Interest groups operate under the umbrella of the Graduate Student Organization. Each of these groups is concerned with significant issues of an identified population within the student body. Interest groups may elect their own set of officers, and each group receives funds from the Graduate Student Organization. These funds are to be budgeted for specific educational programs and events, for the student body, i.e., seminars, guest speakers, and group functions.
Latin American Student Organization (LASO)
The Latin American Student Organization was established in 1974 (then referred to as the Hispanic Students Organization) in an effort to identify the needs of Latino students, influence the policies of the school, and to provide a link between the school and the Latino community. LASO provides Puerto Rican and other Latino students in the school with a vehicle to share ideas, enhance identification with Latino culture, and express sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs and issues affecting Puerto Rican and other Latino communities.
Since its inception, LASO has been concerned with the need for professional Puerto Rican and Latino social workers. LASO works with the faculty of the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project in the recruitment and retention of Latino students.
In addition to numerous conferences, workshops, seminars, and cultural events, LASO and the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project faculty continue to co-sponsor special workshops, and other activities aimed at enhancing and strengthening Puerto Rican and Latin@ social work students, service providers, and the larger society.
Organization of Black Social Work Students (OBSWS)
OBSWS provides support for the Black students in the School as well as in the community. Its goal is to sensitize the School and the larger community to the culture, the experiences, and the needs of Black people of African descent through a variety of forums, workshops, symposia, and artistic displays. In addition, “Black Studies for Social Work Practice” is available as a focused area of study.
With the aid of faculty and administration, OBSWS hopes to continue to develop the Black perspective in course content. OBSWS feels that this is critical in light of increased negative racial attitudes in this society. Although changing stereotypes, beliefs, and attitudes is a difficult task to bear, OBSWS maintains that Black social workers cannot give up if they are to be agents of change, if they are to make this world more equal and humane. OBSWS invites all Black students to participate in this organization.
PRIDE is to serve the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Allied communities at the UConn School of Social Work, including students, faculty and staff.
We work to ensure that our school’s environment, classrooms, curricula, policies and events are accessible, safe, open, and affirming to all individuals regardless of sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
As a social justice organization, we support all efforts to further equality and empowerment for all marginalized populations. We are committed to educating social work students to be better equipped to provide safe and affirming services once they become professionals.
Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI)
The Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) sub-organization addresses diverse and complex issues concerning criminal justice reform and the role of social workers. Students can discuss and advocate for topics such as the school-to-prison pipeline, the needs of children of incarcerated parents, education in prison, politically oppressive systems, gender, community violence, street culture, police-community relations, and the improvement of re-entry services for formerly incarcerated men and women. SAMI will also provide a space where students can advocate, educate and self-identify as directly or indirectly impacted by incarceration and/or violence.
SAMI events include discussions, forums, panels, presentations, workshops, and direct action on topics related to criminal justice reform, the mass incarceration epidemic, culture and race. Innovative models of political advocacy, community organizing and research will be further explored.
Doctoral Student Organization (DSO)
The DSO interacts with the GSO, doctoral committee, and organizes DSO events. There are three elected student representatives: 1) a student who is in their first or second year, 2) a student who is in their third or fourth years, and 3) one at-large member from any year. The three representatives serve as the conveners/leadership group of the organization. There are new elections every year and students can serve multiple years.
In order to establish a new interest group, students must meet the criteria stated in the bylaws.