Social Work Students Advocate in Springfield

Students in SpringfieldIn collaboration with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Trinity social work students recently had an opportunity to learn about and practice the process of advocacy and lobbying.

The Coalition had been working to support a bill to raise income taxes in the state of Illinois to help provide educational programs and social service providers to those in need. Social work students stepped in to help and utilize this hands-on learning experience.

After advocating throughout campus, presenting the petition, and gaining support, seniors Erin Nykamp of Holland, Michigan; Gina Smith of Tinley Park, Illinois; and Danielle Swenson of Milaca, Minnesota, arranged a trip for the social work students to lobby the bill in Springfield, Illinois.

On November 18, students traveled to Springfield where they learned the process of lobbying firsthand.  Meeting with representatives, the students had the unique opportunity to promote the bill.

“This was a good learning experience for me on advocacy, because I have never had to represent a petition before, and we were required to convince people to sign in support of this bill,” Nykamp said.

While there, students sat in on an assembly meeting for the Illinois House of Representatives, giving them another chance to see and understand the process of advocacy in a government setting.

“The trip to Springfield allowed our class to better understand the state legislative process,” said Alyssa Mulder ’11 of Fox Lake, Wisconsin. “It was interesting to find out how much access we actually have to our representatives. Even though they are busy, they still take time to meet with their constituents to hear about issues that are impacting the people in their district.”