Manchester University
Oak Leaves

March 8, 2019

social work provided photos (2)

Back row: Stormy Buck, Delaney McKesson, John Trenshaw, Ana Acevedo, Paula Rupe, Kierra Thomas, Tiffany Phinezy and Dr. Alicia Dailey. Middle row: Kayla Dull, Paige Dressler, Natalie Stewart, Kristen Krill and Shayla Rigsbee. Front row: Sierra Mitchell, Taylor Cordero, Emily Ryder and Mariah Paris. 

Photo provided by Manchester University Social Work Program Facebook Page

Social Work Students Travel to Indy Statehouse

Tiffany Williams


Manchester social work students went to the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, accompanied by Assistant Professor of Social Work Alicia Dailey and Professor Barb Burdge.

According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the primary mission of social work is to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus 
on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.

Social work students were taken to the statehouse in order to understand the different aspects of the social work profession, such as advocacy. “Social workers don’t just ‘help people’ who are in need,” Dailey said. “They also support changes in policies and laws in order to create fair and unbiased systems. Learning how to advocate on behalf of people with no voices is just as important as learning how to work one-on-one with a client.”

One student on the trip was Delaney McKesson, a senior double majoring in social work and peace studies. McKesson explained that the trip to the statehouse was important to her because she is mostly experienced in the micro level, or social work performed on an individual or small group basis.

A lot of policies held at the macro level, or social work that centers on the investigation of larger scale social problems, govern how McKesson will eventually work at a micro level. “It is very essential that I understand [the policies],” McKesson said. “Going to the statehouse gave me a glimpse into the inner workings of the government, and it gave me some suggestions on issues I may choose to voice my concern on.”

The trip to the statehouse was put together as the Indiana chapter of the NASW (NASW-IN) plans Legislative Education and Advocacy Development (LEAD) Day every year. This year there were about 400 social work students and faculty from across the state that gathered to learn about bills important to social workers and the clients they serve. The students and faculty of Manchester experienced a weather delay on the way to the statehouse. “I don’t think the weather impacted us horribly,” McKesson said. “Our drive down to Indianapolis was taken very slowly so we arrived safely. We were only a little bit late and were able to hear many of the presenters speak.”

The NASW-IN put on a rally that was all about the current governmental policies social workers could reference in order for their voices to be heard. “It was encouraging all of us to join government, even on a small scale and be a part of the changes we want to see,” McKesson said.

The bills discussed in the rally were over bias crimes, supervision by behavioral health professionals, payday lending and more. “In all honesty, I didn’t even know that these bills were in session,” McKesson said. “It took this trip to really call them to my attention and get me thinking about them.”

Dr. Brad Yoder, a former social work, sociology and criminal justice professor at Manchester University, spoke in support of a gun safety bill which would require universal background checks prior to purchasing a gun.

Another part of the trip to the statehouse was supposed to be a meet up with Congressman David Wolkins, who is a former teacher from Warsaw. Wolkins has represented District 18, which includes Manchester University, since 1988. While it is unknown to why he did not show, there are plans to meet with him next year on LEAP Day.

McKesson said she felt it was a very successful day. “My favorite thing about this trip was being in a large group of my fellow social workers, from all over the state, who are passionate about the same things as I am,” she said. “It is very inspiring to have my voice be part of a collective.”