School of Social Work launches NASW chapter

first_imgThe School of Social Work held the inaugural meeting of the USC chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Thursday in the Social Work Center. NASW is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world.The launch was attended by students, faculty and professionals alike. For Carrie Lew, assistant dean of professional development at the School of Social Work, NASW will help create a positive impact on our community as students will have opportunities to collaborate with professionals in the field.“It’s great because as one of the largest schools of social work, I’m sure there’s a lot of impact that we could have,” she said.This enthusiasm was shared by the students such as John Howard, a second-year master of social work student. Howard said NASW has a lot of potential to help students on campus.“I think it’s going to be great as far as individual student education and professional networking in the field,” Howard said. “The information [and education] that’s being passed is tangible. It seems we wouldn’t necessarily get it unless we were here, [talking] professional to professional.”As a newly inaugurated chapter, NASW-USC needs students to take the lead. Howard said he wants to run for an electoral board position.“I’m actually interested in running for president — that’s how interesting it is for me,” Howard said. “I see a lot of exciting opportunities to write grants and work with community around USC as far as the children and veterans. So I see a lot of big things coming out of this organization.”Shantel Vachani, a senior lecturer who teaches policy courses at the School of Social Work and the organizer of the inaugural meeting, emphasized the relevance of the organization as a resource to students.“I think it’s really important to get future social workers and professionals involved in this professional organization,” she said. “Bringing it [to] the campus instead of going out to community gives the opportunity for professionals and students to bridge the gap so that when [students] do graduate and get into the community, they are already entrenched in the profession.”Vachani invited Jorge Diaz,  director and program manager of mental health and substance abuse for Bienestar, a nonprofit social service organization committed to serving the undocumented Latino and LGBTQ communities in Southern California, to speak about future workshops, professional collaborations and internships.“USC has opened the doors to talk about the work that we do in the community,” Diaz said. “It’s great that this school allowed us to talk about real issues that impact the Latino undocumented community.”He said that having interns from USC was a great start and it would be much easier to get students now that USC has a NASW unit.“I think that the next step is to see how we really bridge students and the work that you all do [with] the work that we do,” Diaz said.The NASW-USC unit aims to engage more students in the field of social work. Diaz said the jobs can be very influential.“All you have to do is dream and believe that one person can make a difference,” Diaz said. “It sounds very cliché but that one person could be in this room.”last_img read more