Organization of Student Social Workers (OSSW)

The objectives of this student organization are:

  • 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.

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!


Please email Retchenda George Bettisworth at


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

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.