Veterans in Student Government:  The Coastal Carolina University Experience

Denny C. Powers, Ph.D.

February 20, 2017

The leadership of the Student Government Association (SGA) at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) in Conway, South Carolina, consists of four key elected positions: the president, executive vice president, vice president for public relations and vice president for finance. Candidates for these offices are elected by student vote and terms begin each fall semester. Each of the five colleges at CCU also elects two senators to serve in the Student Government Association to represent their college’s interests.

Members of the CCU chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) elects club officers in the same manner as other student government officers are elected. However, CCU is unique in that the president and the vice president of SVA automatically become SGA senators and represent the interests of veterans and military-related students on campus.

Due to this unique arrangement, student veteran senators have championed the passage of legislation that benefits student veterans. Below is a brief summary of such legislation:

  • The University president presents each graduating veteran with red, white and blue honor cords to wear with their graduation regalia and with a uniquely designed Coastal Carolina University challenge coin. The cords and coins are purchased using the Office of Veterans Services budget. A pre-graduation ceremony is held for veterans and their families, and the cord and coin presentations take place at this event. The University photographer captures the presentation and makes prints for graduating veterans.
  • Student veterans are afforded free campus parking and are issued a red, white and blue parking pass.
  • Thirty percent or more disabled veterans are issued a provisional disability parking pass, which enables veterans to park in designated disabled parking slots near buildings on campus.
  • Veterans have priority registration along with seniors, athletes and honors students.
  • Veterans are exempt from taking CCU’s Freshman Experience course.
  • College application fees for veterans are waived.
  • Creation of the Veterans Lounge with a microwave, refrigerator, Keurig coffee bar, free bottled water and beverages, service flags, computer stations and free printing
  • Free admission for all veterans at the yearly Military Appreciation football game.
  • Installation of Missing Man chairs at CCU’s football and baseball stadiums.
  • Creation of a Student Veterans of America chapter-specific logo.
  • Creation of a faculty mentoring program for student veterans
  • Creation of Green Zone training for faculty
  • Creation of faculty training: “What Veterans Want You to Know”
  • Student Veterans of America president authored article for the campus student newspaper, The Chanticleer.

Clearly, veterans in SGA have contributed significantly to the culture of the University, and the University leadership is supportive of veterans’ issues. Veteran senators have recently introduced a bill to student government that would designate parking for Purple Heart recipients. We anticipate approval by University leadership after the bill passes student government.

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