Are you a current social work student or a social worker new to the profession interested in learning more about legislative or policy processes? Are you a change agent in your local community or on campus? Are you an innovative problem solver? Do you desire to represent the Student Advisory Council under the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) on campus? If you answered yes to any of these questions then YSocialWork may be for you.
As a current MSW student at University of Michigan studying clinical social work, I have limited experience in macro settings. I wanted to learn more about political social work and how I could impact change on a broader level. I began searching for political social work organizations online and came across the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP). CRISP is an independent, nonpartisan 504(c)4 organization that is charged with expanding the participation of social workers in federal legislation and policy processes, bridging social work research and the federal government to ensure evidence based research is known to policy makers, working to expand opportunities for social work students to find field placements in federal, state, and local government offices, and employing strategies to raise social workers’ awareness about the legislative process through seminars, conferences, and webinars. In 2015, CRISP launched YSocialWork, a student advocacy council for social work students and new professionals (individuals who have graduated from social work programs up to 5 years ago).
I was intrigued after reading this information about CRISP and YSocialWork and decided to become involved. Being a member of YSocialWork as a student has given me a variety of opportunities, such as networking with fellow social workers across the nation, participating in trainings and discussions related to voting rights among marginalized groups, the dilemma of advocacy in public arenas, racial injustice, direct lobbying training, advocating for the Improving Access to Mental Health Act, professional innovation in social work, and social workers as global change agents. In addition to the trainings and live discussions, student ambassadors act as liaisons on their campus and in the community to spread the word about YSocialWork. A major piece of the student ambassador program involves preparing for the annual Social Work Advocacy Day on the Hill in March. This event is student-led social work project to build momentum for advocacy on social work campuses in the Washington metropolitan area and across the country. The Congressional Social Work Caucus provides hands-on advocacy training for social work students to learn how policy is shaped and how pertinent issues affecting the profession as a whole can be addressed at the national level. This year the focus will be on the Improving Access to Mental Health Act (H.R. 3712/S. 2173), a bill introduced by Representative Barbara Lee of California and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the YSocialWork program. If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
MSW Candidate 2016
University of Michigan School of Social Work