GSO Interest Groups & Committees

GSO Interest Groups

Interest groups operate under the umbrella of the Graduate Student Organization. Each of these groups is concerned with significant issues of an identified population within the student body. Interest groups may elect their own set of officers, and each group receives funds from the Graduate Student Organization. These funds are to be budgeted for specific educational programs and events, for the student body, i.e., seminars, guest speakers, and group functions.

Latin American Student Organization (LASO)

The Latin American Student Organization was established in 1974 (then referred to as the Hispanic Students Organization) in an effort to identify the needs of Latino students, influence the policies of the school, and to provide a link between the school and the Latino community. LASO provides Puerto Rican and other Latino students in the school with a vehicle to share ideas, enhance identification with Latino culture, and express sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs and issues affecting Puerto Rican and other Latino communities.

Since its inception, LASO has been concerned with the need for professional Puerto Rican and Latino social workers. LASO works with the faculty of the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project in the recruitment and retention of Latino students.

In addition to numerous conferences, workshops, seminars, and cultural events, LASO and the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project faculty continue to co-sponsor special workshops, and other activities aimed at enhancing and strengthening Puerto Rican and Latin@ social work students, service providers, and the larger society.

Organization of Black Social Work Students (OBSWS)

OBSWS provides support for the Black students in the school as well as in the community. Its goal is to sensitize the school and the larger community to the culture, the experiences, and the needs of Black people of African descent through a variety of forums, workshops, symposia, and artistic displays.

With the aid of faculty and administration, OBSWS hopes to continue to develop the Black perspective in course content. OBSWS feels that this is critical in light of increased negative racial attitudes in this society. Although changing stereotypes, beliefs, and attitudes is a difficult task to bear, OBSWS maintains that Black social workers cannot give up if they are to be agents of change, if they are to make this world more equal and humane. OBSWS invites all Black students to participate in this organization.


PRIDE exists to foster community for LGBTQIA+ students at the UConn School of Social Work.

PRIDE works to ensure that the school’s environment, classrooms, curricula, policies, and events are accessible, safe, open, and affirming to all individuals regardless of sexuality, pronouns, and gender identity and expression. PRIDE also serves as a resource for social work students to be better equipped to provide safe and affirming services for LGBTQIA+ people in their current and future practice.

As a social justice organization, PRIDE is committed to acting through an intersectional lens in our endeavors to support equality and visibility for all marginalized populations.

Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI)

The Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) sub-organization addresses diverse and complex issues concerning criminal justice reform and the role of social workers. Students can discuss and advocate for topics such as the school-to-prison pipeline, the needs of children of incarcerated parents, education in prison, politically oppressive systems, gender, community violence, street culture, police-community relations, and the improvement of re-entry services for formerly incarcerated men and women. SAMI will also provide a space where students can advocate, educate and self-identify as directly or indirectly impacted by incarceration and/or violence.

SAMI events include discussions, forums, panels, presentations, workshops, and direct action on topics related to criminal justice reform, the mass incarceration epidemic, culture and race. Innovative models of political advocacy, community organizing and research will be further explored.

Doctoral Student Organization (DSO)

The DSO interacts with the GSO, doctoral committee, and organizes DSO events. There are three elected student representatives: 1) a student who is in their first or second year, 2) a student who is in their third or fourth years, and 3) one at-large member from any year. The three representatives serve as the conveners/leadership group of the organization. There are new elections every year and students can serve multiple years.

School-Wide Committees

GSO is responsible for nominating and appointing students to serve on various school-wide committees. Students have the opportunity to participate in all but a few of the School’s standing committees. These committees are responsible for policy development, student affairs, etc. The school-wide committees are:

Educational Policy Committee (EPC)

The Educational Policy Committee serves as the school-wide curriculum committee. It is responsible for all curriculum policy recommendations that are submitted to the faculty as a whole. The EPC also has responsibility for evaluating all educational policies, including policies related to advisement, retention, and graduation of students. New programs or other curriculum initiatives, including new courses, are reviewed by this committee.

Committee membership consists of representation from all curriculum units and two students (at least one present at each meeting). The committee meets once per month, typically on the third Monday, and it may meet additional times as needed. Students serve one-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

Educational Review Committee (ERC)

The Educational Review Committee is responsible for the professional gate keeping function of the school. It makes recommendations to the Dean’s Office regarding administrative actions that pertain to the student’s standing in the MSW program.  It has dispositional and consultative authority to review students in academic difficulty or charged with academic or non-academic misconduct in accordance with the School and University’s policies.

The Director of the MSW Program acts as chairperson or convener of this Committee. Committee membership consists of four faculty members, the Director of Field Education, and two student representatives (at least one present at each meeting if requested). The Committee meets twice each month, typically on the first and third Monday, as needed. Students serve one-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

Field Education Advisory Committee

The Field Education Advisory Committee considers practicum issues as they impact agencies, students, and the School, and it serves as an important vehicle for reflecting the professional community’s outlook on the field education experience.

Committee membership consists of 16 people, including two student representatives. The Committee will meet four times a year, twice during each semester.  The meeting schedule has not been determined yet. The committee usually meets from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Students serve one-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

Center for International Social Work Studies Advisory Committee

The International Center Advisory Committee provides advice and support to the Center for International Social Work Studies and oversees the International Issues Focused Area of Study. The Committee is made up of faculty, staff and two students. It meets three times per semester, typically on Mondays. Students serve one-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

Just Community Committee

Just Community is comprised of faculty, staff and Graduate Student Organization MSW and PhD student representatives.  Its role is to facilitate and support educational and advocacy efforts and to enhance inclusion of more anti-oppressive practices in our classrooms, programming and in our daily interactions with one another at the School.  The mission is to create a community that is capable of dialoguing with, learning from, and participating in mobilizing social justice efforts. The Committee meets every 3rd Monday of the month from 9:30 am to 10:30 am.  Students serve one-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

Concentration Committees

GSO is responsible for identifying students to serve on the concentration committees which operate under the umbrella of the Graduate Student Organization. Each concentration, administration, community organization, individuals, groups and families and policy practice should be represented. Each group receives funds which can be budgeted for specific educational and/or social events, guest speakers, food, etc.