Buffalo State social work students attend Capitol Action Day in Albany

Student Trip for Capitol Action Day Made Possible through Donor Support


The Buffalo State University Social Work Department sent 11 students to Albany on February 13 to participate in Capitol Action Day, an annual advocacy event held by the New York chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NYS). During the event, social workers came together to discuss issues and promote policies. This year, attendees pressed for the Social Work Workforce Act, restoring Medicaid Home Care access, and increasing the counselor/social worker/psychologist-to-student ratio in schools.

“Most students are drawn to social work because they are hoping to help others, often assuming this work will be one-on-one or with families,” said Associate Professor Jessica Fitzpatrick. “As students go through our program, they learn that social work also helps vulnerable people through macro-level changes. Students attending Capitol Action Day practice advocacy skills and gain confidence fighting for policy changes at the state level.”

Capitol Action Day is open to both professionals and students, who visit their legislators throughout the day via appointment or blanket canvassing. NASW-NYS said the presence of social work students and professionals is “crucial to ensure successful passage of legislation and budget commitments that address concerns and support an expansive and responsive mental health delivery system.”

Capitol Action Day attendees have a discussion

From left: Joey Cicatello, Buffalo State Social Work Department field coordinator; Sonia Swann and Abbey McCarthy, senior Buffalo State social work majors

“Capitol Action Day was a monumental leap into policy practice and macro work,” said senior Alisha Yox, who will graduate with her degree in social work this spring. “Integrating ourselves into the capitol and senate offices to advocate for and convey the importance of these bills was an amazing, hands-on learning experience I am so grateful to have had.”

Support for students takes many forms, and opportunities that allow students to apply learned skills to the real world are critical to effectiveness in the postgraduate arena. 

“Our department is committed to providing students with hands-on experiences in the community, where they can continue to learn about social justice,” Fitzpatrick said. 

But the department can’t do it alone. The help of generous donors made this year’s Capitol Action Day a reality for the 11 social work students. Donations helped cover associated transportation and meal costs that may have otherwise precluded participation. Donations for these opportunities come in through campaigns like Buffalo State Gives (BSG).

BSG 2024 is Buffalo State University’s sixth annual Day of Giving. From noon on Wednesday, March 13, to noon on Thursday, March 14, donors can give online to Buffalo State departments and programs that matter most to them. At BuffaloStateGives.com, donors can read more about each department and program, allowing them to choose a cause that holds personal meaning.

“Buffalo State Gives isn't just a fundraising event,” said Kate Lockhart, assistant to the vice president for institutional advancement and external relations. “The number of dollars raised is important, but above and beyond that, BSG brings the Buffalo State community together to show their support for our students. When someone makes a gift of any size or shares the BSG page on their social media, they are standing up to say, ‘Buffalo State matters to me.’”

To learn more and to donate, please visit BuffaloStateGives.com.

Photos by Jessica Fitzpatrick