Small group, big impact

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By Katie Tegtmeier (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: June 6, 2012

SWSA: Students Wearing Ski Attire? Students Who Swim Association? You could keep trying, but chances are unless you have heard of it, you wouldn’t guess the acronym stands for Student Association of Social Work.

They may not be a very well-known association here at UFV, but the Student Association of Social Work (SWSA) has made a substantial impact both on and off campus. If you visit their UFV site, you will find a basic description of what the group is all about. This webpage notes many of the important causes they support and plan. For example, the SWSA planned UFV’s End Racism Day in March. The SWSA cares not just about UFV students enjoying life on campus, but also the well-being of the communities they live in.

According to the previously mentioned website, SWSA is a student organization that “strives to support, represent, and advocate for students in the Bachelor of Social Work degree program.” Yet, despite this, they also accept students from any program path. They also welcome volunteers to help out with fundraising events.

These fundraisers include the samosa sale, Pink Shirt Day, Miss Representation (a movie showing in U-House co-hosted with AIM), and the International Women’s Day art exhibit, just to name a few from last semester.  As well, they host Wednesday community dinners for $2 and free pancakes at U-House the same day. Stephanie Van Dyke, SWSA’s faculty representative, shared some of her own thoughts on participating in Pink Shirt Day. “Along with Curtis Magnuson and Rhonda Styles, Pink Shirt Day was organized in a short period of time, and the success was phenomenal,” she said. “It was definitely neat to be part of a group of organizers, who when all was said and done, could step back and say, ‘wow.’”

Stephanie Van Dyke is a Bachelor of Social Work student with a minor in Child Welfare. There were a number of factors that drew her to the program. “I liked the idea of a group of social work students doing things in the community that incorporate the theory and techniques that we learn in class,” she explained. “The idea of a group that can work on behalf of the Social Work and Human Services students, advocating to better our education, while giving back to the community and being active on campus was something that I think really drew me to SWSA.”

For those interested in the association, Van Dyke shared a few parting thoughts. “SWSA is open to all students at UFV – those who are currently in the Social Work and Human Services department and those who are not. I encourage all of these students to join! [SWSA] has provided me with a strong group in which I am able to voice my ideas and opinions, while hav[ing] the opportunity to give back to [the] University community and [the] University at large,” she said. She also spoke of the way it had affected her life. “It has humbled me greatly, and has presented me with a number of learning [opportunities] through teamwork, personal growth, and community development.”

According to Van Dyke, getting involved is easy, even during the summer. “SWSA is still running in full force for the summer semester, and [we] welcome student participation at our meetings, events, and through email!”

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