Social work students celebrate Social Work Advocacy Day at the capitol through Senate Bill advocation

On March 3, St. Edward’s social work students attended the annual Social Work Advocacy Day at the Texas State Capitol.

This all-day event was put on by the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. It started at the LBJ Library and ended at the capitol, with almost 800 social work students and professionals attending from all across the state. 

Students started their day meeting and networking with professionals in the field and listening to speakers talk about a wide range of topics. Social work is a broad profession that touches on many disparities. Talks included LGBTQ rights, abortion access, mental health, race, socioeconomic opportunities and much more. 

“It was very encouraging seeing different areas (of social work) and seeing the work other people do,” senior and social work major Sabrina Tabibian said. “It made our degree seem realistic. There is a good future ahead of us.” 

Afterward, students headed to the capitol to take part in a rally that congregated near the front steps. Here, students from all over the state gathered to voice their concerns surrounding the current state of social work and to advocate for more support from the government. 

St. Edward’s students were able to get a few meetings to try and enlist support for bills affecting social work. Meetings were held directly with Rep. Lulu Flores and through staff members for Rep. Hinojosa, Sen. Zaffirini and Sen. Eckhardt.

“I feel like we did some good,” senior and social work student Jae Lee said.

Some of the bills students advocated for are Senate Bill 1796, which would provide stipends for undergraduate and graduate social work field practicums, and House Bill 644, which would protect polling places on public college campuses.

“This year, students did an amazing job bringing their knowledge gained through their St. Ed’s education to advocate around issues of interest to them and issues that impact their communities and the clients they serve,” associate professor and social work program director Laurie Heffron said.