By Dana Cole
EKU VETS, the student organization targeted toward veterans on campus that was recently denied money at the Student Government Association appropriations meeting, now has another source of funding from the university.
Although SGA did not grant VETS the $1,500 it requested, the Student Rights Committee took initiative and wrote a resolution stating it would help the organization find money elsewhere to fund a trip to the Student Veterans of America National Conference in Las Vegas.
Through the resolution and some networking on campus, SGA was able to round up funds to help support VETS in its endeavors to attend a national conference.
Rachel Mollozzi, student body president and regent, said she met with James Conneely, vice president for Student Affairs, on behalf of SGA to help find alternate sources of funding for the group.
“Eastern takes a lot of pride in its veterans, and I wanted to do everything in my power to help them out,” Mollozzi said.
Conneely agreed to donate $750 out of the budget from his office to VETS.
Mollozzi said she also met with Doug Whitlock, president of Eastern, and was able to secure another $750 for VETS out of his budget, granting the organization the $1,500 for which members originally asked.
Connelly said this is something he has done in past years for other organizations and isn’t unusual.
“If I am able to and it’s in my budget, I try to help,” Conneely said.
He added he thinks the VETS are using the money for a worthy cause and didn’t hesitate to try and help the club out.
“It gives them an opportunity to bring home new ideas,” he said.
Ryan Donahue, president of VETS, said neither he nor the other senior officers will attend the conference, but rather four junior officers will go.
“We want to make good use of the leadership skills,” Donahue said.
Donahue also said he thinks Eastern having representation at the conference is important because of the fact that Eastern is currently rated the second most vet-friendly college in America by Military Times EDGE Magazine and was rated number one last year.
“It would be kind of silly for us to be ranked two years in a row and not show up,” he said.
Donahue said the club wasn’t really upset when it didn’t receive money from appropriations because SGA gave them a generous amount last semester. However, he commends SGA’s resolution to assist them in securing funds.
“We appreciate the effort SGA is making,” Donahue said.
Mollozzi said SGA wanted to help VETS out because it believes in everything the organization is about. SGA wasn’t able to give VETS appropriation money because bylaws state appropriations are reserved for new clubs and clubs trying to get off the ground or rebuild, she said.
“Since they received money from us in the past, certain senators didn’t want them to be dependent on us and keep coming back,” Mollozzi said.
VETS is a club that help veterans on campus and their family and supporters adjust to campus life and become a part of campus community.
Matthew Rawlings, vice president of VETS, said the club and the community at Eastern plays a great role in making the university vet-friendly.
“I can see why we are one of the best schools in the nation,” Rawlings said. “We see them [other schools] have problems, and we don’t have them because of our support.”