Awareness campaign emerges from social work student association in light of program’s risk of loss of accreditation

Correction: In the print edition of this article, the Lambda published that the program had lost accreditation. This is a misprint—the program is purely at risk of losing accreditation if they do not meet the hiring requirements set by CASWE. It has been corrected in the story below, and will also be noted in the following print issue.

Following the announcement about the risk of loss of accreditation of Laurentian University’s social work program, the Student’s Association of the School of Social Work has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the role of social workers in communities.

Stephanie Sindori, President of the association, explained that they have been acting as a go-between for the students and the administration as the re-accreditation process unfolds.

“We’ve been an outlet for students to get information,” Sindori said. “We’ve taken all their concerns to our meetings [with the administration].”

The Student’s Association of the School of Social Work feel that the administration have been addressing their student’s concerns in a timely manner.

“They were very responsive; they met with us, and they’ve been responsive in their commitment to hire,” Sindori said.

They’ve developed the #recognizesw or #reconnaîtress campaign in response to the recommendations from the CASWE board, the Canadian Association for Social Work Education.

Sindori emphasized that this is not at all to be taken as a hate campaign against Laurentian. “It’s an awareness campaign,” she said.

“One of the points made in the CASWE report was that students in our faculty didn’t feel like part of the larger student body, and didn’t feel like people were aware that we exist on campus. So regardless [of the risk of loss of accreditation], this campaign was something that was going to happen,” she said.

Sindori explained that the awareness campaign is about recognizing social work, not just as a program, but as a necessary facet of the community.

“Our first campaign is going to be a community rally and hopefully an agency fair on November 2,” Sindori said. “Then there’s a campus march on November 8 at 2:30pm that starts at the School of Ed.”

“We’re also working on a three-part series: first focusing on students, then on professionals in the field, and then on community impact. And we’re also selling t-shirts and sweatshirts, and any profits we make are going to be given back to the community in some way.”

Daniel Lavoie, a third-year student in Social Work, supports the #recognizesw campaign because he feels that it’s important to highlight the role of social workers in the community.

“Social workers are an integral part of our community,” Lavoie said.

“They do a lot of work that people don’t realize, and a lot of their work is behind the scenes. Most people don’t see social workers unless they’re working through issues of their own—so it’s important for us to bring the profession to light so people understand how important social work really is, and how much it can affect a community.”