“I wish I’d found this program earlier in my college career,” said Trinity Ceasar, a senior who is earning a certificate in Social Justice Advocacy, in addition to her bachelor’s degree in criminology. She has completed three of the certificate’s six required courses and is eager to take three more during her final year.
The Social Justice Advocacy certificate is an applied undergraduate certificate program, housed within the College of Social Work, where students use interactive ways to learn how to create, implement and evaluate advocacy projects.
Stephanie Bank, director of the Bachelor of Social Work Program, who oversees the certificate, explained, “The diverse array of classes that comprise this certificate program offers hands-on learning that prepares students for thoughtful and effective real-world advocacy.”
Elizabeth Hendrix, who has taught the Social Justice Advocacy certificate’s capstone course for years, added, “This program demystifies the advocacy process and gives students a supported environment to try out the skills they’ve learned.” The certificate program draws on an interdisciplinary framework, with course options from nearly 20 departments across campus—social work, entrepreneurship, geography, political science, communication sciences and disorders, sociology and more.
“Part of why I love this program is because of how much I’m learning,” said Ceasar. “The things I’m learning in this program are going to help me have a better understanding of how to do my job, no matter what that ends up being.”
She has always been interested in issues of justice and injustice, and the Social Justice Advocacy certificate courses are giving Ceasar a framework for navigating these complex and evolving issues. “I have a greater understanding of a lot of inequities and better language around diversity,” she noted. She definitely feels it has been worth the investment in a few extra classes to gain what she has from the certificate program. “There are lots of ways people experience the world. I’m grateful for the ways this program is broadening my perspectives.”
“No matter what your day-to-day work is,” said Hendrix, “there are ways you can engage in advocacy to make meaningful change.”