The classroom is small with less than 20 people filling the seats, the atmosphere friendly and inviting. One more person trickles into the room before the door finally clicks shut. Let the meeting begin.
The Social Work Association (SWA) begins with greetings, welcoming new and old members alike.
SWA is a registered student organization (RSO) made up of Ferris social work students. SWA works to follow a set of values that are made up of service, social justice, dignity and worth of a person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence.
Ferris social work senior Megan Liede serves as the student government representative for SWA and has found that the SWA gave her a sense of community amongst her program.
“During its spare time, the members of SWA participate in bonding events that bring us together as a group, or volunteer opportunities that help the community around us. There have been times where we go out and volunteer in small groups, or as an entire RSO. Volunteering as a team reminds of us our social work values, which helps prepare us for our future,” Liede said.
SWA originally began in 1999, operating for the purpose of benefiting its students and members, as well as the student body at Ferris while also promoting social justice.
“This RSO benefits me in so many ways,” Liede said. “This was the first group I joined when I came to Ferris. As I’m starting to wrap up my Bachelors of Social Work, I realize that SWA really helped me gain a sense of community here on campus. Being a member of this organization has brought me new friends, multiple opportunities and a sense of belonging. I wouldn’t be as involved on campus if it wasn’t for SWA, and I am so grateful for everything this organization has done for me.”
According to the Ferris webpage, as of the 2015-16 school year, the Social Work program has seen 69 students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in the program and 19 students graduating with a Masters.
Ferris social work senior and president of the Ferris Social Work Association Charlotte Halm originally joined to be more involved on campus. Being a member of the RSO has helped her plan events, write grants and make her a better student overall.
“Aside from SWA being able to put my participation on a resumé or graduate school application, this RSO has provided me with amazing relationships and has allowed me to network with the entire Ferris community. It has also allowed me to stay involved on campus and give back to, not only Ferris but the Big Rapids community,” Halm said.
SWA will be putting on a recruitment meeting Sept. 28 at 11 a.m. in Starr 114 for any social work students interested in joining.