The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College social work program’s Social Welfare Policy Analysis class visited Columbus for the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Advocacy Day and the opportunity to meet with district representatives to discuss issues affecting the social work profession. Dr. Anne Sparks, assistant professor of social work, said students and faculty across the state attend the annual event.
“This is an opportunity to gather information on changes and updates to policies. We can then share our assessments of this information with our state senators and representatives and talk about the legislation regarding the policies,” Sparks said. “This is a great experience for the students because it gives them an active role in the future of social work.”
Sparks and Bonnie Dingess, adjunct professor, include the event as part of the class curriculum. The Social Welfare Policy Analysis class is designed to teach students the creation of social work policies and how they are carried out in the field. Sparks said she was glad the students had the opportunity to see the topics she teaches in action outside the classroom
“Social workers have a key role in knowing the policies and programs so they can connect clients with the program most geared to helping them,” Sparks said. “Because of the significance of these policies, it’s important to give the students this kind of hands-on experience to prepare them for the field.”
Becky Hall, a senior from Hamden, said she enjoyed her opportunity be an advocate for the field.
“I felt this was a very positive experience because it gave social work students a voice on current and important issues,” Hall said.
Chelsea Jarrell, a senior from Gallipolis, said she was excited to have an active role in Advocacy Day and create a conversation with state leaders about a topic important to her.
“Having the opportunity to represent Gallia County at Advocacy Day was a great experience,” Jarrell said. “It was interesting to receive feedback from our Ohio representatives on behalf of issues that affect service delivery and consumers in a small rural area. It’s a day I will never forget.”
For more information on Rio’s Social Work Program, contact the Office of Admissions at 740-245-7208.