The 2016 annual NASW-PA and PAUSWE (Pennsylvania Association of Undergraduate Social Work Education) conference, Forging Solutions Out of Challenges, was a rousing success!
We started with some fantastic pre-conference workshops, such as clinical supervision and a panel on fatherhood, and then had a great reception with our vendors and sponsors on Thursday. The exhibit hall was packed with a variety of resources, including our Gold sponsors Kutztown University School of Social Work and Temple University School of Social Work. Thanks so much to all our exhibitors and sponsors who make the conference possible and provide resources and contacts for our attendees!
The regular conference kicked off Friday morning with an amazing, phenomenal keynote from Mike Veny. Mike shared his story of growing up with mental illness and transforming the stigma of mental illness into a strength. He coped in part through drumming and music, and shared that with us through an interactive experience where everyone got an instrument and felt the unity of becoming a drum orchestra.
Friday afternoon included our PACE luncheon, where we were visited by several legislators, and where our annual PACE pot raised more than $1200. There, we presented the Legislator of the Year to Rep. Tom Murt.
Friday evening was our first ever conference social, a 70's party, and the attendees had a BLAST (and a groovy time!) dancing to 70's music, getting temporary tattoos in our tattoo parlor, taking pictures in our photo booth, and enjoying the food and beverage.
Friday was also the annual PAUSWE dinner, which was a full house and included poster sessions from students and a great keynote by Brent Satterly.
Saturday's program included our awards ceremony, where we were honored and humbled to recognize some truly amazing work among our social work peers. Congratulations to Cara Colantuono (Social Worker of the Year), Janice Davis (Public Citizen of the Year), and Hope Horowitz (Lifetime Achievement Awardee). We were also thrilled to have Mit Joyner, national NASW Vice President, provide a inspirational call to action.
Saturday was also the launch of our SWEETalks, a 30-minute intense training similar to TED Talks. This trial program was a huge success, and will be continued at our next conference.
Overall, we had more than 80 workshops, more than 500 participants, and more than 40 exhibitors and sponsors! All of this was managed by our talented staff, who are commended for their hard work, dedication, and long hours, and the volunteers (including our Conference Committee and Student Volunteers) who contributed their time and creative energy. Thanks to all!