Seton Hall University's social work program took its students from the classroom to the United Nations for the UN's 35th Annual Social Work Day on March 26. Organized by the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work, this annual event brings together students, practitioners, educators and international leaders to discuss the important role social work plays in global society.
Widian Nicola, assistant professor in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, has organized this annual trip since she joined Seton Hall in 2016. This year, 35 students were inspired to attend. The theme of this year's event was "SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), Climate Change and Social Work Practice."
"This was a truly eye-opening experience," said Miles S. Callender, advanced standing MSW student. "We as social workers have to stand on the front lines of the global issue because it's going to affect social work on all levels. It's time for us as social workers to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk."
Moderator Shirley Gatenio Gabel, who serves as Chair for the Council on Social Work Education's Commission on Global Social Work Education, stated the sponsors of the event come together for an intervention and the event serves a dual purpose. One purpose is to increase social worker knowledge of the UN's role and the issues being discussed, and the second is for the UN to know social workers are "out there," all around the world.
"Social Work Day at the UN was so incredible. The discussion was thorough and inclusive, as it included outlooks from people who all stemmed from very different backgrounds, which made the learning exciting and comprehensive. Not only was it moving, but it has ignited a new passion in me to want to learn more about this area in social work and want to figure out ways that I can help people affected, and those at-risk," said Olivia Koloszuk, first-year MSW student.
Advanced standing MSW student Innocent Nwachukwu added, "Recently, the impact of worldwide attention to climate change and natural disasters has put the environment, sustainability and well-being in the spotlight. Learning about environmental issues should be part of the social work curriculum in order to provide an integrated theoretical and practical overview of why and how social work might respond to environmental factors affecting our society."
Social Work Day at the UN is available via live video stream here.
Categories: Nation and World