October 01, 2014


 SAVMA sees chapter program further bolstered

Member benefits big focus at SAVMA HOD

Posted Sept. 17, 2014

At its recent meeting, the Student AVMA House of Delegates intended to answer an important question: What more can the association offer to members? Not only were member benefits discussed by the student delegates July 27-28 during the AVMA Annual Convention in Denver, but also, they were the top agenda item for delegate committees. 

ALL for Students

But first, the SAVMA HOD received some exciting news at the start of its meeting. The ALL for Students program—with ALL being an acronym for Achieving, Leading, and Learning—will be extended for another year. The program, by which the AVMA, AVMA PLIT, and SAVMA are providing support for student chapters of the AVMA, will also receive $100,000 in additional funding from the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust. In all, $333,000 will be distributed among the 32 student chapters and the one associate organization in the SAVMA HOD for the 2014-2015 school year. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation will distribute the funds. The pilot program was extended on the basis of results of program evaluations. The main categories for use of funding have been community outreach, professional development, wellness, and leadership events. Students are in charge of determining how best to use the money for their chapters. 

Student AVMA President Ricci Karkula (Texas A&M ’15) tells the SAVMA House of Delegates that the ALL for Students program will be extended for another year. (Photos by R. Scott Nolen)

Member task force

SAVMA delegates later heard from the Task Force on Member Benefits as it presented its findings, which were more than a year in the making. At the beginning of 2014, the task force surveyed all students attending AVMA Council on Education–accredited schools, regardless of their SAVMA membership status. There were 1,314 respondents, 96 percent of whom were SAVMA members, and the students made clear they wanted to see more scholarships and potentially more perks to being a member of SAVMA, such as insurance discounts. Respondents expressed interest in having each student chapter of the AVMA create its own benefits, unique to that chapter’s students’ needs. On a national level, students would like to have more information with regard to AVMA PLIT and AVMA GHLIT. Respondents said they would prefer an easier way to apply for PLIT student liability insurance and that many are not aware of PLIT until their fourth year, despite student representatives being at most schools. Students suggested creating an online form that could be submitted electronically, speeding up both the application and payment process.

With regard to JAVMA, respondents requested the option of a tablet or mobile version and at a discounted rate. SAVMA members currently pay a discounted rate of $40 a year for a print subscription and have access to the online version through their university library website.
SAVMA officers plan to overhaul their organization’s social media presence in the near future. Facebook pages for SAVMA and its publication The Vet Gazette already exist along with a SAVMA Twitter account and a SAVMA page. The goal will be to overhaul these to make the navigation and visuals more pleasing and functional. The goal is to complete the work by the next SAVMA Symposium in March 2015. 

Extending student scholarships

SAVMA members received more good news with the announcements concerning new or expanded scholarship programs.
Information Technology Officer Matt Sellers (Oklahoma State ’15) developed a contest challenging schools to create a video about benefits of membership in SAVMA and student chapters of the AVMA. The schools with the most creative videos will win money for their chapter.

Also, the SAVMA Animal Welfare–Human Animal Bond Committee will join with AVMA to give travel stipends to 25 students to attend the 14th Annual Intercollegiate Animal Welfare Judging/Assessment Contest, which will be held this November at Michigan State University.

The SAVMA Education and Professional Development Committee will extend its North American Veterinary Licensing Examination Study Package Scholarship, funding NAVLE study materials for more third-year students seeking aid.
And the SAVMA Integrative Communications and Diversity Committee increased its funding request for travel grants for students involved with SAVMA, a student chapter of the AVMA, or Student Associates of the AVMA (the associate organization in the SAVMA HOD) to allow students to travel to any conference focused on communication in veterinary medicine.
Delegates representing 33 U.S. and Caribbean veterinary schools attended the two-day SAVMA House of Delegates meeting.
In other SAVMA HOD action, members approved increasing startup funding to SAVMA Symposium host schools from $30,000 to $50,000, approved adding the symposium fund­raising chair and the symposium treasurer to the list of positions eligible for symposium scholarships, created a task force to review the SAVMA governance documents, and changed the name of the International Veterinary Exchange Committee to the International Veterinary Experience Committee.

A look ahead

SAVMA delegates welcomed Dr. Rebecca Stinson (Georgia ‘02), the new AVMA vice president. In her new role, Dr. Stinson will serve a two-year term on the AVMA Board of Directors from 2014-2016. During this time, she will attend the SAVMA House of Delegates meetings and visit veterinary colleges. Dr. Stinson has a personal connection to SAVMA, having served as SAVMA president from 2001-2002 and as SAVMA secretary from 2000-2001. In her address to the SAVMA House, she emphasized that she knows what it’s like to be a delegate and has a passion for veterinary student issues.

The SAVMA Executive Board welcomed the following newly elected members: Ilana Yablanovich (Pennsylvania ’16), secretary-elect; Eric Nickerson (California-Davis ’16), treasurer-elect; Kirk Kasuya (St. George’s ’16), information technology officer–elect; and Stephen Marsh (Texas A&M ’16), The Vet Gazette editor–elect.

The next meeting of the SAVMA HOD will take place at the SAVMA Symposium hosted by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, March 19-21, 2015.   

 AVMA staff member added to work with students


Jackie Ross

The AVMA Membership & Field Services Division recently welcomed Jackie Ross as the new student program coordinator. Her job responsibilities involve working with the Student AVMA and student chapters of the AVMA. Ross joined the AVMA following seven years with the American Diabetes Association, where she managed the nonprofit’s grassroots advocacy efforts, communications, and website and coordinated its Chicago Diabetes EXPO. She was awarded the National Reaching People Award in 2013 for her efforts to strengthen community outreach for the association. 

Ross joined the AVMA July 25 and attended the Student AVMA House of Delegates meeting July 27-28 during the AVMA Annual Convention in Denver.   

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