The student associations of SSA provide students with the opportunity to express their views on a variety of issues of importance to the School and the profession of social work, while also providing the student body with a system of mutual support. SSA student associations take an active role in the discussion of academic, professional and political issues in the School. Student associations also sponsor various social activities that enrich the graduate school experience. All registered master’s students are members of the SSA Student Government Association, and all registered doctoral students are members of the SSA Doctoral Student Association. Listed below are all student associations that have been active within the School. All student organizations active for the 2017-2018 academic year, are denoted with an asterisk. 


Student Government Association at the School of Social Service Administration. (SSA/SGA)

The Student Government Association at the School of Social Service Administration encompasses the entire student body of the School. The Association participates in student-faculty committees, sponsors a number of programs and social events involving students and faculty, and provides a forum through which students speak to a variety of issues that impact both the present and future direction of the School.

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Advocates' Forum

Advocates' Forum is one of only a few student-run social work journals in the country. In 2005, AF celebrated its 10th anniversary. During this time, the journal has provided SSA students with an opportunity to make their voices heard, through carefully written and researched articles on innovative topics in the field of social service. AF recruits new board members and a coeditor at the beginning of each school year. During the fall quarter, the board solicits for the academic year's issue; submissions are due in January of every year. Advocates' Forum welcomes articles in all areas of social work, including clinical practice and current social welfare policy and administration. The goal is to continue the tradition of academic excellence that the journal has represented throughout the years.

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Black Student Association (BSA)

The Black Student Association of SSA serves as a resource for the black community and campus community as a whole, fostering education about and expression of black culture. We cultivate scholarship within BSA, and educate the campus community around issues regarding blacks. Our purpose is to honor the strength, diversity, and essence of blacks through an appreciation and celebration of heritage and culture. Our goal is to provide a support network for students through partnerships with staff and the overall student body. Our membership is open to all who are interested in black culture and its importance to our culturally diverse society.

Programs and activities held throughout the year include but are not limited to:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration
This annual celebration focuses on ways to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the slain civil rights leader. Various well-known civil rights advocates, local speakers, and student talent are presented at the celebration. In addition, films, forums, and lectures are hosted.

Black History Month
During Black History Month the BSA pays special tribute to the history, contributions, and achievements of African and African-American people throughout the world.

Informative Programs
BSA sponsors academic and cultural programs, as well as social activities throughout the school year.

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Colleges Aligned Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)

Being a leader in eliminating sexual exploitation from our community, CAASE is frequently contacted by students who are interested in becoming allies and passionate about eradicating sexual violence and exploitation. Unfortunately, we are a small albeit busy office so we do not have the capacity for students to come into the office and complete projects. But CAASE did not want to shun such an important and zealous group of students. Therefore, CAASE has helped college students in Chicago and beyond start Colleges Aligned Against Sexual Exploitation chapters. The purpose of the CAASE chapters is:

  • To act as a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-partisan, voluntary organization affiliated with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.
  • To establish a constituency to work in pursuit of the elimination of sexual exploitation.
  • To study and take action on international, national, state, local, and campus issues related to sexual exploitation.
  • To educate the campus community about issues regarding sexual exploitation.

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Community and Economic Development Organization (CEDO)

The Community and Economic Development Organization (CEDO) is an SSA student organization that collaborates with the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. Our aim is to sponsor activities that promote community awareness, foster sustainability, and improve quality-of-life in underserved neighborhoods.

In the past CEDO has sponsored neighborhood tours: bus and walking tours of communities undergoing change. In addition, each year Chicago Dinners offers a space where University and community members can come together for an evening to share a meal and thoughts around a specific topic. This year, we plan to increase our collaboration with community groups, offer volunteer opportunities, and invite speakers to discuss community development initiatives in Chicago.

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Contemporary Indigeneity

The purpose of this organization is to make accessible, and share, pre-colonial indigenous knowledge at the University of Chicago. Given that ancestral knowledge is based on universal principles, it is accessible to people regardless of racial or ethnic identity, religious or spiritual identities, or sexual identities and orientations. Spaces where indigenous people can share their traditions continue to be lacking, so it is imperative that they be created and sustained. Not only will U of C students and staff be able to join this organization and learn practical skills based on indigenous knowledge that promote holistic well-being, we will also be able to continue challenging racist stereotypes about indigenous and American Indian people that unfortunately continue to exist in society.

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Disability Student Association

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Doctoral Student Association (DSA)

DSA acts as a unifying organization for Ph.D. students at SSA, offering a central forum for the diverse population of Ph.D. students in the School. The Association also pursues academic, professional, and political issues of importance to doctoral students.

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The Elephant (formerly known as SSA Diversity Committee)

To enhance the academic and social experience of faculty, students, and staff through initiatives that support and promote diversity within the SSA community. The Elephant strives toward this goal through facilitating honest dialogue and programming; ongoing evaluation and assessment; and by creating an environment, through academics, student coalitions, and progressive school policies, that upholds diversity and embraces differences.

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Faith and Spirituality in Social Work

The purpose of the Faith and Spirituality in Social Work group is to provide an outlet for discussion, support, and learning around issues concerning the intersection of faith, spirituality, and social work.  The group will carry out this purpose through discussions and speaker events, as well as regular opportunities for prayer, in hopes of increasing awareness and understanding of these issues in an open and supportive environment.

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Feminist Student Association (FSA)

Feminist Student Association brings a feminist analysis to social work issues ranging from violence against women and the feminization of poverty, to the wage gap and other forms of structural inequality. In the upcoming year FSA will work in coalition with other student organizations, host a number of dynamic speakers, and involve itself in activism within the SSA community, and the city of Chicago.

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Group Learning Opportunities and Balance for Evening Students (GLOBES)

GLOBES will offer events tailored to EEP students’ busy schedules. GLOBES will offer fewer events per year and the events will always occur during non-traditional work hours and outside of class hours. GLOBES will provide learning opportunities from seminars and career-building activities led by professionals, volunteer opportunities to promote cohort bonding as well as connecting with communities, and social events to foster community within cohorts and give first, second, and third year EEP students opportunities to engage with one another outside of the formalities of the classroom. GLOBES is unique in that is made specifically for SSA EEP students and will promote part-time evening students to connect with their university culture, add to their skillset as social workers, and build a community within and between EEP cohorts to give each EEP student a chance to maximize their experience at the University of Chicago.

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The International Social Welfare Group at SSA (ISW)

The mission of The International Social Welfare Group at SSA is to promote the discussion of international social justice issues and social work's response to these issues. We seek to encourage dialogue through regular meetings, movie screenings, speakers, and discussions of relevant readings. Ultimately, we hope that the club will lead to the creation of an International concentration at SSA. We have many exciting events planned this year, including a career panel, trivia night fundraiser, and a speaker event.

Our listhost can be joined at the following website: https://listhost.uchicago.edu/mailman/listinfo/international-social-welfare

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Justice in the Field

Justice in the Field is an organization run by and for SSA students to share stories from our field placements in the context of anti-oppressive and social justice principles and to work toward framing solutions that guarantee just and ethical social work practice both for current and future interns.

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Justice Works: Students at the Intersection of Social Work and Criminal Justice

Justice Works seeks to engage and cultivate SSA students' interest in criminal justice as a core component of social work to enable them to be effective social change agents and to promote a more just, humane, and equitable criminal justice system. 

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Latino Student Association (LSA)

LSA is a student organization made up of Latino and non-Latino students who are connected by their ability and desire to work within the Latino Communities. LSA allows students to learn about Latino cultures from a social work perspective by encouraging community involvement.

LSA's mission is to promote social, cultural, and political awareness of the various Latino cultures in Chicago by providing educational and social opportunities to its members, who participate in diverse communities through service and action. LSA's goals are to: Offer monthly social and/or educational outings to explore different Latino communities around Chicago; Provide a forum for discussing important issues existent in various Latino communities; and to hold monthly meetings.

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Older Adult Film Series

This mission of the Older Adult Film Series is to provide a monthly screening of a film about or relating to the experiences of older adults, as an opportunity for students to explore and discuss the unique experiences of this population through a fun, culturally enriching activity.

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OUTreach

OUTreach is a student organization that focuses on providing space for LGBTQ+ students to create community, advocate for marginalized identities, and educate others on LGBTQ+ topics. Besides general meetings for students, OUTreach provides workshops, mixers, and community service opportunities for the SSA community. OUTreach believes that social work practice is strengthened when LGBTQ+ identities and their intersections are visible and affirmed.

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Pan-Asian Student Association (PASA)

The Pan-Asian Student Association is comprised of students interested in increasing awareness around issues concerning the Asian Pacific American community, particularly in Chicago. PASA seeks to explore the experiences of, and cultural differences between, Pan-Asians in the United States. PASA provides support to Asian students at SSA.

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Praxis

The mission of this organization is to translate our collective experiences with social work academia, field work, and social justice theory into community advocacy and consultation opportunities.

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Social Work Innovation and Entrepreneurship Organization

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SSA BridgeWe International Student Group

The purpose of BridgeWe International Student is to bring together both international students and domestic students at SSA and improve their cross-cultural experience through peer-to-peer mentorship and fellowship. We will explore: What it is like to be an international student studying and working as a social work professional in the U.S.; how our presence benefits and impacts domestic students; and how the language and cultural differences create challenges and opportunities for all of us as social workers. The group will encourage cultural exchange through one-on-one buddy support among SSA students and adopt the social work support group model to give ongoing social and emotional support to international students. The group will also engage the university community by collaborating with BridgeMe UChicago Chapter in organizing certain events.

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SSA Peer Mentoring Program

The mission of this organization is to connect first-year SSA students to second-year SSA students through a peer mentorship program that encourages community building, the distribution of critical knowledge, and the facilitation of stimulating dialogue.

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Student Advocate for Veterans Association (SAVA)

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Student Alliance for Mental Health and Wellness (SAMHW)

SAMHW is an organization who's purpose is to enhance the well-being of the student body, particularly in times of academic stress (i.e. midterms, finals) by providing material supplement, health promotion, and channels for relaxation. SAMHW is of the mind that facilitating the strongest working environment for SSA students is best achieved by providing outlets to alleviate stress when students are in the building and devising events to create coping communities within the student population.

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Student Alumni Representatives

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Student Grant Writers Association

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Jelani McEwen

Jelani McEwen, AM '13

When Jelani McEwen begins his new job as Charter Support Manager of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools upon graduation from the School of Social Service Administration in June 2013, in some ways he will have come full circle.