By Melanie Sadur, MSW student
The UNC School of Social Work held its 6th annual Welcome Weekend on April 4-5, 2014, inviting all admitted full time, distance education, and advanced standing students to meet faculty and current MSW students, and explore the UNC campus. This interactive two-day event was filled with speakers, panels, food, and the spark of new connections and friendships.
A record-breaking number of prospective students were in attendance, with 96 prospective students and over 30 guests. While a majority of prospective students were from North Carolina, guests arrived from a total of 17 different states, including Oklahoma, California, Texas, and more.
Welcome Weekend kicked off on Friday with a session led by Mat Despard on “Improving the Financial Security of Low-Income Families,” and Betsy Bledsoe-Mansori on “Introduction to Interpersonal Therapy and Evidence-Based Practice.” Next, the lobby was buzzing with eager prospective students at the Certificate Programs, Dual Degrees & North Carolina Residency Fair. The fair gave attendees the opportunity to talk to faculty, staff and current students about their particular areas of interest. Welcome Weekend participants spent the rest of the day learning about MSW curriculum and field opportunity options, as well as attending small group sessions on a variety of social work topics including families and children, international social work, mental health, and substance abuse, to name a few.
Prospective students returned to the School on Saturday for another day of activities, including a warm welcome by Dean Jack Richman, and a helpful financial aid overview from Aesha Greene, UNC’s assistant director of graduate and professional programs, and Sharon Thomas, assistant dean of recruitment, admissions and financial aid at the School of Social Work. They then attended student panels led by current full-time, distance education, and advanced standing students, who kindly volunteered their time and answered many questions for prospective students The day ended with a lunch with School of Social Work alumni, followed by a campus tour.
Feedback from Welcome Weekend attendees was very positive. One attendee summarized, “It was great to hear from faculty and from the Dean, and I could really tell that they are passionate about the work they do. I am so excited to start the MSW program in May.” Another attendee acknowledged feeling welcomed to the School of Social Work, saying, “The School offers so much support and assistance that I felt right at home.”
The School of Social Work is excited to see many of these new faces in classes in the fall. Thank you to all of the faculty, current students, and attendees for making the event a success.