RMIT staff and students have come together to celebrate the third annual World Social Work Day – Outrage!
More than 150 people attended the RMIT event at Storey Hall to recognise the role of social work and celebrate its contribution to society.
This year’s theme, “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples”, explored upholding human rights for all, building respectful communities, freeing silenced voices and working for human dignity.
The event included presentations from several guest speakers, including Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, Deputy Dean of Social Work in RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia.
Falzon, the event’s keynote speaker, reflected on the importance of maintaining a hunger for justice and equality.
“Those who argue that inequality is good for us intentionally confuse inequality with diversity,” he said.
“Our task is to transform our personal stories of injustice into a powerful, collective struggle for a new society.”
Falzon’s sentiments were also echoed by Dr Sonia Martin, lecturer and Program Manager for the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) and the Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology).
“Social workers, with their expressed commitment to a social justice agenda have an ethical responsibility to carry this forward in practice, whether it be in daily practice with clients or macro policy and research work,” she said.
Many colleagues, family and friends also gathered to celebrate the contribution of Dr June Allan, who recently retired after 38 years of service to social work education at RMIT.
Professor David Hayward, Dean of the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, commended Allan’s teaching excellence paid tribute to her expansive contributions to the practice and her legacy in the social work profession.
Several accolades were also presented to students on the night, including the 2020 Social Justice Award given to Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) student Miranda Tooth.
Student Sarah Hawkins was also awarded the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, while Elyce Sandri was presented the Baptcare Social Work Prize.