Social Work students celebrate National Social Work Month

March is not just dedicated to Women’s History Month. It’s also a time to recognize the hard work of social workers in the U.S. Every year, National Social Work Month is celebrated in March to bring awareness and encourage public support for the profession. The students majoring in Social Work here at West Liberty have decided to join in on the celebration by signing a proclamation. The theme for 2022’s Social Work Month is “The Time is Right for Social Work.” According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), this theme aims to take time to learn more about contributions to the profession.

WLU President W. Franklin Evans signed the formal proclamation that marked the start of Social Work Month on March 3 and took time to congratulate students saying,” I congratulate Dr. Senften, our faculty and our students who are preparing to become professional social workers.”

The Social Work students also have a club for those in the program to join, and the clubs’ President, Kamaria Robinson, a junior from Parkersburg, W. Va. is planning a game night for later in the month to further celebrate Social Work Month.

WLU Social Program Director, Sylvia Hawranick Senften, Ed. D., MSW said in a press release that the need for social workers is higher now due to the pandemic “and so many other social issues.” She continued saying how proud she is of WLU’s students as they prepare for their careers and begin to help individuals of all ages to “access social services for a better life.”

NASW states in an article discussing why Social Work is important to society that Social Workers help relieve suffering for people by fighting for justice and improving lives. Many people think Social Workers work within child welfare — but they do much more. Individuals with a degree in Social Work can pursue careers in a variety of sectors in society including schools, social service agencies, community centers, hospitals, politics and mental health centers to name a few.

The field of Social Work has existed for more than a century and is for those who have a passion to help individuals, families and communities work through hardships preventing them from reaching their full potential according to a press release by WLU.

WLU’s Student Government President (SGA), Alexandria Black says she feels celebrating those pursing Social Work on the Hilltop is significant. “How they [learn] to work on social issues, to fix and improve daily functions or trouble families or living is critical.”

Director of Media Relations at West Liberty University Maureen Zambito confirms the university is one of six state institutions in West Virginia that offer an accredited BSW degree. WLU’s program requires nearly 400 hours of internship work ding a student’s undergraduate year in addition to the require coursework.

Senften says, “The field agencies and supervisors are critical to the education of our students. We are grateful to the many organizations that have a true commitment to the profession and offer our students a chance to experience hands-on learning.” Class sizes at WLU for the Social Work program average out around 16 students and offers a Social Work Honor Society Phi Alpha to give students “another supportive boost,” according to Zambito.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, WLU prides itself on being able to award more than $12,000 in scholarships annually. “Many of these awards include stipends for interns, as well as financial support for students that quality,” Senften explained. Having a BSW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education allows graduates to apply for Social Work licensure.

Senften, director of social work program, is assisted by Miranda Blackburn, MSW and Dr. Eveldora Wheeler. Blackburn also serves as the faculty advisor for the Social Work Club.

For more information about the Social Work program at West Liberty University, please visit WLU’s Social Work website or email Senften at [email protected].