Graduate College of Social Work wins Spirit Bell competition
The Graduate College of Social Work building was drenched in red and white streamers and decorations to celebrate their Homecoming, which won them the UH 2013 Spirit Bell Competition. The tailgate then led into the first monthly presentation of their guest speaker series.
“This year is a little different because there is no stadium, so we decided to do the tailgate here,” said GCSW Director of Alumni and Career Services Ann Liberman. “Then we invited our alumni here, and they are kind of driven by continuing education, so we tried to pick a topic that would be of interest, like cultural diversity.”
The tailgate, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the GCSW building, included beer and wine, barbeque, pastries, a high school style “photo booth,” face paint and balloon animals. This was sponsored by both the student and alumni associations.
“The theme this year was ‘Welcome to the Red Age’, so I wanted to add as much red as possible, and the streamers were the (best) way to do that,” said second-year graduate student Dixie Hairston, who designed many of the decorations. “I’m glad to see so many people here showing school spirit. It’s really cool.”
The GCSW Alumni Association set up an information table for the speaker series presentations for social workers. This event provides the GCSW with continuing education unit credits. These presentations are done throughout Houston once a month. The tailgate led into the first speech of the series at 7 p.m. in the GCSW building.
“It’s about a different way of looking at cultural competency that moves beyond learning about ‘the other’ and the festivals of ‘the other’ and the culture of ‘the other,’ which is our typical approach,” said social work professor Luis Torres, who presented the speech ‘Culturally Competent Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations: Going Beyond Food, Fun, and Festivals.’
“It starts with the self; learning who I am, what affiliations and festivals and cultures define about who I am and then learning about ‘the other’ and what his or her affiliations are and how they shape who that person is.”
The University of Houston Alumni Association also introduced a donation drive to benefit the students of the North Forest Community. There will be various drop box locations that will be collected by the GCSW through December.
“The donation drive is to get hygiene products, uniforms and school supplies to kids, which are usually done at the beginning of the year, but we are doing it mid-year because that’s usually when they run out of supplies,” said UHAA President Tony Fernandez.
At the game on Saturday, UHAA and the University of Houston Staff Council announced the GCSW as the winners of the 2013 Spirit Bell Competition, presenting them with a plaque at the first timeout of the second quarter.
“For a number of years, our college has competed, and we’ve always been like runner-up, and this year, we won,” Liberman said. “(The Spirit Bell) gets to stay in (the GCSW building) all year.”