.
Like most campus organizations, the SVA transitioned to mostly virtual operations during in a year heavily impacted by COVID-19. However, the organization stood out in many ways:
• Partnered with Military and Veteran Engagement, the Michelin Career Center and others to host the Tiger Pro Night networking event.
• Supported the Military Appreciation Day football game by securing and distributing tickets to veterans and their families despite reduced capacity.
• Partnered with the University of South Carolina chapter to host a virtual Veterans 5K to raise money for the Friends of the Fischer House project in Columbia.
• Co-organized a virtual Q&A with the director of the film The Outpost.
• Helped honor World War I Medal of Honor recipient Freddie Stowers in his hometown of Sandy Springs among his surviving family and larger community.
Beck said the SVA has become a model chapter — among more than 1,500 part of the Student Veterans of America — because of its continued commitment to collaboration, making connections and working toward shared objectives. He called the award a win for all of Clemson and the community.
“I’m confident this honor will embolden and empower our Clemson student veterans to leave an even greater impact on their campus and community,” said Beck, SVA advisor and director of Military and Veteran Engagement. “Thank you to the student veterans, University leaders, students, staff, faculty, alumni, supporters and advocates who played a part in making this happen. Some say it takes a village. At Clemson, we call it a family!”