Students Focus on Healthcare to Bring Social Justice

By Jessica Stamp
Jambar Contributor

Youngstown State University’s Student Social Work Association (SSWA) aims to bring awareness and promote social justice both on campus and in the community through hands-on actions. 

Lauren Dean, a senior social work major and president of SSWA, wants to concentrate on the wellness of students because of COVID-19. 

“Along with the health care, we’re just going to remind students that they can go to Wick and get all their medical things,” Dean said. “A lot of people don’t realize that the health care is free and [students] have access to it.” 

Usually, SSWA partakes in activities like the NAMIWalks, an event hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to bring awareness to mental health, and Guinathon. Because of social distancing and disinfecting procedures this year, the group decided to focus on health care for social justice.

Dean works on projects with Malini Rajasekaran, a senior social work major and vice president of SSWA. Both women said it’s important for students to become involved with social justice activities. 

“[Students] are kind of directly impacted with the social justice issues we’re trying to tackle,” Rajasekaran said. “We’re trying to get their input … and see how they can help out as well.” 

The group has five members and wants to expand its membership. Rajasekaran said SSWA welcomes input on social justice issues from students.

Laura Dean, president, and Malini Rajasekaran, vice president of the Student Social Work Association promote social justice and access to healthcare within their organization. Photo by Jessica Stamp.

“Because even though we are an executive board, we really want the students to be involved and help us with these things,” Rajasekaran said. 

SSWA members face troubles with meeting together and participating in activities they normally do.

“We can’t meet in person and do the things that we usually do like give direct donations, meeting up with the student body,” Rajasekaran said. “The only thing we can do is find virtual alternatives and work with the students.”

Dean and Rajasekaran said they’re excited to see what kind of impact the social work department will make on the student body.