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SOWOSO Caucuses

Students who are interested in an unrepresented area are encouraged to create a caucus. Below are some that are supported by SOWOSO. For more information, contact one of the 2016-17 Tri Chairs: Kristan Rosenthal, Verlissa Mason and Michelle Helton.


Aging Caucus - Sunni Walker and Stephanie Miller (co-chairs)

Homelessness Caucus - Michelle Helton and Breana van Velzen (co-chairs)
The mission of the homelessness caucus is to:

  • Provide opportunities for students to discuss issues surrounding homelessness in a safe space.
  • Bridge the gap between the students of the School of Social Work and the homeless population in the surrounding area by providing opportunities to volunteer in the community, and by engaging the homeless population in discussions about how best to help, and what they experience day-to-day.
  • Organize educational opportunities so students can have a better understanding of the root causes of homelessness, what it looks like in the country and specifically in North Carolina, specific subpopulations, and how they can help as both a social worker, and a concerned citizen, even if not specifically working with the homeless population.
  • Develop student leadership.
  • Provide a collective voice for students’ concerns about this population.

Military Caucus
- Lydia Short and Danielle Knutson (co-chairs)
Re-organized in 2012, the Military Caucus promotes the welfare, social interests, education, outreach, and support of military service members, veterans, their families, and their communities. The focus of the group is on direct service to military members and their families, as well as increasing awareness of mental health and substance use issues that service members face. It seeks to identify and promote ways that social workers can address these issues.

Black Student Caucus - Kali Hackett, Millicent Robinson and William Page (tri-chairs)
Organized in September 1992, the Black Student Caucus addresses the specific needs and concerns of African American students. Through student-oriented meetings and Afrocentric programs, the Black Student Caucus commemorates the contributions African Americans have made to the social work discipline and to the world at large. Honoring African American culture, resilience, and social welfare contributions, the Black Student Caucus assists the School of Social Work in recognizing the presence and value of diversity.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus (LGBTQ) - Danya Holtzman and Kuniko Madden (co-chairs)
Our caucus seeks, first and foremost, to provide a safe space and organized body for LGBTQ-identified students and allies in the School of Social Work. Our aim is to provide a platform to voice issues surrounding LGBTQ identity within the SSW, and to host events raising awareness and fostering conversations about issues related to these communities.

Macro Caucus - Caroline Miller, Olivia Bass and Nora Spencer (tri-chairs)
Macro social work is concerned with impacting social change at the systemic and organizational levels. Founded in 2011, the Macro Caucus seeks to create a coalition of social work students that will work to bring greater visibility within the School of Social Work to the Community, Management, Policy and Practice (CMPP) or “macro” concentration. Through student-led educational, training and networking activities, the Caucus helps inform current and prospective students of the many different facets of macro social work and the variety of career opportunities available to macro social workers. Additionally, the Macro Caucus works with faculty and staff at the School of Social Work to provide greater macro opportunities to students through classroom and field education experiences.

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Mental Health Caucus - Erica Lindenberg and Dani Destiche (co-chairs)
The Mental Health Caucus aims to provide a space for students and professionals to connect around shared mental health interests. Through information sharing, events, community involvement, and training, the MHC strives to foster an understanding of the complexity and depth of mental health, while decreasing stigma around mental illness.

International Caucus - Kokou Nayo, Meinkeng Fonge and J.B. Hallan (co-chairs)
The International Caucus of SoWoSO will allow students to collectively explore Social Work issues and practices across language, cultural, and national borders. Our purpose is to connect social work students with current and future international opportunities and to advance understanding and collaboration beyond a US perspective. We will accomplish this through sharing our existing international experiences, getting involved with global events around campus and the community, and staying informed about trends and topics that impact Social Work internationally.​

Criminal Justice Reform Caucus -
Theresa Collosso and Vanessa Collier-Robinson (co-chairs)
​The criminal justice reform caucus promotes awareness of social inequity, racial and socioeconomic disparities, punitive policies, and mass incarceration evident in historical and current judicial, correctional, and law enforcement institutions.  The purpose is for social workers to prevent and eliminate the exploitation of, and discrimination against marginalized and oppressed groups in our community. The goal is for holistic interventions, addressing social, environmental, and political determinants when working with those involved in the criminal justice system.

Spirituality Caucus - Matthew Case and Sunni Walker (co-chairs)
The Spirituality Caucus strives to promote a greater understanding of spirituality and how it should be assessed and utilized in social work practice; provide a forum for social work students to explore their own spirituality; and through lectures, workshops and/or open discussions, increase awareness of the diversity of how others define their spirituality.

Self Care Caucus - Britnie Hopkins, Megan Cooper and Bethany Bivens (tri-chairs)
The Self Care Caucus provides the UNC SSW student body with regular opportunities and resources to relax and recharge. The caucus recognizes the need for social workers to take care of themselves - physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually - during rewarding, but challenging practice.  Activities include games, snacks, coloring, book exchanges, and more!

Women's Caucus - Katelyn Ehle and Kristan Rosenthal (co-chairs)
The Women's Caucus engages students in a variety of activities that examine, address and educate others about gender-specific issues. Potential topics for discussion include domestic violence, eating disorders, financial management, human trafficking, and women's health/wellness. Specific activities may include group fitness classes, going to movies, brown-bag seminars and discussions, attendance at conferences, and a co-sponsored activity with the UNC Women's Center. Join other students in the Women's Caucus as they explore everyday issues of being a woman in today's world.

Latinx Student Caucus - Victoria Castillo Crouse, Benjamin Ruiz Rosado and Yasmin Garcia-Rico (tri-chairs)

  1. Provide a safe space where Latinx* students can voice their experiences and concerns within the School of Social Work.
  2. Create learning opportunities for non-Latinx and Latnix students to broaden their understanding of diversity within the Latinx culture and issues that affect the Latinx community.
  3. Engage with the wider UNC community to advocate for Latinx student needs.

You can visit our FB page at:

We also have a monthly newsletter, the "Latinx Caucus Digest," which includes: articles on social justice and the Latinx community, upcoming events, and resources for social workers serving the Latinx community.

*Latinx (pronounced "La-TEEN-ex") is a gender-inclusive way of referring to people of Latin American descent that moves beyond the gender binaries.

Social Work and Public Health Dual Degree Caucus -
Amy Shipow and Julia Barfield (co-chairs)
Our purpose is to connect students, faculty, and service providers within the disciplinesof public health and social work through community events and education. This caucus seeks to utilize the complimentary skills from both fields to improve the quality of care provided to those we serve. Members will provide support and guidance to new and current dual degree-seeking students for further guidance on interdisciplinary and collaborative employment opportunities.

Child-Welfare Caucus - Katelyn Ehle and Leah Frahm (co-chairs)
The Child Welfare caucus focuses on the experience of children in North Carolina. Our purpose is to serve as an outlet for students to explore and engage with child welfare issues in Social Work. We will work in partnership with nonprofit and government organizations to identify opportunities for students and community members to advocate for improved outcomes for children in the state.


Social Justice Caucus
Formed in January 1993, the Social Justice Caucus evolved from the desire to explore further and act on social workers' imperative to pursue social and economic justice as articulated in the National Association of Social Workers' (NASW) Code of Ethics. Members are interested in upholding and advocating for people's basic human rights, including equal economic opportunity and freedom from discrimination on a national and global level. The caucus sponsors forums and events that raise awareness of social justice issues, and encourages community participation through direct action.

Men's Caucus
Male stereotypes have permeated popular culture in society and stunted opportunities to confront important issues impacting men including high-risk health issues, high levels of incarceration, increasing alcoholism and substance use, issues around fatherhood, and men's roles in domestic violence. The Men's Caucus seeks to elicit awareness, empathy, and unity among anyone and everyone concerned about men in our communities. The Men's Caucus explores the experience of the male social worker in the academic and practice setting.

Diversity Caucus

Organized in 1999, the Diversity Caucus helps strengthen connections between students, faculty and staff by providing a forum where members of the School of Social Work community can unite to break down the barriers of prejudice, contempt, and ambivalence, and to build knowledge and understanding of self and others for the common wealth of all involved. We will accomplish this through planned discussions, events, and celebrations.

News and Entertainment Caucus
The purpose of this caucus is to unify the School of Social Work through social events and the production of a monthly newsletter. The newsletter provides a forum for students to share upcoming events, announcements, important topics, artwork, and for laughter and inspiration.

 International Social Worker Exchange Program (ISWEP)
ISWEP is not a formal SOWOSO caucus, though it seeks to deepen the international interests of students, faculty and alumni. ISWEP also serves as the International Program unit of NASW-NC, connecting our School with international activities sponsored by our professional organization. ISWEP organizes monthly meetings to explore social issues from a cross-national perspective. Speakers have focused on social issues in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. In 1996, the group held a fundraiser for social work students in Honduras. In the same year, the School hosted two international conferences: Social Workers and the Challenge of Violence World-Wide and Women, Community and Sustainable Development. ISWEP also promotes summer school abroad courses which have been a feature of the School's summer offerings since 1994. In 2004, the summer school abroad course traveled to South Africa.

SOWOSO-sponsored student conference funding

Each semester, SOWOSO handles student funding requests to encourage attendance at conferences related to the social work profession. Students are eligible to be reimbursed for related costs for attending conferences as funds are available.  Please contact tri-chairs for more information.  Students who are interested in applying for funding should:

  • Fill out the funding application form completely
  • Present your request at the monthly SOWOSO meeting where it will be voted on by all attendants, and signed by a SOWOSO tri-chair
  • If approved, submit your form to Cindy Justice. After the conference, present your receipt(s) to Cindy for reimbursement (please allow 4 weeks for your check to arrive)
  • Come back to SOWOSO's monthly meeting to share materials and information obtained during the conference. 

Funding for conference travel is provided through the Office of Development/Alumni Affairs and the Dean's Office.

Student funding request form (pdf)

SOWOSO caucus reimbursement

To receive reimbursement, download and fill out the above form and submit the form and receipts to the SOWOSO treasurer.  

Grievance and discrimination resource
Any student needing to anonymously report or discuss any instances of discrimination or any other grievance within the School can contact the grievance and discrimination student liaison. Students' concerns will be relayed to the Dean without breaking anonymity.