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Former student seeks to help Jacksonville Veterans

Mike+Mitchell+shakes+hands+with+Frank+Purport+at+an+s
Mike Mitchell shakes hands with Frank Purport at an s

Mike Mitchell shakes hands with Frank Purport at an s

Photo courtesy of Micheal Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Micheal Mitchell

Mike Mitchell shakes hands with Frank Purport at an s

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.­­­­­­­––As the flag rose they stood silently, their eyes glistened with gratification, each story told by the medals on their sleeves.

“My job is here to make sure a vet comes to JU and is successful,” said Mike Mitchell, a retired Navy chief petty officer and veteran student coordinator, pointing to the “Green Zone” certificate on the wall.

JU’s Green Zone is a program to help attendees better understand students with a past or present affiliation with the military.

Mitchell, a former student at Jacksonville University, started out on campus as a retired Navy vet graduating with a bachelors in business management in 2015.  Although he graduated, he still wanted to help the vets of JU out.

The JU chapter of the Student Veterans of America provided Mitchell with the perfect opportunity.

“I give them the opportunities, I will filter as many opportunities that I can,” he said.

The SVA was formed in January 2008 and led by Jerry Gliah, a Florida State University student. The headquarters is in Washington, D.C. and was created to focus on the needs and concerns of student veterans at the local, state and national level. JU’s chapter was founded in April 2011.

During the time on campus, student veterans are exposed to various career advancement opportunities provided to them via email and on campus events. If students are searching for a career to get them back in their field of choice, first-hand access to hiring managers are provided.

The overall program is designed to help the student veterans of JU out mentally, physically and financially. But this does not mean you must be military affiliated to join. Any student at Jacksonville University can join and be a part of the SVA community. Meetings are held every Wednesday afternoon. Additionally, every other week an email is sent out to inform students of employers who are seeking to employ military vets.

Once a year, all chapters go to the national event, called “Nat Con,” in Washington D.C. Members meet to discuss new changes within the student veteran community and get together to share ideas on how to do things better on campus, such as more events that could be sponsored or different guest speakers who would be beneficial to each chapter on the different campuses.

“It’s highly beneficial; you get the exposure and are able to give back to the community,” said Mitchell.

Students have the option to volunteer with events going on around campus and in the streets of Jacksonville. One event the SVA volunteered for was JU’s Homecoming 5K run which helped get them exposure to other students by allowing them to inform every one of the SVA community.

Another was the military appreciation football game on Oct. 21, sponsored in part by  students of the NROTC. Together with NJROTC high schoolers from around North Florida, the students put on a performance during the pre-game show.

Mitchell says that the SVA is standing by to assist students in need of career guidance, while in school or after graduation.

“There are plenty of job opportunities for everyone.”

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Former student seeks to help Jacksonville Veterans