Lisa de Saxe Zerden recently gave her Foundations of Social Welfare and Social Work classes a compelling assignment — write a letter worthy of publishing.
Students were instructed to identify a timely social problem or policy and write a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed to be submitted to a newspaper or magazine. Students were asked to grab the audience with a case example or statistic, provide background on the issue and offer a proposed solution all within the word-limits specific to the publication. They were also encouraged to identify themselves as social work students in order to promote the visibility of social workers engaging in these important discussions.
The issues addressed ranged from tuition increases, wealth and asset building, health insurance, and reproductive rights, to local election issues. Students expressed appreciation for an assignment that forced them to think about issues discussed in class and contextualize them in a current way that impacted their lives.
Ten of the 28 students had their letters published in local and state papers:
- Savanah Banta, Family academy is too important to lose, Durham Herald-Sun
- Joe Bridges, Access to health care is a basic human right, Daily Tar Heel
- Jacob Hafkin, Wolff campaign relying on fear, Carrboro Citizen
- Jackie Mroz, Look to history when voting on amendment, Daily Tar Heel
- Kate Noel, Private donations will ease economic burden, Daily Tar Heel
- Nakita Noel, Policy discriminates, Chapel Hill News
- Nellie Placencia, Right to Know Act is degrading for women, Daily Tar Heel
- Kristina Podesta (undergraduate, senior), Wealth-building, Raleigh News & Observer
- Randy Smith, Candidate’s stance on homeless is disgraceful, Daily Tar Heel
- Charity C. Sneed, Minority bundling, Raleigh News & Observer
- Sara Yates, Abusive centers, Raleigh News & Observer