The School of Social Work is proactive in Community Engagement in many ways, including:
Started in 2012, Humanities 101 (HUM 101) course is now run each spring at Renison. A tuition-free university-level program for economically marginalised individuals, HUM 101 is intended to awaken interest in education, increase self-esteem, and serve as a springboard to further community involvement and/or education.
Thanks to a strong partnership with The Working Centre, study groups take place at one of that agency's locations in downtown Kitchener. On Thursday evenings, students attend classes at Renison. There are eleven guest instructors from a range of disciplines: leisure sciences, applied health sciences, social psychology, public health, economics, environmental studies, engineering, social work, communication studies, and education. There are also six TA volunteers, five students from the BSW program, and two KW community members.
Professor Trish Van Katwyk coordinates the course, which has 20 students this year. Financial support for the program comes from The Doris & Ross Dixon Foundation as well as the University of Waterloo, in addition to the many people who contribute their abilities and expertise as volunteers.
Walls to Bridges
Renison University College’s (Renison) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program and Stonehenge Therapeutic Community in Guelph partnered in 2016 to complete the first Walls to Bridges (W2B) social work course offered through the university. A student noted, “During the last four years in University, I have never had an experience like this. In my social work education, we talk a lot about the value of working WITH people rather than FOR them and I believe this course is a perfect example of putting social work code of ethics into practice.”
This innovative program was offered to students delivered in a residential treatment facility with a population of men and women suffering from chronic and acute addictions who were mostly criminal justice-involved students. Half the students in the class were justice-involved from “inside” and half were undergraduate social work students from “outside”.
Professor Alice Schmidt Hanbidge of Renison, and Cheri Bilitz, PhD student (both nationally-trained W2B leaders), co-facilitated the course where students studied as peers in a for-credit, semester-long seminar course that emphasized dialogue, problem-solving and transformative learning. Group projects with collaborative dialogue aimed to foster egalitarian and collective learning propelled students into social action in the justice and mental health systems. In examining issues of marginalization, oppression, mental health and addictions using circle pedagogy, this pilot course linked personal experience and academic learning with the power of experiential learning to facilitate deep student learning. One Stonehenge student shared, “…class left me feeling empowered to want to be part of positive change in the world around me. I cannot change the past - mine or “the way things have always been done”, but I can continue to advocate, champion and produce changes in our world. I believe that working within the system instead of against the system is the best way to create sustainable and positive changes in our society.”
Overall both inside and outside students determined that their assumptions about each other and the facilitators were rattled, as they realized that we are all more alike than different - reinforcing we can never judge a book by its cover.
Visit the Walls to Bridges website for more information.
BSW students social actions working with community agencies
Bachelor of Social Work students in the Advanced Macro Practice class are rolling up their sleeves and bringing their own social change to the community as part of their final project.
In this class last year, students were followed by peers, faculty, politicians, media personalities and community stakeholders. A group was interviewed on CBC and some of the projects extended beyond the course into research, social service, practicum and community work. Participants in the class were pleased to find out how helpful and supportive others were towards their projects.
Professor Funke Oba says that students are surprised by how much they learn in this class.
Students said it beat any other form of learning they had so far as it was different, scary, experiential and totally awesome at the same time. Many said it forced them to look inward, think critically, and interrogate their own privilege but they also discovered strengths, passion, purpose and inspiration as they enjoyed new found confidence and came away with a can-do attitude.
Advanced Macro Practice (SWREN 422R) examines and compares the strengths, limitations, differential uses, and interconnections of the range of skills needed for community organization, social planning, and social policy practice. Practical applications such as conference planning, proposal writing, and fund-raising are explored and used in their final project, which is to hold an event that supports and raises the profile of different social issues.
Here is a list of all the events being held as a part of this project:
Thursday, November 12, 5:00-6:30 pm
Renison University College, Room 2102
How can YOU make a difference in the midst of the current migrant crisis, and beyond? Did you know that approximately 250,000 immigrants and refugees enter Canada each year? Many of these people need the support and services provided by social, educational, healthcare, and legal professionals. As interdisciplinary professionals and students, we have a responsibility to provide informed and competent care to those we interact with each day. By listening to the stories of this population, we can better understand their needs and the barriers that they face. Please join us on November 12, 2015 for an interdisciplinary panel featuring:
- Sue Grafe, Nurse Practitioner at Refuge Hamilton
- Vinh Nguyen, Professor at Renison University College
- Bharat Khatiwada, MSW Student at Laurier University
- Nancy Singer, Waterloo Region Community Legal Services
Thursday, November 12th at 7:30 pm
Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College
Contact: Kathleen Foldvari
November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month! Get Involved!
Did you know…1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence. Yet, less than 1/3 of female victims report incidences of domestic violence to the police.
Are you experiencing Domestic Violence? Do you know someone who has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence? If so, you are not alone! Many people have or know someone who has been touched by domestic violence yet few people talk about it. It's a ripple effect. The effects spread. Come learn how to generate a positive ripple against the violence. End the silence.
Domestic violence affects us all. Let's talk about making a positive ripple in the domestic violence pond and giving victims a voice. Please join us in being part of the discussion on Thursday, November 12th, 2015 at 7:30pm in The Dunker Family Lounge at Renison University College. All women deserve to live in an environment free from fear and violence. What can you do to help?
Follow us on Twitter!
Thursday, November 12, 5:30 pm
Renison University College, Room 2106
Contact: Nathania Dreiling
Sex trafficking: it's happening in Canada, it's happening in every major Canadian city, and it's happening right here in your city. Join us as we fight back against sex trafficking in Canada with an educational presentation. We are Bachelor of Social Work students fighting to bring awareness to sex trafficking as a national and local issue. We believe no one should be a commodity.
Timea Nagy, Human Trafficking Survivor and Social Advocate
Constable Jeffery Merrigan, Waterloo Regional Police
Donations to support the event and the cause will be appreciated. Free parking after 5pm @ Renison & Resurrection College (across the street from Renison) Spaces limited. Paid parking ($6) at Conrad Grebel. Doors open at 5:30pm – Seats are limited, so please RSVP! To RSVP & for more information contact: Nathania Dreiling - email@example.com
Friday, November 13, 2015, 1:00-3:00 pm
Student Life Centre, UWaterloo
Contact: Lauren Bates
Did you know that suicide is the number one cause of death, on our campus? We are not okay with this. This needs to change. We are seeking to raise awareness, on mental health, counselling, and well being services, on the University of Waterloo campus. Please join us, on November 13, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, in the SLC, to learn more about on campus resources, and self care. Let's take a stance for mental health and well-being. As BSW Students we are seeking to raise awareness about mental health, wellness, and counselling services on the University of Waterloo campus.
Please join us, on November 13, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, in the SLC, to learn more about on-campus resources and self-care. Let's take a stance together for our mental health and well-being. #SWselfcare
Each time you post what you do for self-care with the hashtag #SWselfcare you will be entered into our draw to win "The Ultimate Self-Care Gift Basket" filled with goodies to treat yourself! And check us out on Facebook!
Did you have breakfast today? Lunch? Dinner? What if you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from? What would it be like to not have FOOD? About 13% of people in Canada experience food insecurity. That’s roughly 4 MILLION hungry people. How can we break down barriers to food access? How can we help to better connect people to sustainable sources of food? These are the questions we are seeking to address through our project.
The Event: Food Collection and Competition
(ANYONE can participate!)
Here’s how it works!
- November 6-19:
- Please donate non-perishable food. You can leave your food donations in any of the five food collection bins around Renison. (Bins are located in the English Language Centre, the Ministry Centre, the Student Life Office, Renison Reception, and in the Principal’s office. All food will be donated to the FEDS Food Bank.)
- Form a team, give yourselves a cool name, and sign your team up by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sending us a message through our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/foodbridgekw).
- November 19:
- Attend our event at Renison, find out about barriers to and resources for food access in Kitchener-Waterloo (including our very own FEDS food bank!), and compete against other teams to build structures out of the donated food. The winning team will receive a gourmet food basket.
Follow us on Twitter @foodbridgekw and like us on Facebook for updates, information, and pictures of the November 19 food structures!
Date and time: Thursday, Nov. 19, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: REN 0403
Contact: Andrew Barton
You are invited to join us in the process of social change! Attend a traditional land acknowledgement ceremony followed by a soup and bannock lunch. All are welcome!
Date and time: Thursday, Nov. 12, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location SLC Room 2134/2135
Contact: Kera Vijayas
Help us find the tools to dismantle the master's house. We want to hear from you! What is feminism? Why is it still relevant? How does it impact your life? Participate before the event by sharing your thoughts via Twitter @Y_FEMINISM, share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #YFEMINISM, or share your story by email to YFEMINISM@gmail.com
Field Instructor Workshops - in class and online
We offer workshops for new field instructors before they supervise our BSW and MSW Students.