top of page

A Rooftop With A View   ​

Standing on the rooftop of the School of Social Work, the view encompasses diverse vistas.The University of Texas School of Social Work has a view that literally, as well as figuratively reflects its mission, its challenge, and its responsibility.

Looking south four blocks, we see the Texas Capitol. Its soft pink grandeur belies the power that this building brings to bear on Texas and its people. With the center of governmental power within the physical reach of the school, our students and faculty haveample opportunities to feel its impact, to practice social work in response to it, and toinfluence those who work under the dome.


Looking north, another vast power…of the Longhorn style. The school stands just south of the University of Texas Royal Memorial Stadium, with its hoopla, its traditions, and its influence on life in the community. The roaring cheers that arise from the stadium serve to remind us on the Social Work rooftop of the quiet or unheard voices of those in our communities who are not yet experiencing a “level playing field”.

Looking east, Interstate 35 is in our immediate view– this is the vein through which flows all traffic moving to and from the United States, Mexico and Latin America. Trucks loaded for NAFTA and drug trade, immigrants locked in semi trailers, traveling in the dark to new dangers and opportunities, commuters on cell phones stressed over traffic, work and family demands, woes over pollution and inadequate transportation resources...all pass under the shadow of our school.


Just beyond to the east is the East Side…home to much of Austin’s racial diversity, both Mexican American and African American. Its historical significance is tied to its black community traditions and its rich Hispanic culture. The community has survived past abuses and presently rekindles its hopes for its children. This view is threatened with industrial waste time bombs and gentrification. The view reminds us at the School of our difficult past, of community resiliency and of our choices for the future.


Beyond East Austin is the vast Blackland Prairie, with its fertile fields of cotton, its Scandinavian and European immigrant roots, its present challenge of rural poverty or suburban sprawl. How will the School of Social Work contribute to addressing this uncertain future?


To the west, the “Violet Crown” peeks over the city…the hill country of the central Texas Edwards Plateau rises up over the Colorado River. In this view, we see hills once populated by deer, mocking birds, armadillos and the rural poor, that are now home to high tech mansions, affluence, privilege, and the continuing shadow of the dot com and economic bust. The School of Social Work faces the challenge of influencing this western enclave to look back to the community at large and the possibilities of civic engagement beyond self interest.


Thus, the view from our rooftop provides us with our vision of the past and the future, of dangers and opportunities all around.                                                          


The School of Social Work’s place and its mission is grounded in this complex geography and its urgent realities. Being present at this cross roads charges us as social workers to incorporate complexity, to see our mandate clearly, and to utilize our knowledge and skills to envision and transform.

Let’s Work Together

Get in touch so we can start working together.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page