Eric Thornton, a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program (MSW), would like to add to Radford University's rich diversity of student organizations.
Thornton and Jenene Lewis, chapter advisor of the nascent organization, are looking to form a RU chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW). If successful, RU would join VCU and Virginia State as campus chapters of the 46-year-old organization that has geographic student chapters serving Hampton Roads and Richmond. The NABSW advocates for social change, justice and human development of African people here in the United States and throughout the world. Its slogan is Harambee, which means "Let us pull together" in Swahili.
"An active NABSW chapter would complement RU's ongoing diversity initiatives, contribute support to the activities that benefit the campus and community and provide a forum for social justice issues," he said. "The chapter would be open to all majors and be an interdisciplinary way to collaborate and grow individually."
During his undergraduate studies at Virginia State, Thornton helped form a chapter there and served as president. He also served as second vice-president of the NABSW Office of Student Affairs leadership team during which he worked to establish four new chapters and reestablish two others. While completing his MSW at Radford, Thornton is now working as an intern in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
According to Thornton, an RU chapter would be a catalyst for activities like food and clothing drives, voter registration efforts and campus programs about community issues. He also cited an important individual benefit of NABSW membership is the "Sankofa" program in which students are paired with professionals for mentoring to enhance professional development and provide personal support.
"To make a positive change, we want to be proactive," he said. "We can work together across disciplines."
Thornton said he looks forward to allying with and supporting the department of Social Work's existing organizations like the Radford and Roanoke chapters of the Social Work Club and the Beta Xi chapter of the Phi Alpha Honor Society. For more information, contact Jenene Lewis at 831-7690.