By Paul R. Pace, News staff
The Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy, or CRISP, has launched its own student advisory council and is using the slogan and hashtag “YSocialWork” in its campaign to engage social work students and young professionals in promoting the value of the profession.
The Student Advisory Council aims to be a bridge among students, young professionals, the CRISP board of directors and the Congressional Social Work Caucus.
It plans to create opportunities for young professionals to engage with legislators and congressional staff about the need for professional growth and innovation in social work, and to support passage of the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (H.R.1378, S.789), said NASW member Charles E. Lewis Jr., who is president of the CRISP board of directors.
Lewis served as deputy chief of staff and communications director for former congressman, Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, D-New York, who is a social worker.
Lewis said the SAC got off the ground with the help of Shauntia White, who initially asked him about the idea of launching a social work student advocacy day on Capitol Hill.
White, an MSW student at the Catholic University of America’s National Catholic School of Social Service, now serves as the SAC president.
The idea behind “YSocialWork” is to inspire social workers and future social workers to share their reasons for choosing the profession and to explain how the work they perform helps to make a difference for the better, said White, who has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in family science and has been the recipient of entrepreneurial scholarships.
“Our overarching goal is to train the next generation of social workers, whether they are clinicians, researchers, policy practitioners, lobbyists, the whole gamut,” White said. “We want to train them to be innovative thinkers. We’re inclusive. We want everyone to think differently outside the box.”
The SAC has developed a community service campaign where students will link up with congressional offices to host or co-facilitate a community service event that addresses one of the 11 target areas emphasized in the Social Work Reinvestment Act, White said.
“We’re developing a learning project for students to not only know more about the act, but to create stories to tell legislators when they are lobbying at the annual advocacy day event,” she said.
The SAC plans to advance its efforts by:
- Hosting an annual Advocacy Day Forum on Capitol Hill
- Promoting virtual and in-person networking events featuring representatives from the Congressional Social Work Caucus and other social work leaders
- Creating innovative community service campaigns; and a digital educational platform promoting civic engagement.
From the November 2015 NASW News.