The Macro Social Work Student Network (MSWSN) began at the Silberman School of Social Work at CUNY-Hunter College in the Fall of 2011. Students of the Community Organizing, Planning, and Development (COP&D) method began a project in class titled the “National Community Organizing Networking Project.” The initial focus was to connect to other macro-focused students at the University of Connecticut’s and University of Pittsburgh’s Schools of Social Work through a video conference. Facilitated by professors of this triumvirate, participants realized that this was just the beginning of what could be a profound and progressive dialogue.
The Silberman students initiated a coalition and developed a trial web site to provide greater organization and collaboration. During the Spring 2012 semester, these students expanded the network to develop more of a national scope.
During the fall 2012 semester, students of the sequential course continued its growth. Allison Weingarten, Silberman ‘13, attended the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting. Through promotion of the project to other attendees, Ms. Weingarten created relationships with individuals from numerous schools, which led to greater usage of social media outreach.
This increased communication led to an in-person event among New York City social work schools and the fledgling organization took on the moniker of National Network of Macro Practice Social Work Students.
What started as coursework for Silberman macro students now had potential for great expansion. Students seized this opportunity under Dr. Terry Mizrahi during the Spring 2012 semester. Nine students impressively chose the Network over other compelling social work campaign options. Now known as the Macro Social Work Student Network, these students used their collective skill set, diligence, and relationship with the Association for Community Organizing and Social Administration (ACOSA) to organize a further-reaching event.
The result was the June 14th, 2013 event “Macro in a Micro World! What the 2012 Rothman Report Means for Social Change Hopefulness.” Co-sponsored by the University of Connecticut School of Social Work; the University at Albany School of Social Welfare; the Silberman School of Social Work; ACOSA; and, MSWSN, the event brought in roughly 50 students from schools such as Indiana, Virginia Commonwealth, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Columbia, among others.
The event featured Dr. Loretta Pyles of Albany and Dr. Scott Harding of Connecticut, who spoke on the Report and what it means for the budding practitioners in attendance. After a question-and -answer session, students shared meaningful, important ideas through open space exercises. As per tradition, the day was capped off with a happy hour and networking.
This event became a springboard for the work MSWSN is currently doing. We look forward to your school joining us in creating greater macro practice and cultures in social work schools across the country. Just as leaders and pioneers of years past have created opportunities for us, it is our turn to produce opportunities for those students and who will follow us, as well as for the future of macro social work practice.