Social Work Retreat

Social Work Retreat

Monmouth’s Social Work Department held its 21st annual social work retreat in Magill Commons to provide students with an opportunity to connect with faculty on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Sanjana Ragudaran, assistant professor of social work, said, “[The student retreat] helps to orient new and returning students (in addition to faculty and staff) to the Social Work Program and the campus in a fun and informal way.” 

These retreats give students a chance to interact with their advisors, faculty, and other students outside the classroom to extend their support network within the program. Students are also able to ask questions about the upcoming year, Ragudaran said. 

The retreat took place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., ending before freshman welcome. Robin Mama, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Social Work, explained that each year, the retreat has a different theme and this year’s theme was overcoming obstacles. The goal of the theme this year was to get social work students to think about they have overcome obstacles in life and how to excel personally and professionally, as social workers. 

The structure of the retreat is similar every year, but changes based on the theme. The event began with brief introductions, followed by a welcome from Mama. Then, ice breaker activities began that involved student and faculty interaction. Afterwards, lunch was offered where students were able to ask faculty questions related to their studies. The event concluded with a team building activity, explained Ragudaran. 

Brittany Macaluso, a sophomore social work student, said, “[The game] was Family Feud with questions that pertained to social work and the Monmouth community overall, and we did a professor team versus a student team, which I participated in.” 

Macaluso further described how there were “break out” tables with different themes like time management and internship placement. After lunch, students went to another room to make Mandela’s with advisors using three different colors that were representative of the past, present, and future.

Mama considers the retreat “a great way to begin the semester and to reconnect with the students after the summer.” The department began hosting a social work retreat in 1998, when the Master of Social Work (MSW) program began as a way to facilitate relationships between Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), MSW students, and faculty.

PHOTO COURTESY of Brittany Macaluso