Announcement of New OASW Student Director
Cecelia Irwin, King's University College (London), Western Branch, nominated by Rick Csiernik: My name is Cecelia Irwin. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and explore with all of you why the position of Student Director for the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) beckons me to rise to this challenge.
It was in my early classes as a BSW student at King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario, where the importance of collectivization as professionals in the field was first awakened and later intensified. Now, as a MSW student at the same institution, I am surrounded by peers who often feel isolated in their larger University communities. Frequently, they feel as though they are voiceless, and without advocates who can speak to their unique experiences. The student body in social work can be as diversified as the field itself; and in that diversity lies our strength when we choose to align ourselves as a collective. That is what the OASW is about, aligning a diversified profession and building on our strengths.
My hope with this position is to allow me the opportunity to strengthen the relationships between the students in programs across Ontario with the OASW. While I may not have the answer as to how to strengthen this as of yet, I am confident that through consultation with peers, some innovative ideas can be brought to fruition. I also hope that I will gain deeper knowledge and insight into the development and implementation of policy and how it affects practice. Finally, I am open to being challenged with a variety of tasks that will help me develop both personally and as a professional.
From early on, the spirit of volunteerism and a sense of community have been within me. As an adolescent, I sat on planning committees for the local community centre as well as co-organized the 30-Hour Famine for World Vision in my high school. In those positions, I was responsible for certain aspects of the events, such as organizing schedules, planning, and advertising. In college, during placements, I sat on an ad hoc committee for International Women’s Day where I was responsible for ensuring food and refreshments via donation for over 300 community members as well as set up, clean up, and schedule speakers for the event. While completing my BSW, I was elected as a Student Representative as well as sat on the school council, ensuring a voice for social work students. I also co-organized the purchase, sale, and distribution of merchandise for the BSW and MSW program at King’s University College.
The role of Student Director is one that offers an opportunity to engage in being part of the voice for social workers and social work students in Ontario. The honour of being part of this collective is one that I will hold with great respect if allowed. I thank you all for your consideration.
Many thanks to outgoing Student Director 2005-2007: Melissa Kimber! Throughout her term, Melissa was positive and enthusiastic, highly committed to connecting with social work students across the province, and provided an important social work presence and leadership within the New Health Professionals Network. She is continuing as a student representative on the Program Committee of the Social Work National Conference 2008. Currently, Melissa is in the MSW program at York University pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Health Services and Policy Research, and OASW wishes her the very best!