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School hosts Welcome Weekend for incoming students

By Glamarys Acevedo, MSW/MPH student and Student Services program assistant 

The UNC School of Social Work warmly opened its doors to the newly admitted students at the 7th annual Welcome Weekend on April 1011. This event gives students who have been admitted to the advance standing, full time, or distance education programs an opportunity to meet faculty, staff and current students in a unique way.

The building was full of more than 80 new faces over the two-day event. Participants and guests from various states were in attendance: Florida, New York, D.C, Michigan, and of course, North Carolina.

Friday opened with participants attending a direct practice or a community management, practice, and policy seminar. Marty Weems led a direct practice session on the topic of “Introduction to Motivational interviewing.” The community management, practice, and policy session topic was “Participatory Practice in Community Development: A Global Perspective” led by Dr. Gina Chowa.

After, admitted students filled the lobby to meet directly with representative from the UNC Graduate School and the various certificate and dual degree programs at an information fair. Current students were also in attendance representing SOWOSO, SHAC, and the Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship Program. All participants were given a curriculum and field education overview before breaking out into small group sessions. The small group session allowed them to attend two sessions on a special topic of interest. The faculty-led sessions covered a range of interests: school social work, mental health, health care, global transmigration and many more.

The day ended with a reception where admitted students had time to mingle with current students, faculty, and staff. This was a great opportunity for participants to have a casual one-on-one interaction with those in attendance.

Dean Jack Richman gave a welcome to admitted students at the start of Saturday morning’s event. Aesha Green, 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, followed with the highly anticipated session on financial aid. The remainder of the day was spent with current students and alumni. A Q&A panel with current students allowed participants to ask questions that included school life/personal life balance to public transportation in the area. The day ended with a lunch with alumni and a campus tour led by current students.

This event would not have been possible without the help of the volunteer students, faculty, and staff and our SSW Alumni Association. An admitted student shared the impact the event and everyone who was involved made: “I absolutely LOVED the Welcome Weekend. It helped me to get more familiar with campus, staff and my future classmates. I had already decided on UNC, but this won me over even more. I felt that all staff were really interested in my needs and questions. The alumni, staff and current students worked very hard to make everyone feel comfortable, welcome and excited! I feel very proud to be a part of the UNC SSW family.”

The School of Social Work is looking forward to extending this welcome to our Advanced Standing students this summer and the full-time and distance education students this fall.