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Lake Land College announces annual Outstanding Club Award winner

The Collegiate Veterans Alliance received the Outstanding Club Award at the 2013 annual Lake Land College Club Recognition Luncheon held recently. 

Over the past year, the Collegiate Veterans Alliance (CVA) participated and facilitated numerous activities that benefited both the club and community. Specifically, as an affiliate of the Student Veterans of America, the Lake Land College CVA has  been working with state legislators to help pass Senate Bill 2245, a bill that grants early registration to student veterans in the state of Illinois. In fact, CVA Club President Alan Fitzpatrick and CVA Club Advisor Blake Leitch testified in front of the Senate Committee for Higher Education in March of this year in support of the bill. 

“Our work with getting this bill passed not only shows that Lake Land CVA supports its own student veterans, but that we have a concern for all student veterans across the state,” said Fitzpatrick. “Really, the work we’ve done comes down to getting students their benefits in addition to getting the schools the resources they need to provide an education to veterans.”  

According to Fitzpatrick, colleges and universities around the state of Illinois would benefit from offering early registration for student veterans because as it stands, veteran’s benefits are significantly delayed. 

“The VA says they can process a veteran’s paperwork and get them their benefits within six to eight weeks,” explained Fitzpatrick. “However, the last academic year saw a delay of three to six months. So you have students out there, many of them with families, who aren’t receiving a monthly stipend, which makes it very difficult to make ends meet.”

In addition to testifying before the state legislature, CVA provided research on VA benefit backlogs and models that other states like California, Florida and Tennessee are taking for early veteran registration. They also met with Senator Dale Righter to encourage his support for the bill.

On April 18, the bill passed the senate vote unanimously and now moves to the House of Representatives. 

Because of the CVA’s work over the last academic year, Lake Land College plans to implement early registration for those receiving military education benefits, regardless of if a state law goes into effect. 

“The CVA originally provided an early registration proposal to Lake Land’s Student Government Association, which has now been approved by the college administration,” said Tina Stovall, vice president for student services. “We are working on the specifics of program implementation and hope to launch this initiative in time for spring 2014 registration.” 

Additionally at the luncheon, Kim Davis, education instructor and Future Educators of America club advisor, received the Outstanding Club Advisor Award. 

To be awarded the Outstanding Student Club Award at Lake Land College, a student club must accomplish its objectives as stated in the club’s constitution and bylaws, maintain a high attendance and participation record of its members, maintain adequate minutes of its meeting and records of its activities, have an up-to-date roster of its members and officers, have complete and accurate financial records of its activities and be a solvent organization. The club must present this information to the Student Government Association (SGA) along with an application and statement describing the club’s activities and accomplishments. The SGA selects the winning club. 

The luncheon event was hosted by the SGA and recognized more than 20 clubs at Lake Land College. 

For more information on Lake Land College’s clubs and organizations, visit or call 217-234-5270.


Cutline Lake Land College’s Collegiate Veterans Alliance Club received the Outstanding Club Award at the college's 2013 Annual Club Recognition Luncheon held recently. Pictured front row from left to right are: Jason Duhamell, Mattoon; Austin Smith, Mattoon; Alan Fitzpatrick, president, Paris; and Loxie Sanders, Mattoon. In the back row, from left are: Felicia Patterson, Bushton; Blake Leitch, advisor, Mattoon; Eric Debavit, Charleston; and Jacob Lachapelle, Charleston. 


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