Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University social work students learned about the legislative process and social change during a February visit to the New Mexico Statehouse.
Approximately 34 undergraduate social work students in a community organizing class participated from the university’s main Las Vegas campus, Albuquerque Center and Rio Rancho Center.
“At its core, social work is about social change and social justice for all people and communities,” said Highlands social work professor Rebecca Moore. “It’s important to engage social work students early in their education in community organizing and social justice issues.
“This visit to the legislature gave our students a different perspective on how social change occurs through lawmaking and politics. It was very eye opening for them,” Moore said.
She said the students had the opportunity to meet with State Senators Pete Campos, Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Doreen Gallegos to learn about different bills being considered during the legislative session.
Social work professor Rocky Romero and adjunct faculty Lou Ann Romero also joined the students at the legislature.
“The senators stressed the value of the social workers’ perspective when creating social policy,” Lou Ann Romero said. “The students left feeling empowered and interested in community organizing and advocacy as future social workers.”
Romero added that this was many of the students’ first visit to the New Mexico Roundhouse during a legislative session, and it helped demystify the process for them.
The social work students also had the opportunity to meet with with their state representatives, hear speakers on the floor of the House, learn about internships and tour the capitol.