Monthly Archives: March 2013

Three social work students and two scientists walk into a coffee shop….

This sounds like the intro to a bad joke. It is actually the opposite. On January 24, 2013, the San Diego Space Society (SDSS) presented their “issue” along with five other organizations to Social Work 758: Community Organizing & Problem Solving. This class takes the Consensus Organizing Model and applies it to real life problems in organizations, communities, programs, etc. Each spring semester this class is offered to San Diego State University Master of Social Work students enrolled in the Community Development concentration.

Professors Mike Eichler and Drew Lautemann define the class as an “interdisciplinary (law and social work) course that prepares future non-profit administrators and public interest and community lawyers to work for community change. The students work in groups to investigate and develop solutions to specific community issues.”

My group consists of two other Community Development interns, Lauren Cook and Jessica Manning. We selected the SDSS as our first choice to work with during our last semester in the MSW program. We have narrowed down their overall sustainability issue to a solid, educational outreach program.
We are all placed in schools in City Heights for our internship. This creates a great opportunity for us to reach out and build relationships with stakeholders who may benefit from a space-based educational program. We have approached this issue from several angles and been met with only a few barriers throughout the project.

Overall, we are really enjoying this surprising collaboration of scientists and social workers. Most of our meetings with the SDSS are held at a coffee shop near the San Diego State University campus. (Insert initial joke here: Three social workers and two scientists walk into a coffee shop…) Informing people of my project has been my favorite part and rightfully warrants more than a few laughs from potential partners. I look forward to seeing what my group and the SDSS can create by utilizing the Consensus Organizing Model effectively.

Amanda Alls, 2012-2013 Community Development Intern