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GSU student veteran Jacob Walsh visits DC

Jared Lyon, national president and CEO of the Student Veteran Association hands a certificate to GSU SVA President Jacob Walsh.

By Chris Weber Phoenix Staff Writer

Jacob Walsh, the chapter president of the Student Veterans Association (SVA) at Governors State University, recently took a trip to the nation’s capital for a student veteran leadership conference. 

Every year, student veterans chosen by the SVA are offered a unique opportunity to participate in an immersive leadership experience in Washington, DC. This competitive program aims to develop participants’ core values and sharpen their leadership skills. 

Attendees are offered access to the necessary tools to serve others effectively, establish a lasting network of support, and cultivate a greater impact on their campuses, communities, and the nation. The ultimate outcome is the creation of a personal leadership ethos that influences beliefs, behaviors, and actions, coupled with a close-knit community of fellow chapter leaders and mentors fostering ongoing support and growth.

Reflecting on the experience, Walsh said, “For me, it was a really good networking and learning experience. The goal of the institute was to help everyone grow individually and as a leader. The idea is that if you’re a good leader, you can bring skills back to help your chapter and help the other students around you grow. The institute focused on finding purpose and sharing strategies that help student veterans be more successful.”

A transfer student from Prairie State College, Walsh has been instrumental in fostering a sense of community for veterans on campus. He has worked as a student aide in the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) for the majority of his time at Gov State. 

Walsh expressed the importance of providing a welcoming space for veterans on campus. “We try to have a spot where veterans can come to network and make friends on campus. It is important that they have a place where they can feel accepted. We provide that here,” he emphasized.

A former Army multi-transmission system operator maintainer, Walsh’s military experience aligns seamlessly with his pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in information technology. “It almost lines up perfectly. A lot of the framework stuff I learned in the service and the educational experience just added to it. My time in the military also prepared me to work with a diverse set of people.”

As Walsh nears the completion of his last semester at GSU, he encourages student veterans to stop by the VRC and get involved. All veterans are welcome to join the club, explore available resources, and connect with a community that understands their unique experiences.

Students can find Toys for Tots boxes around campus over the next few weeks. Donations will help the SVA give kids in the community a better holiday season and provide our veterans with an additional sense of service. 

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