Featured (List) Features

Spotlight on the Social Work Society

Monmouth University is home to students of all different majors and career tracks; nonetheless, one that has gained popularity on campus over the past 50 years is the study of social work. This hands on and interactive field is meant to help families, children, and adults in need.

There are a variety of ways one can pursue a path in social work at Monmouth, including a Bachelor’s in Social Work, a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, a Master’s in Social Work, a Doctorate in Social Work, and a minor in Social Services.

Because of the popularity of the social work program, there are also co-curricular activities, one of which is Social Work Society— a group of social work students that discuss changes within the field, explore problems that affect their career, and study with one another.

Those who go into social work are striving to make a difference in their communities and for those they help. The Social Work Society is a place where social work students can relate to each other and create bonds.

Linda Rodriquez-Alvarez, a senior social work student and President of the Social Work Society, said, “At the age of 16, I developed a strong inclination towards pursuing a career in social work. The inspiration to pursue a career in social work was ignited by one of the campers I had the privilege of working with, and the foundational principles and values of this profession were instilled in me during my formative years.”
Rodriquez-Alvarez continued, “I have long held a desire to contribute to the betterment of my local community in Paterson. The educational experiences and individuals I have encountered have significantly contributed to shaping my own identity.”

Rodriquez-Alvarez reflects on her position, saying, “In my freshman year of college, I joined the club with the intention of increasing my level of engagement on campus. My capacity to acquire expertise from past presidents and engage in collaborative teamwork has adequately equipped me to assume this position.”

Jeanne Koller, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, is one of the advisors to the Social Work Society. She said, “Our social work students have an opportunity through this club to forge connections with each other, socialize, and plan activities.”

Koller continued, “Our annual Teach-In is the primary event organized and planned by the Social Work Society. In the past few years, Teach-In topics have focused on reproductive justice, anti-racism and social determinants of health, impact of COVID-19 on existing disparities, and addictions. The Teach-Ins have been held remotely in the past three years, which have provided people across the country the opportunity to attend and participate.”

Having these events for social work students not only keeps everyone in the loop on current issues, but it helps to see others in the field.

Social workers face many issues in their field that may create stigma regarding what they do, however social workers can be found anywhere to help whoever they need. They work with educators in schools, Child Protective Services, own practices to meet with clients daily, and many more.

Koller expressed, “The field of social work tends to be misunderstood by the general public. A common misperception is that social workers take children away from their parents and break up families. In stark contrast, social workers, regardless of position and role, work with clients with the aim of enhancing their overall wellbeing. The mission of Monmouth University’s School of Social Work captures this sentiment.”
The School of Social Work’s goal is to help their students become the best versions of themselves within the field. The Social Work Society is open to any social work student, or even those who are not going into the field.

Melissa MacDonald, senior social work student and Vice President of Social Work Society, said, “I always encourage any social work student to join because it is a good way to connect with others. The whole profession is about forming connections with others and this a good place to start.”

She continued, “It is also beneficial for freshman who are joining the program because your first year in social work, you do not take many related classes. It is a good way to meet everybody.”

Social workers pride themselves in self-care activities. MacDonald expressed, “We put a lot of focus on self-care, and we do not think it is only for one major. It is a good idea for all students to join [Social Work Society] and to take care of one another.”

If any students want to become involved within the community or enhance engagement on campus, there is always a welcoming home for you in the Social Work Society.