The social work department offers a variety of student groups to which social work
students may belong. The social
work club meets every other week and performs a variety of service activities. The social work club also hosts social activities for its members to enjoy. Phi Alpha is the honors society for social work, and its members also participate in many service activities. The social work department is also involved with other groups listed in this section, and gives out a variety of scholarships and awards to its students.
The Social Work Club (SWC) is a registered student organization. The Social Work Club, open to all college students, exists to enhance the professional development of students of the social work profession. Faculty advisors meet regularly with the SWC, however, the organizations is run for the students and by the students (see SWC constitution and by-laws). The primary objective of the SWC is to enhance the learning experience of the Social Work student while he or she is attending the University. The SWC provides both educational and social networking opportunities to the students, the chance to become involved in concrete service projects, and the opportunity to develop both group and leadership skills. In addition, the SWC affords a support system for students and an opportunity to address Departmental and University-wide concerns. Furthermore, the Social Work Club provides students with information relating to their field such as current information and literature on organizations, agencies, and other related areas. The exact goals and purposes of the Social Work Club for the current year are determined by the present year's officers, class representatives, and the active members. Officers are elected by the student body in scheduled elections. The SWC has its own budget.
The SWC has carried out several educational projects, which have involved the University as well as provided a service to the surrounding neighborhoods. These include the bi-annual rose sale, clothing, food drives, volunteering at community centers, and working with families. Social Work Club officers participate in student governance in the University at large through the Student Government Association, and thus have opportunities for the development of leadership skills, for conference attendance, and for enrichment of their entire learning experience at WCU. Student membership in the National Association of Social Workers (NSAW) provides similar opportunities at a much broader level. Students involved in NASW interact with experienced professional social workers and participate in city and regional projects. In addition, SWC has sponsored several fundraisers including the bi-annual rose sale to allow many students to attend national conferences, which enabled them to develop contacts, skills, and awareness far beyond the classroom or local community level.
Numerous activities and projects have been undertaken by SWC. Following are many other specific examples of the activities SWC has sponsored:
- Conferences - Social Work Students attend conferences, seminars, and local, state and national meetings.
- Community Projects - Social Work students engage in a variety of community projects.
- Campus Projects - Social Work students engage in a variety of campus projects.
Each semester, at least one outing for social work majors is planned to enhance the overall relationship among social work students. This outing is especially beneficial to the new students since it provides the opportunity for students to get acquainted in a relaxed social setting, plus it holds the possibility of informal exchange of information. Another benefit is that the faculty is included which affords the opportunity for strengthening faculty-student relationships.
The Social Work Honor Society, Phi Alpha, is a national organization dedicated to academic excellence and leadership in social work. The WCU chapter of Phi Alpha has been in existence since 1991. Students are made aware of this organization through the Social Work Student Handbook (see Appendix), the WCU Catalog, and the Ram's Eye View, handout material, the Social Work bulletin board, class announcements and dialogue at student/faculty meetings. Phi Alpha is run by the student-elected officers (elected each Spring) and has its own budget. A faculty advisor is assigned to Phi Alpha and participates in regular meetings and Society activities.
Each Spring semester the faculty advisor and Phi Alpha executive officers distribute information regarding application to Phi Alpha. The WCU chapter of Phi Alpha sets its own standards for eligibility in accordance with the criteria of the national organization.Eligibility requirements include:
- 12 completed social work credits
- GPA of 3.5 in social work courses
- Involvement in community and/or campus activities.
Students meeting the eligibility criteria are notified by the current chapter President and are officially welcomed into Phi Alpha in an annual Induction Ceremony.Phi Alpha activities include, but are not restricted to:
- Presentations and leadership roles in annual social work conferences (BPD, NASW, PA Chapter of NASW)
- Service projects
- Social activities
- Working closely with the Social Work Club in all of its programs and activities.
Advisor:Dr. Eli DeHope
The Active Minds is a mental health advocacy group that provides support and information to the West Chester University student population about the emotional needs of college students. Each year The Blues Society organizes and hosts a day devoted to mental health with helpful and informative programs for the students and community of West Chester. In addition, students are encouraged and supported to submit proposals to present at local and national social work conferences. Anyone interested in supporting the Mission of the Active Minds is encouraged to become a member. The Active Minds will not discriminate or tolerate the discrimination of any perspective member due to his/her sex, race, religion, creed, color, sexual orientation, or individuals with disabilities.
Advisor:Prof. Claire Dente
Students enrolled in a Social Work Practices course at WCU contact Older Adults to set up 3 interviews. By interviewing the older adult and hearing their stories, the student will become comfortable talking to an older adult, develop his or her interviewing and assessment skills, and gain a different perspective.
During the interviews the student will be preparing a Resource Book especially for their senior partner. This will include photos and memories of major events in their life, in order to create a timeline of the older adult's life. The timeline will provide the students with a sense of how a person moves through life stages. The students may also work with the older adult to develop a timeline of their significant events. The Resource Book will be presented at an Appreciation Reception at the end of the semester, bringing all the volunteers and students together.
Student membership applications to NASW can be found in the lobbies of 114 Rosedale Avenue. There is also a link to NASW on the Undergraduate Social Work Department Blackboard. For more information or to express interest in attending an NASW conference, please see faculty liaison posted in the social work building.