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Social work values resonate with SSWA

[caption id="attachment_15806" align="aligncenter" width="560"]SSWA considers support and philanthropy to be of great importance. Photo courtesy of Maryam Saleem SSWA considers support and philanthropy to be of great importance. Photo courtesy of Maryam Saleem[/caption] Whether it be through passing out hygiene kits to the homeless on Essex County Homeless Connect Day or educating students from other schools about the opportunities a career in social work can provide, the Student Social Work Association (SSWA) has a mission they hope to accomplish. According to club president Maryam Saleem, a senior social work major, SSWA is a group dedicated to showing students the impact of social work on the world and providing support for those hoping to enter the field. In the spirit of this goal, the club holds a number of networking events such as last semester’s Social Work Panel in which professionals came to SHU to share their stories of how they became social workers. They also advised students on the trends in social work they should know in order to achieve success. Other than networking events, SSWA considers philanthropy as an important aspect of their identity. Club treasurer Aliyah Toler, a senior social work major, said SSWA has worked with organizations such as East Orange Veterans Hospital and may have other collaborative projects this year with S.O.F.I.A (Start out Fresh Intervention Advocates), Y.M.C.A. of Newark, Isaiah House in East Orange and NASW of New Jersey. “Being connected with these type of organizations (is) important to us because, like us, they’re determined to enhance the community and to assist individuals who are in need,” Toler said. SSWA’s emphasis on community outreach is a definite draw for some of its members, including secretary Erlin Santos, a senior social work major. “My favorite aspect of being involved in SSWA is having the ability to interact with my fellow classmates outside of the classroom setting and to be a part of improving my community,” Santos said. Members of SSWA have the opportunity to be part of Alpha Delta Mu National Honor Society (Social Work Honor Society). According to Toler, one of the eligibility requirements is that a student becomes a member of one of SSWA’s committees or serves on its executive board to be a part of the honor society. Antoinette Gardner, a senior social work major, said that students can become members at any point in the year, and, as a member, attend monthly meetings. These meetings are held in Fahy 103 from 7:45-8:45 p.m. The next meeting is Thursday, Oct. 20. Julie Trien can be reached at


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