Photo provided by social work club

The group can be found at 12:15 p.m., on second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of each month in room 141 of the criminal justice building with an assortment of food for their regular potluck lunches.

Though they meet in one room like any other student organization, more-often-than-not, members of the social work club are out of the classroom helping the community.

On the Missouri Southern campus, members are scattered out helping to collect donations for the Lion Co-op food pantry.

“As social workers, we are driven to help our community,” said Chelsea Barks, senior social work major and co-president of the social work club. “MSSU is our community and it is making us into the social workers we will become. We always put our nose to the grindstone and help wherever we are.”

While the social work club assists in organizing volunteer opportunities on campus, they also spend a lot of time making a difference in the Joplin area.

Each meeting provides lunch, and it sets up the week by offering at least five volunteer opportunities for the 40 members.

“The main purpose of the social work club is to immerse students in the culture of volunteerism,” said Barks. “Knowing that there are people in our group that are helping all of these different parts of the community is really gratifying.”

As co-president of the club, Barks is challenged to manage those opportunities while also coming up with new ways to keep members engaged, like implementing guest speakers and building relationships with other student organizations.

Another challenge for the group is to change perspective on what social work is.

“Historically, it has been talked about how social work is usually a lot of white women,” said Barks. “We are diverse. We have diversity of thought. We have diversity of different minority groups. We have men in our program. We are welcoming.”

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