G.S.S.W. Plans 10th Policy Action Day

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

For the 10th year, first-year Graduate School of Social Work students will meet state legislators and hear experts discuss issues of concern to human service professionals, when GSSW holds its annual Social Policy and Action Day on Nov. 10 at the Massachusetts Statehouse.

The theme of this year's event will be "The Implications of Social Policy for Elders and Children," and will feature a keynote address by Executive Office of Elder Affairs Secretary Lillian Glickman.

"We try to pick a current theme that is practical and useful for social work students in the field," said Assoc. Prof. Richard Rowland (GSSW), the event's faculty coordinator. "The continuing challenges of providing service to senior citizens and children is a topic of much concern to professionals in the field, and our students will benefit from hearing their comments and observations."

Other scheduled speakers include Massachusetts Department of Social Services Commissioner Linda Carlisle, Committee to End Elder Homelessness President Anna Bissonette, State Rep. Rachel Kaprielian (D-Watertown), Department of Transitional Assistance General Counsel Thomas Noonan, and Parent's and Children's Services Executive Director Gary Bailey. Marilyn Anderson Chase, senior vice president of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay Community Investments Division, will deliver closing remarks.

About 250 GSSW faculty and students are expected to attend Social Policy and Action Day, which also will offer panel discussions on elder and children's issues. Following the presentations and subsequent small group discussions with GSSW faculty, students will be able to meet with state representatives and senators and other legislative personnel.

Rowland said the event, first organized by Prof. Demetrius Iatridis (GSSW), has proven a valuable means for introducing students to a key player in human services.

"For students who are not native to Massachusetts, going to the Statehouse and learning about the legislature is, obviously, quite beneficial," he said. "But there are a number of students native to this state who have never been to Beacon Hill, either. Because social change is an important part of being in the social work field, acquiring a familiarity with the legislature is critical.

"Over the years," Rowland added, "we've continued to place more and more students at the Statehouse, or at agencies closely connected with the legislature, as part of their fieldwork. They've found that Social Policy and Action Day provides a useful beginning."

Return to Oct. 29 menu

Return to Chronicle home page