The Lorax in the Dr. Seuss movie says, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Greenville University’s campus is full of people that care. Social work majors specifically dedicate their study time and future plans to helping others. While many people wish to make the world a better place, those in social work devote their entire careers to improving the areas of need in their community and round the world.Greenville University strives to create students equipped with character and service. The social work program at Greenville does just that by sending students to the places where people are hurting. Like all areas of study at Greenville, the social work program is unique in that faith is incorporated as a significant piece of the puzzle. When asked why she chose a major in social work, Autumn Van Buren, a junior at Greenville University, states, “The typical answer is just to help people, but it is more than that. It is about seeing a problem and wanting to solve it.” Van Buren’s statement testifies the importance of this area of study. Loads of individuals want to help people, but few are willing to give their lives to solving the world’s problems.
The broad problem that Van Buren is most intrigued by is mass incarceration. She recognizes that those incarcerated are treated in a way that is unacceptable. She sees this problem and wants to fix it! Van Buren believes that those in captivity have lost their humanity and she wants to do what she can to help them get it back. She wants to work with inmates on release plans which strive to provide housing, supports, and resources outside of prison in order to reduce recidivism.
The social work program here at Greenville has experienced a considerable amount of change in the last couple of years. It is now an accredited program, offers real-life experience and application, and has been growing largely in the number of students. Without being an accredited program, employers may not feel confident in hiring GU’s students. Thankfully, being accredited by the Council on Social Work Education confirms the high standards of the program. Accreditation also opens the door for students to move more quickly through a master’s program if they wish to take that path.
Additionally, the program offers experience in the field by giving students the opportunity to work with individuals and groups in social work agencies, children's homes, homes for the aged, mental and penal institutions, probation and parole agencies, juvenile courts and rural areas. All social work students are required to attain 400 hours of active training.Aside from being accredited and offering real-life experience, the growth of the program is outstanding. Since Van Buren has been a part of the social work world at Greenville, the number of students has gone from 10 to 40. Van Buren mentions professors Hannah Shanks and Carrie Ackerman that can be credited much of the advancement in the program.
Greenville University offers many opportunities for students no matter what they are interested in. For those wanting to commit to making a difference in the lives of those in need, the social work program provides ample resources to make that happen. If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to be a social worker, click here!