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One of biggest influences in my decision to choose GSSW derived not only from the exceptional program and the opportunities to work within such a diverse community as Denver, but also the opportunities that abound in the lush Rocky Mountains. I’ve been an avid snowboarder for the past ten years, and the prospect of moving to a place that offered the urban flare yet was still within a short morning’s drive to the hills was something I simply couldn’t pass up! Also, by being a student here at DU, I’ve been able to afford multiple trips to multiple mountains by purchasing the Rocky Mountain Super Pass and apply an enormously large student discount-making these trips worthwhile AND affordable. While I’m still relatively new to the range (I did most of my riding in the Sierra’s) I have been nothing short of impressed at the variety of riding opportunities-from several different trail options, trees, moguls (for you skiers out there) and compared to my California trails, these runs seem to go on forever!

My favorite resorts so far have been Copper Mountain and Mary Jane (the sister mountain to Winter Park Resort)-both within an hour and a half drive from the city. Does it get any sweeter than that?!

Mary Jane (LOOK at all those trees to explore!)





It’s all smiles at Copper! My first run EVER in the Rockies!


If you have a niche for hitting the slopes and are considering it as part of your graduate school relocation, than believe me when I say Colorado is nothing short of mind-blowing. 


29th Annual Marade

This past Monday, Americans all over the country commemorated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with parades, community service activities, rallies, and marches. The citizens of Denver were certainly no exception as the city hosted its 29th Annual “Marade,” the largest gathering in the nation to honor the influence MLK has left on our country’s civil rights history.

Being a member of GSSW’s Queer Equality Alliance (QEA), I had the opportunity to collaborate with my peers and colleagues to participate in the Marade (a two mile march through bustling streets of Denver), carry a six foot banner, and proudly represent not only the institution of DU, but also pronounce my belief that there are still rights being withheld from individuals all over this country-ones that are worth fighting for. The Marade itself was spectacular-it was so powerful being in the midst of so many individuals listening to the inspiring words of MLK, many applauding the progress we’ve made, many hanging their heads in prayer for the long road we still have ahead. As the Marade ensued, political parties lined the streets touting their campaign efforts, sports teams cheered in unison, journalists snapped photos of the event. I felt blessed to  have taken part in the experience.

Being a student at University of Denver, especially in the Graduate School of Social Work, numerous opportunities are afforded-many of which include community involvement and support for those individuals who may not otherwise have a voice. QEA is one of many students groups in this program who are serving the graduate community (and the larger community of Denver) to represent the importance of celebrating diversity and fighting for equal rights. 

Below are some photos taken from this week’s Marade!

Members of QEA and SOBA (Shades of Brown)






Gathering at the MLK statue in City Park, Denver




Beginning the Parade/March





Day Trips from Denver

Sometimes when I am stressed with school, work, and internship it is helpful to take a day trip to appreciate the awesome things that this location has to offer.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.
1) Garden of the Gods
It is only about an hour away and it is free.  It is a must see park in Colorado and has lots of great hikes for all different levels of ability.
2) Boulder 
Take advantage of your free RTD services, jump on the BV, and bus yourself up to Boulder.  One of my favorite things about Boulder is the amazing happy hours, food happy hours that is.  While dining in Boulder can be a bit pricey at times many Boulder restaurants have created happy hour menus that cater to people on a budget.  Two of my favorites are The Med and Brasserie Ten Ten.  They are both located near Pearl Street Mall where you can stroll around afterwards working off everything you ate. 
3) Hanging Lakes 
If you are up for a long day then this is one for you.  It is quite a drive but totally worth it.
It is between a 2-3 hour drive and can be made into a 2 day trip if you aren’t up for driving there and back in one day.  I would recommend doing this day trip in the fall when the trees are changing colors and the mountains are gorgeous.  It makes the drive seem much shorter.  Hanging Lakes isn’t a hike for the faint of heart but if you take it slow most people should be able to do it.  It is a short but steep hike up to a gorgeous lake and waterfall.  It you are a geology fanatic you may want to look at the unique rocks around the area as well. 
4) Rocky Mountain National Park
It is between a 1-2 hour drive.  Again, it is a great place for camping if you want to make it a two day trip.  There are endless opportunities at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Stopping by the visitor’s center is a great way to start.  The park rangers are very helpful in recommending a trail or pointing you in the direction of where wildlife has been spotted that day.  If you aren’t the hiking type you can drive right up Trail Ridge Road and get spectacular views with barely having to move your feet.
5) Fort Collins
Fort Collins is a little over an hour north of Denver.  There are a lot of fun things to do in Fort Collins.  There are lots of little shops, restaurants, and breweries around the area.  You could also hit up the drive in theater to end the night.

Public Transit in Denver

My old minivan, after years of valiant service, was taken out by a famous (yes, famous) Denver dip. I’ll admit, at first, I was thrown into panic at thought of getting to internship, school, work, and fun outings without old faithful. The flames of this fear were fanned by the fact that I live way West, work way South, and want to be able to stay out late on the weekends.

Over the past 2 months, I have been pleasantly surprised that I can get just about anywhere I need in an hour or less. A few tips and notable noticings :)

1. As students, we get an RTD pass and therefore can enter ANY bus or light rail without any further out-of-pocket costs. This means no cash, no lost transfers, just a simple card that you tap against a magical reader thing. (FYI, a pass is anywhere from $80-$140 monthly, so take advantage)

2. That being said, I suggest, you keep this little gem somewhere safe as there are officers on almost every light rail that WILL ask you for your card and verify that you tapped it before boarding.

3. Google is your friend. The maps option under directions is fairly accurate. My only edit is to find stations that may take less transfers to get to as I don’t mind walking.

4. Plan ahead. If I’m traveling from Lakewood to Centennial, these are days I need to leave oddly early and plan my route the day before. Some buses only run every hour, so it’s always good to at least check on what your options might be. 

5. Light Rail is more reliable than Bus. The Light Rail almost always comes the minute it is scheduled (aside from the occasional game day or extreme weather hiccups). The buses are typically 5-10 minutes late. I learned the hard way not to plan on arriving anywhere just on time by bus.

6. The buddy system is still relevant. When out late, I prefer to have a friend or someone traveling a similar route so that I am never alone walking or waiting at stops during late hours. 


In sum: Have no fear, Denver public transit is here! 

Sesquicentennial Event: Surviving the Srebrenica Genocide.

The first time that I walked through the Genocide Memorial Cemetery in Srebrenica-Potočari, Bosnia, I was struck by how peaceful it felt.  The surrounding hills were beautiful, wild flowers were everywhere and the sky was impossibly blue. Rows of thousands of white tombstones, however, made me quickly realize that what happened in that place in 1995 was anything but peaceful.  It was there that thousands of men and boys were slaughtered in the worst genocide in Europe since WWII.


As the Director of DU’s International Service Learning Bosnia & Herzegovina (ISL BiH) program, and the faculty lead for The Social Work Response in Post-War Bosnia course, I have since had the opportunity to visit Srebrenica many times when I bring DU students to Bosnia each summer.  During these trips, we have the honor of working with Hasan Hasanović, the curator and interpreter at this memorial.  Mr. Hasanović survived the 1995 genocide, although most of his family did not.  I have always hoped that he could come to DU where he would be able to have an impact on so many more people than just those who come with me to Bosnia. We are so fortunate to be hosting him as part of the DU Sesquicentennial.

The world promised that the Holocaust would be the last genocide.  Fifty years later, it happened again in Bosnia.  The world knew it was happening, and the world stood by.  Mr. Hasanović has an important story to tell about the human experience of war, genocide and resilience of spirit.  After listening to him speak, we will all be challenged to think about our responsibility toward the innocent victims of war, genocide and other human rights violations.

I hope that you will join us to hear this remarkable man tell his remarkable story.  He will be speaking at the DU Graduate School of Social Work in Craig Hall on Wednesday, January 29, at 4:30.  Please click here for information and registration.

 Ann Petrila
Clinical Associate Professor
Director of Field Education at GSSW
Director of International Service Learning Bosnia & Herzegovina

Reminder: Surviving the Srebrenica Genocide on January 29, 2014

The Graduate School of Social Work in partnership with the University of Denver is pleased to announce Mr. Hasan Hasanović to the Graduate School of Social Work for this unique visit.

2014 marks the University of Denver’s Sesquicentennial and “Surviving the Srebrenica Genocide” a first-person account is one of many events honoring the university’s anniversary.

Hasan Hasanović is currently the Curator and Interpreter of Bosnia’s Srebrenica-Potočari Cemetery and Memorial Centre.

This remarkable event will be happening on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 starting at 4:30pm in the Boettcher Foundation Community Room of Craig Hall, home of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver.

Craig Hall is located at: 2148 South High Street, Denver CO 80208.

Please direct questions to Richard Bishop at (303)-871-3615 or Richard.Bishop@du.edu.

Hasan event 1142014

Click here for information and registration.

2014 is here! Is your application in?

Happy 2014 from GSSW Office of Admission & Financial Aid!

2014 is going to be a great year for GSSW! For more information on why 2014 is going to be a great year (at least from a historical perspective) visit: http://wp.me/p1bIUQ-p2.

With the New Year our admission staff are back to work getting applications downloaded, reviewed, completed, and making decisions. If you haven’t submitted your application yet please do so today! You can apply by visiting our websites: see below for information on application link and directions.

Application Directions & websites for our MSW programs and PhD program

MSW Denver campus:Priority application date is January 15, 2014!

Application directions: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/ApplicationInstructionsMSW2014.pdf

Application website: https://myweb.du.edu/mdb/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage

MSW Durango campus: Priority application date is January 15, 2014!

Application directions: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/admission/msw/applyfourcorners.html

Application website: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/fourcornersapplication.pdf

MSW Glenwood Springs campus: Priority application date is January 15, 2014!

Application directions: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/admission/msw/applywcolorado.html

Application website: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/westerncoapp.pdf

PhD Denver campus: Priority application date was December 15, 2013. Please apply if you are still interested!

Application directions: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/ApplicationInstructionsPhD2014.pdf

Application website: https://myweb.du.edu/mdb/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage

Additional helpful information resources:

Is my application complete? It might be!

Denver campus applicants:

If you applied for our MSW on our Denver campus or our PhD program on our Denver campus visit: https://myweb.du.edu/mdb/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage and log in using your self created username & pin. If you have trouble logging in contact our Office of Admission at (303)-871-2841 or gssw-admission@du.edu

Durango & Glenwood Springs campus applicants:

Please contact Nick Ota-Wang in our Admission Office to check on the status of your application. He can be reached at Nick.Ota-Wang@du.edu or (303)-871-2779.

How will I be notified of my admission decision?

For all of our applicants you will be getting a formal letter to the address you applied to GSSW with. Typically you’ll receive this letter 4-6 weeks after your application is complete.

How does Financial Aid awarding work?

Depends on the program you applied to. Contact our Office of Financial Aid at gssw-finaid@du.edu or (303)-871-2841 to ask about your Financial Aid package details and further information.

I got an offer admission and want to pay my deposit, how do I do that?

In your admission letter you’ll receive instructions on how to pay your deposit online. If you lost this information or if you would rather pay by check/money order contact the Office of Admission at (303)-871-2841 or gssw-admission@du.edu so we can provide you with the necessary address & directions.

When is my deposit due? 

Deposits for all programs are due by April 15, 2014.

How much is my deposit?

Your deposit is $300.00.

I wasn’t offered admission. Can I reapply?

Yes! Please contact our Office of Admission at (303)-871-2841 or gssw-admission@du.edu to find out how to re-apply for the next academic year.

I want to visit campus & see a class before I make my admission decision. How can I visit campus & see a class?

Campus visits & class observations can be done by contacting Nick Ota-Wang at Nick.Ota-Wang@du.edu.

For campus visits please send Nick your availability by day(s) and time(s). Please keep your times between 9:00am – 3:30pm Monday – Friday.

For class observations please indicate what area(s) of Social Work you are interested in and what day(s) & time(s) work best in your schedule. Nick will do his best to accommodate your needs!

I applied to GSSW and see you have an upcoming Information Session. Should I sign up? 

You can but our Information Sessions are for students who have not yet applied to our program. If you are interested in visiting campus please see above for campus visit information.

My question wasn’t answered on this blog posting… who do I contact to get my question answered?

Contact our Admission staff! By phone to (303)-871-2841 or by email gssw-admission@du.edu. We are happy to help answer any question or concern you may have!

DU celebrates its Sesquicentennial (150 years)


The University of Denver will celebrate its Sesquicentennial (150 Years) as a university in 2014.

Below is a picture of campus as it would have looked in 1864.


Photo courtesy of: http://blogs.du.edu/magazine/files/2013/11/OldCampus-2c892s3.jpg

Below is what campus looks like today (2014):

University Hall 2014

Photo courtesy of: http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg112/MobyLL/DU/UniversityHall2.jpg

Both photos are of University Hall which was is currently the oldest building on the DU campus. Ground breaking on University Hall took place around 1890 (http://hdl.handle.net/10176/codu:55330)

As part of the larger university celebrations the university is hosting many events throughout the year to help the DU community, supporters, and alumni celebrate this momentous moment in the universities history. The main university blog posted a great article about the history of the university that we at GSSW think you all should go read and share. Their blog can be viewed at:  http://blogs.du.edu/magazine/campus-community/university-to-celebrate-150th-anniversary-throughout-2014.

In addition to this great article the university has a Sesquicentennial website with all the events and information that will happen over the next school year. We encourage everyone to visit: http://www.du.edu/live/eventseries.html#sesquicentennial.

The GSSW Class of 2014 is graduating in an unique year for the university and are also our last class to graduate under our old curriculum. Lots of changes are happening at GSSW and at DU and we hope everyone is ready for the journey with us!

Happy Sesquicentennial DU! We’re glad to be a part of such a great university!