BUFFALO, N. Y. – This year’s incoming University at Buffalo Master’s of Social Work class will have a unique chance to imagine what it is like to live one month of poverty during the school’s first-ever “poverty simulation” incorporated in the school’s student orientation.
About 75 master’s students entering UB’s School of Social Work curriculum will be part of the role-playing exercise simulating the plight of 26 different families facing poverty. The simulation will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27, in 107 Talbert Hall on UB’s Amherst Campus.
“The primary goal of a poverty simulation is to sensitize participants to the everyday realities faced by low-income families in America, which comprise a large proportion of the people served by social workers in a multitude of settings,” says Nancy J. Smyth, dean of the School of Social Work. “A poverty simulation provides participants with new perspectives on poverty and how it impacts American families.”
The mix of UB students and staff and volunteers from the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County will carry out the poverty simulation, acting through various scenarios common to low-income families. Those participating in the training and consciousness-raising will take the roles of members of low-income families, from single parents trying to care for their children to senior citizens trying to maintain their independence on Social Security.