Student Organizations

Social work students have been organized in student associations since the beginning of the social work program at UAF. The Organization of Student Social Workers (OSSW) and the Alaska Native Social Work Association (ANSWA) are registered campus groups, with officers, regularly scheduled meetings, and available meeting places. The latter group helps recruit Native students for the social work program, provides service to the Alaska Native Community, and advocates for the interests and special concerns of Native students in the program. The two student organizations maintain close ties and participate in joint projects. Both groups are open to all students, including non-majors who have an interest in human service work. Faculty members serve as advisors. Activities of the student organizations include guest speakers and meetings regarding information about jobs, writing resumes, applying to graduate school, social problems, social legislation in the state, and the like. In addition, the organizations are involved in a wide variety of campus and community activities. Special projects have included such things as fundraising for the social work scholarship fund, community service projects, assistance with the Festival of Native Arts, and the collection of holiday gifts for residents of local shelters. The various activities and social functions have helped students become more familiar with the field of social work, human services and with community agencies and resources. 

Organization of Student Social Workers


The purpose of the Organization of Student Social Workers is:

  • To provide a means for cooperative efforts among students, faculty and practicing professionals.
  • To offer opportunities for individuals to develop their character, personality, working abilities and professional attitude.
  • To provide executive and leadership training through interaction within the organization
  • To offer practical education in social work through professional programs and activities sponsored by this organization.
  • To promote courses leading to degrees in Social Work and related fields.



Meeting Information

1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 5:30 PM


Paint Night

Why Join?


  • Meet people! Networking
  • Make community contacts
  • Gain knowledge of local programs
  • Pizza parties, picnic, banquet
  • Volunteer experience
  • Looks great on resume/scholarship applications
  • Job prospects
  • Guest speakers
  • Satisfaction from volunteering in community and making a difference
  • Learn fundraising skills

Past events OSSW was involved with:


  • Invisible Children viewing and discussion of Joseph Kony's Child Army in Central Africa
  • Women's self-defense class taught by Social Work Student Jeff Nielson
  • Office of Children's Services (OCS) Foster Family Christmas Party and the Annual Adoption Day
  • Resource Center for Parents and Children (RCPC) Child Abuse Prevention Month Celebration
  • Interior Alaska Center (IAC) Take Back the Night Community Wide Event
  • Choose Respect Rally
  • End of the year banquet to honor students and field instructors!
Social Work




Contact Retchenda George Bettisworth at 907-474-7025 or email




Alaska Native Social Work Association



The Alaska Native Social Workers Association (ANSWA), a student group on the UAF campus, works to bring about cultural awareness and understanding of the diverse Alaska Native Cultures in the state; incorporates a component of providing service to others; and increases student leadership abilities and opportunities. ANSWA is unique in that it not only reaches out to students on the UAF campus, but students all over Alaska, who are taking social work courses via audio conference or through the cohort model. ANSWA has been successful in this endeavor and has many members who live in various communities across the state. At every meeting we have web-based  capabilities for people to participate.




Faculty Advisors

LaVerne Xilegg Demientieff and Gabrielle Russell

ANSWA Officers Wanted

We are looking for students to fill the following positions:

Vice President
Rural Liaison

Social Work
This student group is unique and dynamic and adds to the diversity and opportunities for ALL students attending UAF. ANSWA was awarded one of the "Careers in Aging Week" grants from the Gerontological Society of America, which is a nation-wide effort at different campuses to educate students and communities about the field of gerontology and the importance of working with our elders. ANSWA was also awarded the Arthur J. Schaible Memorial Cultural Enrichment Fund, which is awarded each year to provide funding in the memory of Arthur J. Schaible for a special activity which serves to enrich the cultural life at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 2008 ANSWA was awarded the Diversity Enrichment Award through the UAF Leadership Program.
The benefits to being involved are that it is always a fun time,we are always meeting people, meeting potential employers, volunteering, giving back, being a part of change and social justice, practicing social work skills, and it looks great on resumes and scholarship applications. The club needs more students to be involved and attend meetings and give input. Hope to see you at the meetings!
Social Work




Contact LaVerne Xilegg Demientieff at