We went to the convention center to get Trisha's poster set up so it would be an easier morning Thursday, then off to Fat Mama's for tamales.
Thursday afternoon, I had to take a short break from the conference and go to the post office. We ducked into an antique shop on the way and I noticed a board game. I suppose nothing should surprise me anymore, but it was a board game first published in 1910 by Parker Brothers called "Darkies in the Melon Patch."
I asked Trisha to hold the game so I could actually document with background that such a game really existed. It appeared to be similar to "Chutes and Ladders." The object was (using dice to identify the number of spaces to move) to reach the end of the game avoiding pitfalls. Pitfalls might be the farmer's shotgun telling you to put the melons back. I know our mouths dropped open. I sneaked a quick picture with my iPhone, and a few minutes later, the proprietor came over to ask if we ladies needed any help. He did not really look that much like he wanted to help us, rather was checking up on us to see what we were whispering about in the corner.
The theme of the conference was "Social Workers Inspire Action." It was actually supposed to be inspire community action, but the program committee opted to shorten it to appeal to others who might not be interested in community work. Trisha's poster was about the San Mateo Empowerment Project, a community organizing action on San Pedro Island, Belize. She and her fellow students are working with a local community and a professor here at Ole Miss to assist the community. The poster illustrated community organizing at its finest: supporting the self-determination of indigenous people, bringing social work knowledge, values, and skills to bear in creating a socially and economically just community. It was the only poster presentation in the conference that actually illustrated social work in ACTION, and at the macro level and in actual practice in a real setting, and thoroughly grounded in generalist social work theory and practice. The others represented research done within the same classroom by a limited setting of social work students on a variety of topics. I found it hard to believe that a survey of 18 students translated into the top presentation. I think I was really objective in viewing all the other poster presentations, in terms of looking at the quality, the accuracy of the approach, the conclusions, and the usefulness of the information to social work practice, and I just didn't get it. I imagine the professors of the other students' thought they were "objective" in viewing the posters of their students, too, but it was hard for us to accept.
Gayle (in the blue) and Trisha awaiting the results at the closing plenary. Gayle was the nominee from Ole Miss for the Social Work Student of the Year. We were delighted that she was selected from all the nominees of the other schools.