By: Katherine Prull '19
NASW-NJ Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) is an annual event that brings hundreds of social work students and professionals together at the State House in Trenton to further explore policy issues in substantive areas of social work practice.
This years' event, held on Wednesday, April 4, was attended by nearly 100 Rutgers MSW students on both the clinical and management and policy tracks thanks to donors Maury Lieberman MSW'66 and Leslie Scallet.
Lieberman and Scallet are also funding a similar experience in Washington D.C. for SSW students. Their inspiration comes from a desire to foster student activism and the importance of policy awareness by making these annual trips and other related activities, a staple in the culture of the school.
Speakers for the event included Analilia Mejia, Executive Director of Working Families, James Gee, Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Renee Koubiadis, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ.
Additional speakers and Rutgers SSW alumni present were Paulina Banasiak MSW'15, legislative aide to Governor Phil Murphy and Tawanda Hubbard MSW'05 DSW'17, president of NASW-NJ's board of directors and on faculty at Monmouth University.
Simone Snyder MSW'18, policy fellow and current co-chair of SSW Graduate Student Association, was grateful for the opportunity to attend the trip and the day's reminder of the policy responsibilities that come with being a social worker.
"We heard from individuals working all over the state and in many different capacities to create, change, and influence policy that impacts all of our lives," Snyder explained. "It was invigorating to be in a room full of social work students from around the state talking about issues that are important to us and learning practical ways to make a difference on multiple levels in the communities we serve."