By Brooke Bailey
A group of 20 Baylor social work students took the trip to the legislature Tuesday in Austin as part of the annual Social Work Advocacy Day.
The goal was to lobby bills that advocate social work services and the profession itself.
This day provides the opportunity for social work students to go to the state capital and support their field. Baylor, as well as other universities, were represented at the legislature.
The initiative is concerned with issues such as funding for social work research, increased compensation for social workers and proper training for childcare.
The initiative is an effort to bring awareness to the social work profession. It also tries to secure more federal and state investments for social workers. Students are trying to push the initiative to a national scale.
“The students are the driving source,” said Dr. Tanya Brice, associate professor of social work.
They visited the Legislature to meet with people who can make changes, Brice said.
Belton senior Sarah Roberts said it’s a way to remind the Legislature of the issues the field of social work faces.
“We took the time to take initiative,” Roberts said.
“I’m really excited we got to meet one of the representatives,” Roberts said. “She’s going to have a say in what goes on.”
Tyler senior Cynthia Estrada said she is learning about the policies in one of her classes. Estrada said it was beneficial to learn in a hands-on way at the Capitol.
Estrada was also able to sit in on a Senate Hearing. The senate passed a new bill to recognize March 5 as Social Work Day.
Roberts said it was important to show the support of social work policy.
“Its important to me that social work is being represented, and that we have our say in things,” Roberts said.
Estrada and Roberts both said they felt a responsibility to go to Advocacy Day and lobby for these bills.
In previous years, the School of Social Work has taken a bus of students to the Capitol.
However, this year only 20 students signed up to go, which was not enough to take the bus. The small numbers didn’t discourage students who wanted to participate.
“The association’s Social Work Code of Ethics calls for us to advocate. It’s a responsibility,” Estrada said.
Estrada said she doesn’t know to what degree of change her actions on Tuesday may have effected, but every role matters.
“We have to rally together as a profession. The effects will be a lot more visible,” Estrada said.