WWU Social Work Students Participate in Advocacy Day

Ten senior social
work students from William Woods University recently participated in the Missouri Association of
Social Welfare’s annual Student Advocacy Day.
Traveling to the
State Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo., in March were
Olivia Nicholson of St.
Louis, Mo.; Cassie Houf of Mexico, Mo.;
Madeline Ortego of Fayetteville, Ark.; Janine Burns of Hermann, Mo.; Megan
Julius of Columbia, Mo.; Erica Halpin of Niles, Ill.; Amber Thompson of
Wellsville, Mo.; Kali MacLean of Higginsville, Mo.; Bethany Osborn of Columbia,
Mo.; and Devin Bain of St.
Peters, Mo. They were accompanied by with Dr. Elizabeth
Wilson, director of the WWU social work program.
The students observed debates on the Missouri House
floor and made visits to legislators. They also sat in on a committee
hearing. Some students spoke to their
representatives about how certain bills would affect their
They prepared for their visit by
researching four proposed bills, two of which are
supported by MASW and two of which are
opposed. MASW supports a bill that modifies
the eligibility requirements for food stamp assistance
related to drug-related felonies and another that requires
the director of the Department of Revenue to enter
into the
multistate Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement and the department to
implement the compliance provisions.
MASW opposes a bill that changes the
laws regarding elections by requiring a voter to provide photo identification
and another that proposes a
constitutional amendment prohibiting state
appropriations in any fiscal year from
exceeding certain limits.
The students have been working in field agencies
for the past two semesters to complete 500 hours of work with clients focusing
on mental health, immigration, child abuse and neglect, schools and teen issues,
domestic violence, gerontology and adolescent residential care.
The social work students participated in advocacy day
as a requirement for a social work community development and organizing course in which students
learn to advocate for policy changes and practice creating policies and
programs for their clients in need.
William Woods University senior social
work students and their professor who participated
in the Missouri Association of
Social Welfare’s annual Student Advocacy
Day are (left to right) Olivia Nicholson, Cassie Houf, Madeline Ortego, Dr. Elizabeth
Wilson, Janine Burns, Megan Julius, Erica Halpin, Amber Thompson, Kali MacLean,
Bethany Osborn and Devin Bain.