Kean University boasts many active and intriguing clubs that truly enhance campus life for students. The Social Work Club strives to unite students who are interested in the social work profession in both a social and academic environment. The club seeks to cultivate each member's personal and professional development. Moreover, they focus on community involvement and social welfare for all people.
The Social Work Club is effectively led by its eboard members: President Katy Engel, Vice President Tara Canavera, Secretary Damarys Escoto, Treasurer Marylou Russo and Directors of Public Relations Mary Costa and Hieka Wiese. With every executive decision they make, they hope "to foster growth of the social work profession and help develop a better understanding of social issues and ethical values."
"The social work club has added the necessary component of interdisciplinary teachings into the programs that they host," Costa said. "Social workers continuously work with psychiatrists, occupational therapists and speech pathologists among other professions. To work with them most effectively, it is imperative to not only be able to work with them but also understand their profession."
Set to graduate in May from the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, Canavera reflected on why she joined the Social Work Club.
"I wanted a chance to give back to the social work program and teach other students on campus all the things you can do with your MSW," Canavera said.
Each eboard member has recognized the impact the club has had on them and are forever grateful for becoming involved in the Social Work Club. They have witnessed a myriad of opportunities that opened them up to new experiences and new faces.
“Being involved in the Social Work Club has allowed me to meet and develop relationships with my classmates and others in the field of social work,” Engel said. “It has enabled me to expand my professional network, enhance my educational experience at Kean all while setting up events that will help others. It’s a win-win situation!”
Russo noted that the Social Work Club develops students in their professional lives but also in their social lives.
"Joining the Social Work Club provided me with leadership and professional development opportunities, to engage in social activities and to build lifelong friendships,” Russo said.
Escoto explained that the club provided opportunities outside of the classroom to augment her learning.
"It has exposed me to different aspects of the social work career," Escoto said. "In having and coordinating events, I have also expanded my network on and off campus, further enhancing my professional growth."
Costa noted how the knowledge that she has accrued throughout her time in the Social Work Club doesn't disappear when she graduates.
"I feel privileged to have been in this club and to have my knowledge in the field of social work. I plan on integrating the knowledge and values I gained into my profession as I enter the field of social work," Costa said.
Members can attest to the Social Work Club's ability to develop teamwork. By uniting people with similar interests and different backgrounds, the club provides a setting ripe for not only diversity but also teamwork.
"It has shown me the power of teamwork. It allowed me to meet some very important people in our state government. I made lifelong friendships and enhanced my leadership skills," Canavera said.
Escoto also credits the club for connecting and networking with others in her area.
"It has provided me an opportunity to work closely with fellow peers involved in the same interests," Escoto said.
The Social Work Club held various events throughout the semester that have garnered a large attendance. The club hosted a viewing of a documentary on apartheid, speeches from Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver and other women leaders in social work and a powerful testimony from Lockey Maissoneuve concerning her book titled "A Girl Raised By Wolves". The group looks to continue holding events that students can truly benefit from.
"We want to continue planning more engaging programs and [highlighting] people who are making a difference in the lives of others. We want to continue our yearly trip to the United Nations [Headquarters], where we get to sit in the seats that world leaders sit in. We look forward to continuing to work with other departments and clubs to bring greater events to the university."
Although designed for those majoring in social work, the Social Work Club is open to all students of any major. They "aim to create, develop and promote an interest in social work as a profession to other students and the public".
For more information on the Social Work Club, visit its Cougar Link web page.