Social Work Queer Alliance focuses on health, equity, and self-care

At one time, the word “Queer” was a slur against the LGBTQIA+ community, but it has since been reclaimed, and is now used a source of empowerment for various individuals.

It is the empowered version of “Queer” that is embodied by the Social Work Queer Alliance (SWQA), a group founded by former students Kristen Prasiloski (She/Her) and Tina Zerilli (He/They) in 2021 and passed on to co-presidents Austin Ash (He/They) and Samantha Dwornick (She/Her) in Fall of 2022.

SWQA leadership
From left: Current SWQA Co-President Samantha Dwornick (She/Her), former SWQA President Kristen Prasiloski (She/Her), and current SWQA Co-President Austin Ash (He/They)

“The response from Wayne State University’s School of Social Work students and faculty has been overwhelmingly supportive,” said Ash. “Currently, we have 121 people on our mailing list.”

“One our main goals is to provide a safe space for WSU students who are part of the Queer community or are allies to our community. We’re also focused on Queer advocacy at the campus and community levels,” said Ash.

Currently, SWQA meets each Wednesday from 12 - 2 pm in Room 289 of the Student Center, known as “Queer Study Buddies.”

“Although it is called ‘Study Buddies,’ it’s mainly a drop-in for individuals to get assistance with various concerns they have as well as to hang out in a safe space and make friends. We’re open to individuals from all majors who have a love for social justice and Queer-related issues,” said Ash.

While there is no limit to the number of issues that can be addressed by SWQA, this year the group will be focusing on mental/physical/sexual health, equity, and self-care.

“As college students, we understand that this can be a hard time, and want to provide a space where Queer students feel heard and represented,” said Ash.

A number of events are in the works for this year, and updates will be posted via Get Involved, their email list, and School of Social Work email updates as well.

To learn more about upcoming events, find out news, and join SWQA, visit their Linktree.

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