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Beyond the News

Planning and marketing events for undocumented students

Colleges and communities show students of undocumented immigrants they are wanted
University Business, August 2017

Prep and marketing for Rutgers University-Camden’s first college fair for undocumented students, held this June, required an individualized approach, says Mary Beth Daisey, vice chancellor for student affairs.

Her team had to make sure the fair was in compliance with all laws, so as to not endanger the university. Creating a safe atmosphere that assured attendee protection was also key. Rather than advertising the fair in local media, Rutgers-Camden recruited community partners to spread the word.

The law school also helped, as some law students and professors offered legal counseling sessions to local undocumented individuals.


Link to main story: Strengthening support for dreamers of undocumented immigrants 


Rutgers-New Brunswick, which began hosting a similar event in 2015, welcomed around 300 families that year, but the Camden campus only hosted about 35.

Current political unrest most likely accounted for the low attendance, says Daisey. The fair’s location on campus may have affected attendance as well. “Our school is not near where most undocumented individuals live,” she says. “We will host the fair in one of their communities next time, so attendees are in their comfort zone.”

At Sacramento State’s Serna Center, a workshop series for undocumented students covers an array of niche topics, from navigating the American healthcare system to applying for graduate school, says Norma Yesina Mendoza, program coordinator for the Dreamer Resource Center at Sacramento State.

A recent workshop explored the importance of undocumented student research, and informed students of a partnership with the Student Institutional Review Board for this type of study. Other events include movie nights with curated films followed by panel discussions, policy sessions and ally training.

Digitization is top of mind for both universities, which offer on-demand viewing for individuals who are not able, or are scared, to attend these workshops and events. The option also allows for mass distribution to faculty.

“Students and faculty are creating spaces that weren’t there before; it shows undocumented students that the institution and community do want them here,” says Mendoza.

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