The Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) has officially launched its new Student Advisory Council, also known as #YSocialWork. Launched on September 28, 2015, this membership-based organization for social work students and young professionals will work toward development of new social work leaders and promote social workers' involvement as future candidates for political appointments and elected office.
#YSocialWork's president is Shauntia White, an MSW student at the Catholic University of America's National Catholic School of Social Service. According to White:
YSocialWork is a young professional component of CRISP and is an outlet for students to inform policy at the federal level. To me, YSocialWork is where young minds meet to address the myriad issues affecting our workforce, including the recruitment and retention of future social workers. Much of what is taught about us is that social work salaries are grossly low and unfavorable compared [to] other professions. However, what is less taught about us is that social workers can inform policy, and if we change the way we think about professional innovation and growth, we can also create solutions to today's complex social and educational problems.
White believes that YSocialWork will change the way social workers do business at all levels and in the political arena. "The social work profession is in a new wave of political empowerment, and the rate of graduate students who desire to engage in social policy has increased since 2013," she points out. "The data on the growing number of macro students describe the very fiber of Generation Y and Z - socially conscious, entrepreneurial, community oriented, and change-focused. Specifically, millennials from all walks of life and backgrounds are positioning themselves for social and political change and are ready for action."
Further, White believes "it is time for social workers to take an active stance and embrace a hybrid of social work macro principles and business innovation activities, as found in social entrepreneurship."
The Student Advisory Council/YSocialWork will hold an annual advocacy day forum on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, as well as networking events. Student ambassadors have been recruited from schools of social work around the country. Next week, the ambassadors will begin a training focused on debates and dilemmas in social work, adapted from a course designed by Michael H. Morris, Ph.D., former department head of the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Through monthly conference calls, the ambassadors are encouraged to “think outside of the box” and create innovative solutions to the social work profession’s most pressing issues.
Membership in the Student Advisory Council/YSocialWork will offer a range of benefits, including educational offerings.
Says White of this week's launch: "The responses are good. We have received a lot of inquiry even before the launch. We are truly just getting started!"
As part of the launch, YSocialWork is currently conducting a 30-Day Logo Challenge with cash prizes. Enter your design no later than October 28.
Watch for our feature on Shauntia White in the Fall 2015 issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER magazine!