March 22, 2013
NCSSS Students Coordinate Metro D.C. Social Work Advocacy Campaign
NCSSS students gather outside the Brookland-CUA Metro station to give a "Shout Out" to social work.
The cheering could be heard from the campus side of the Brookland-CUA Metro station. Despite temperatures in the mid 30s, students from Catholic University’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS) were not short on enthusiasm March 22 as they greeted morning commuters.
Wearing T-shirts reading “social workers strengthen the fabric of society” and carrying signs promoting their profession, students and faculty gathered at the Brookland-CUA Metro bus stop as part of the Social Work Shout Out! sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). This year, the Shout Out for the association’s Metro D.C. chapter was coordinated by CUA students.
“We have over 200 people participating today [in the metropolitan D.C. area] and it was all coordinated by NCSSS,” said Anthony J. Hill, assistant clinical professor of social work, as he stood beaming with members of his class at the Metro.
Students in Hill’s Social Welfare Policy and Services class coordinated the event as part of an advocacy assignment.
“The purpose of the event is to demonstrate the size and diversity of the social work profession. Social work students, faculty, and professionals gather at Metro stations to help educate the general public about the social work profession,” Hill said.
Teams representing social work programs at Bowie State and Howard universities and the University of the District of Columbia, as well as social work agencies, gathered during the morning rush hours at Metro stations that included Judiciary Square, McPherson Square, Shaw-Howard University, Silver Spring, Union Station, and Van Ness UDC to give a shout out to social work.
The CUA class was broken into three different teams to plan the event — publication, communications, and constituency-building — which were responsible for contacting D.C.-area colleges and universities with social work programs to encourage students to participate, according to Marta Schenck, a junior social work major from York, Pa.
“We think it’s really important to raise awareness about what social work actually is. A lot of people don’t know exactly what it is because it encompasses so many different things,” Schenck said.
“We’re drawing attention to the social work profession by engaging our students to bring the face of the next generation of social workers to the public’s attention,” said Michael Francum, executive director of NASW, who paid a visit to the Catholic University contingency.
Schenck said one of the best moments of the morning was greeting a group of five social workers on their way to work.
“They were really excited that we were here,” she said. “It’s been really cold but it’s been super fun.”
“They’ve got a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” said Lynn Milgram Mayer, assistant professor and chair of the undergraduate social work program, who joined students. “It’s so great to see them so excited about their profession, and at the same time practicing advocacy.”