Intro to Social Change workshops coming soon

Ashley Barletta, Staff writer

Beginning in March, the Mercyhurst University Social Work Department is hosting the “Intro to Social Change Workshop Series.”

There will be four total workshops which will each be one hour long and take place over Zoom. However, it is not required that you attend each workshop; you can pick and choose the ones you are interested in attending.

Monday, March 8 will hold the “Advocacy: How To Make Change” workshop from 4-5 p.m. Students will learn advocacy by using the three-step process of educating, organizing and lobbying.

March 11 will be “Organizing: How To Bring People Along With You.” This workshop will focus on building strategic relationships and coalitions, as well as planning events. The workshop taking place on

March 22 is entitled “Lobbying: How To Influence Laws.” During this workshop, students will learn policy, politics and process, which will help them to carry out efficient strategies and lobby visits.

The final workshop will held on April 8 and will be entitled “Transformative Conversations: How To Talk About Tough Social Issues.” This workshop will discuss how to have difficult conversations while advocating for social change. Students will learn about the psychological aspects that make these conversations difficult and how to work with people who have different views than themselves.

Each workshop will be interactive, featuring presentations, large group discussions, breakout rooms and activities. NETWORK Lobby Staff will be leading the workshops.

This organization was founded by Catholic Sisters and inspired by the Second Vatican Council. Their mission is to educate, organize and lobby for economic and social change, which is exactly the purpose of the workshops.

The history of NETWORK began in 1971, when a group of Catholic sisters got together “to create a nationwide ‘network’ of women religious who would engage in political activism at the federal level for social justice,” according to their website.

The original 47 sisters, who came from different ministries, met in Washington DC while the Church was under reform from Vatican II. Many of these women were also involved in the Civil Rights movement, the Feminist movement and anti-war activism.

Together, they developed “The Network,” which officially became an organization in 1972, and is now called NETWORK. Today, NETWORK continues to advocate for Catholic Social Justice, especially in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

NETWORK Lobby Staff host many other events which advocate for social transformation and the organization can be contacted using their website:

All you must do is go under “Invite Us” and submit the type of event that you would like them to lead.

The reason that these workshops can happen is thanks to the Equity, Inclusion and Justice Initiative, the Black Students for Unity, Applied Sociology and Social Work Department, the Campus Involvement Center, Campus Ministry and the Community Engagement Office all collaborating to bring NETWORK sessions to campus. The support from these groups of people is much appreciated.

There is no registration required to attend these workshops, so just tune in using the Zoom link found on the HUB. If you have any questions, email social work professor, Laura Lewis, Ph.D., at