Student Organizations

Students at Berkeley Social Welfare represent a core of diverse leaders practicing social justice, advocacy, leadership and scholarship. 

To update your group's information, contact Communications Manager Jennifer Monahan. Students interested in forming a new group should review the LEAD Center's instructions for creating a new student organization and contact GSAO Nicole Rucinski (sswmsw_advise@berkeley.edu). 


Dean's Student Advisory Board

The Dean's Student Advisory Board provides input and feedback regarding issues impacting students in the School of Social Welfare. Students are selected for a one-year term through an open application process, with representation from two PhD students, two MSW students, and two undergraduates

PhD: Nehal Eldeeb (neldeeb@berkeley.edu), Luyi Jian (luyijian@berkeley.edu)
MSW: Alexa Crismon (acrismon@berkeley.edu), Emily Hampshire (emily_hampshire@berkeley.edu), Anna Nguyen (annatbnguyen@berkeley.edu)
BASW: Skylar Swan (skyswan@berkeley.edu), John Wu (johnwu@berkeley.edu)


MSW Curriculum Committee

This committee reviews and recommends changes to curriculum and classes, as well as admissions & financial aid criteria, for the MSW program. The committee is made up of faculty members and (non-voting) student representatives. In the past, student voice on this committee has helped push through significant changes, including removing the GRE as an admissions requirement.

Contact: David Pan (david.pan@berkeley.edu)


Social Welfare Graduate Assembly (SWGA)

The fundamental principles of the GA are the promotion of a vibrant student social life, inclusiveness, activism, community service, educational improvement, and professional development. In service to these principles, the GA advocates for students, funds student groups on campus, and directly manages a variety of projects. While the Graduate Assembly provides an avenue for students to organize around the interests of all graduate students, the GA is not necessarily an avenue where delegates should bring direct Social Welfare issues to light (i.e., class curriculum specifics, student complaints on specific school issues, etc.), unless this is relevant to the general graduate body (e.g., the need for more mental health services for graduate students, practical use of WSJ and NYT subscriptions for graduate students, etc.). Currently, Berkeley Social Welfare and its nearly 200 graduate students are represented by Delegates Shatesha Morris and Scott Berger (Class of 2021). For more information on the GA, feel free to check out the Graduate Assembly website. Future steps for Berkeley Social Welfare Delegates will be to create an official succession plan including an election process supported by the department.

Contact: Shatesha Morris (shateshamorris@berkeley.edu), Scott Berger (scott_berger@berkeley.edu)


Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Social Worker Caucus

The Asian and Pacific Islander Social Worker Caucus is a group of MSW students at UC Berkeley who self-identify as Asian and/or Pacific Islander (API). The purpose of the group is to promote networking and connection amongst emerging social workers of API backgrounds, as social services catered to the broad API community are so sparse and limited. API Caucus was also formed to create a safe holding space for API folks to build community with each other and reflect about their experiences in and out of the MSW program. API Caucus also serves to empower and uplift the voices of self-identified Asian and/or Pacific Islander students within a program that lacks representation of this community.

Contacts: Anna Nguyen (annatbnguyen@berkeley.edu), Samantha Susa (sam_susa@berkeley.edu


Black Caucus

Contact: Alexa Crismon, Brittani Kaigler, Shatesha Morris, Shalita Williams; berkeleymswblackcaucus@gmail.com


Cal ARC

The Cal Anti-Racism Collaborative (Cal ARC) creates non-academic spaces for UC Berkeley Social Welfare students, faculty, and alumni to discuss topics of power, privilege, and oppression within the field of social work. This student-led initiative seeks to empower members of the School of Social Welfare community with tools to bring an anti-racist and anti-oppressive lens to their practice in order to advance the movement to end structural racism.

Contact: Chloe France (chloe_france@berkeley.edu) and Sandeep Sabapathy (sandeep_saba@berkeley.edu)


Latinx Caucus

The purpose of the Latinx Social Work Caucus (LSWC) is to build connections to ensure students and faculty feel a sense of belonging and community. LSWC is committed to closing the opportunity gap in higher education and supporting the personal and professional well-being of its members. The Caucus strives to unite the efforts of social welfare students who desire and are committed to working towards improving the quality of life of Latinx people and their communities. We enact our social justice values through political engagement and community building..

Contact: Marylou Mendez (marylou.mendez@berkeley.edu), Lydieth Najera (Lydieth_najera@berkeley.edu), and Angie Santiago  (angie_santiago@berkeley.edu)


LGBTQ+ Caucus

The Social Welfare LGBTQ+ student caucus is a group open to all students in the school of social welfare who are interested in celebrating LGBTQ+ identity, sharing resources, community organizing, and socializing. This group formed last year to help connect LGBTQ+ students within the SSW.

Contact: Ryan Karnoski (ryankarnoski@berkeley.edu)


Lobby Days

To support the profession and advocate on behalf of clients and programs, NASW holds their annual Lobby Days in Sacramento each spring semester. This two-day event gives social work professionals, and students at the undergraduate and graduate levels from across the state, the chance to convene in Sacramento to meet each other, learn skills related to lobbying and advocacy, and meet with legislators to discuss issues related to social work policy, research and practice. Each year, undergraduate and graduate students from Berkeley Social Welfare mobilize to learn about and engage in the process of advocacy, lobbying and legislative action.

See Lobby Days page for more information.


Social Welfare Association for the Greater Good (SWAGG)

SWAGG is a student-run organization consist of undergraduates enrolled in the major. There are multiple purposes of our organization:

  • To exemplify social work values such as service, social justice, integrity, and the importance of human relationships through volunteerism and advocacy throughout the community.
  • To enhance the experience of social welfare undergraduates by connecting students with each other, the campus, and the larger community.
  • To become a liaison between UC Berkeley students and the social welfare community through distributing flyers on campus with fact sheets, sponsoring charity fundraising, guest speakers, advocacy and lobbying events as well as promoting and educating about the profession of social welfare.

Contact: swagg.berkeley@gmail.com


Social Justice Symposium

The Social Justice Symposium (SJS) grew out of student organizing and a desire for a stronger social justice focus within the MSW program experience. Planned around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, this free annual event serves students and community members each year. Through keynote speakers and performers, workshops, and a resource fair during the free lunch, this event aims to educate and inspire while building social justice consciousness and community. Contact: TBD


White Accountability and Anti Racist Practice Group 

We are a new iteration of previous cohorts' group, Check Yourself. As white social workers working within racist systems, we must confront the ways white supremacy influences our work, relationship dynamics and power structures. We aim to further our understanding of how we benefit from white privilege in order to inform and drive our anti-racist action. We seek to build relationships of accountability with other caucuses, in collaboration and solidarity, with an emphasis on amplifying BIPOC voices. We will organize trainings, events, and hold conversations specifically focusing on the work that people who benefit from white privilege must do to show up for a multiracial movement.

Contacts: Chloe France (Chloe_france@berkeley.edu), Bradley Bachman (brad.bachman@berkeley.edu), BerkeleyWAARPG@gmail.com


Past groups

The following groups do not currently have an organizer. Students interested in leading these groups should review the LEAD Center's instructions for creating a new student organization and contact GSAO Nicole Rucinski (sswmsw_advise@berkeley.edu). 

Indigenous Student Caucus

(RE)generation: Indigenous Social Welfare Caucus is a first-of-its-kind inter-tribal graduate student group within the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare. Developed by Indigenous social welfare graduate students and supported by the faculty and staff of the School of Social Welfare and the American Indian Graduate Program (AIGP). We acknowledge the harm that has been inflicted on the ability of many Indigenous Peoples to maintain wellness in the face of colonization and oppression. We believe in the regeneration of Indigenous Peoples and their ability to rise past adversity by recognizing the historical trauma effects on individuals, families and communities. We rise purposefully to create opportunities for future generations to carry on this well-being and heal what was once broken by: Creating spaces and events for inter-tribal cultural exchange and collaboration between (RE)generation members, working to develop inter-cultural relationships with students, faculty and staff within the School of Social Welfare and the University at large by utilizing individual student member skills and strengths through organizing around civic engagement and community service.