An outdoor movie theater?

Yes, GSA, the Graduate Student Association at GSSW, recently bought an outdoor projection screen for community nights! Our new on-site (portable) movie theater had its first use this past Friday with a screening of The Princess Bride. GSA sponsored a happy hour for students, faculty, and staff, providing food and space for some much needed R & R. After some tasty burritos and quesadillas from a nearby restaurant, people made their way over to the GSSW patio for freshly made popcorn and a classic film! It was a great opportunity to decompress under the stars, enjoy some fresh air, and laugh uncontrollably at silly antics. I’m looking forward to more cult classics and the opportunity to spend some time at the theaters (without spending $10 a ticket, of course) with friends and colleagues. Keep your eyes peeled for film screenings in the upcoming fall quarter.


Outdoorsy Self Care

One of the important things that they drill into us at GSSW is SELF CARE!  I’m sure you’ve read other blog posts where people mention some of the things they do to balance out their lives and take care of themselves.  Now that the weather is getting nice here in Denver, there are some really awesome ways to get some of that self care…

  • Some friends and I have formed a volleyball team and we play four games a week at Wash Park.  We entered a league through Sports Monster which is a great adult recreation league that offers sports such as basketball, broomball, dodgeball, kickball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and many others throughout the year.
  • I recently entered in a 5K race benefiting a non-profit organization called Girls on the Run of the Rockies.  It’s an awesome agency that encourages healthy lifestyles for girls.  Denver and surrounding cities offer regular opportunities to participate in similar races (you can find a list of them at Running Guru).
  • Going to a Rockies game on the weekend is a great way to get outside and enjoy Denver’s spring time.  You can either sit in the Rock Pile for only $4 or you can go on StubHub to get some great deals.
  • Although I haven’t been there yet, I hear that Red Rocks Amphitheater is an amazing entertainment venue.  This summer they have some great bands coming to play including O.A.R., Dispatch, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Ray LaMontagne, Bassnectar, and many more.
  • BBQ-ing with friends is also a big hit when the weather gets nice and it is a great way to relax (self care!) on a graduate student budget.
These are definitely just a few of the outdoorsy self care options to partake in here in Denver–make sure to check them out when you get here!

Director of Field Education Graduates Mainstream Square Dance Class

In addition to the passion for and serious work of social work education, GSSW’s staff and faculty are also engaged members of the Denver community in many different ways. Associate Clinical Faculty and Director of Field Education, Ann Petrila, recently graduated from the mainstream level of square dancing1 with the Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus ( – a local Denver-area LGBTQA high energy square dance club that is inclusive of straight dancers as well. Here she is shown with friend and fellow Rainbeau, Leo Gross, being silly at her graduation. Congratulations, Ann!

1Modern square dancing is much more than your 8th grade physical education classes’ allemande left and do-si-do. There are numerous levels (mainstream, plus, advanced, and challenge), with hundreds of calls that must be learned. For example, the mainstream level of square dancing alone has 69 different calls with some calls having three and four different variations for a total of 92 different permutations on those calls.

Rockies Opening Weekend

Coors Field has an absolutely AMAZING view of the mountains!

Last weekend was Rockies opening weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors field and we couldn’t have asked for better weather!  I went to the Saturday evening game with some friends and it was a sunny 70 degrees–definite t-shirt weather even though it was only the beginning of April.

Rockie’s games are amazing for several reasons:

  • The view from the stadium is absolutely stunning–I watched the sun set behind the snow-covered mountains while enjoying a great baseball game!
  • Tickets are super cheap!  You can sit in the rock pile (which is in the outfield) for only $4 per person ($1 for kids and seniors).
  • The fans are extremely excited to be there–the wave went around the entire stadium at least 5 or 6 times!

I definitely plan to go to as many Rockies games as I possibly can this season because it was a great way to spend a relaxing evening with my friends!  So if you’re looking for something fun to do when you’re visiting or once you move here, make sure to check out the Rockies!

Gooooooooooo Rockies!!!!
Beautiful backdrop for the game!
So happy to be at the game!

The Search Is On

1st year students have begun the process of looking for their second year internship placements.  Last night GSSW hosted their annual Field Fair, an event that brings internship hosts and students together.  The fair allows students to meet and ask questions about field placements, get a feel for supervisors, and make an initial impression on the supervisors.

The event can be a bit overwhelming as there are a few hundred people in the room but it is a GREAT way to mark people off of your list if you learn information that deters you but it’s, more importantly, a great way to solidify what you want to do and where you want to intern next year.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be making initial contacts (again) and scheduling interviews with internship hosts.  Ideally, we’ll have and know our placements by the end of this quarter.  Although it will be a stressful few weeks, the pay off will be worth it!

Earth Week at GSSW

In just a few short weeks, ECO Conscious, the new student organization at GSSW, will be hosting some important events during Earth Week! ECO’s mission: “to promote conservation and environmental justice within the social work profession and to demonstrate such principals in the classroom and community.” FLOW, For Love of Water, a documentary about the world water crisis, will be presented for several GSSW classes and will offer the opportunity for dialogue about social work’s role in the environmental crisis. On Saturday, April 23, members of GSSW will also have the opportunity to participate in the S. Platte River Clean-Up with other local organizations. In an effort to generate dialogue and action in the social work community around environmental issues, Earth Week will be a great way for the social work community’s involvement in global and local issues.



Pet-Friendly Denver

I have often heard many of you prospective and admitted students ask questions regarding the “dog-friendliness” of Denver.  I am here to tell you not to worry one bit–there are plenty of pet friendly housing options as well as countless outdoorsy activities to do with your pooch.

Finding pet friendly housing:

  • Use Craigslist!  (Or some other online apartment search website such as or  Just remember to filter your options by clicking “pet friendly” or “allows pets.”
  • Expect to pay both a non-refundable pet fee and a refundable pet deposit when moving in.
  • Also expect to pay a minimal monthly pet rent (somewhere between $15 and $30 per animal depending on the apartment or house).

Fun activities to do with your dog:

  • Click here for a list of city-approved off leash dog parks.  Just be careful because a few of these parks are NOT fenced in–they have “natural boundaries” (AKA: small ditches, bushes, or trees), which means absolutely nothing to my little escape artist pup.
  • Cherry Creek State Park also has an off-leash dog area that has GREAT walking trails so you can get exercise while letting your dog run free in the outdoors.  I would recommend buying an annual park pass, which is fairly inexpensive, if you plan to go here often because paying for parking every time can be costly.  Click here to check it out.
  • If you are unable to spend enough time with your dog, there are also some “doggy day-care” options throughout Denver.  I have not used any of them, but I have heard great things about Camp Bow Wow.

Before making the move to Denver, I also recommend checking out the city’s website on animal and pet policies.  They have all sorts of information here including things about licensing/registering your pet, required vaccinations, and links to Denver’s animal shelters.

So, there’s no need to worry about moving to Denver if you have (or want to get) a pet!  It’s a great place to enjoy the outdoors with your furry companion!

Me and Petey after moving into our new Denver apartment.

Bad Movie Night

The Denver Film Center has been hosting monthly “bad movie nights” that feature a comedy show with a movie backdrop.  Basically, these comedians show movies they enjoy making fun of and they sit in the back of the theatre with microphones cracking jokes throughout the movie.  Not only do they make fun of the movie, but they change the music, add interesting sound effects, and talk in place of the actors.  It really is absolutely hilarious.

The audience is able to get really into it as well because the comedians offer prizes to the “best dressed” audience member.  They set a theme for the night and whoever goes all out ends up with a prize.  For example, in honor of “Swimfan” (the movie they are showing this weekend), they have requested that audience members wear their swimsuits in order to be entered into a raffle for prizes.  It sounds ridiculous, but it really is a great way to spend an evening with friends.

Check it out here: OR

St. Patrick’s Day Parade


Hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday week/weekend! Here at GSSW, our Spring Break is slowly winding down as classes begin Monday the 20th. For me it has been a busy week. I continued my internship through break since I am behind on hours… a story for another time. It was also a good friend’s birthday, so we had a week of celebrations. Our first celebration was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The parade hosted in Denver is one of the nation’s longest St. Patrick’s Day Parades. I can attest that it kept going and going and going and going. Along with the long parade, the celebrations also kept going. The parade was on March 12th – and as many of you know, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17th. At any given moment throughout the week people could be seen sipping green beers and celebrating their Irish Pride (being Irish is not required, but a plus).

Here are some photos of the parade. If I can scrounge up some of the actual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations I’ll post those later.

This first photo is of a group of fellow 1st year GSSW students, the second is of a local Whiskey Distillery that made it into the parade and the third is of the Llamas that were wanting to promote St. Patrick’s Day… as you can see, the involvement in the parade includes all shapes, sizes and species!

Until Next Time!


Broadening our Perspective: Social Work Beyond Denver

Yesterday, I attended a lecture presented by Dr. Charles Payne, a professor at the University of Chicago. Sponsored by GSSW’s 80th Anniversary Lecture Series, Dr. Payne spoke about the role of mobilized communities in life outcomes for children. He presented information about urban education reform and struck a chord when he discussed the significance of parent and community engagement for social change. I currently intern for a community organizing non-profit in a Denver public school, with a focus on parent engagement and school reform. When Dr. Payne addressed the critical role of social networking and social capital in sustainable change and the potential for community empowerment through engagement, he provided a national context for the work I am involved in here in Denver. His lecture was incredibly thought-provoking and powerful and it provided the opportunity for me to begin thinking about the role of my research at my internship currently and how I can contribute to the body of knowledge about social capital and community mobilization.