The Salt Lake Community College Dream Center will host its first annual UndocuWeek starting Monday.
The week’s events and workshops center on the lived experiences, challenges, and successes of undocumented immigrants at SLCC and surrounding institutions.
“As the second Dream Center in Utah, we think that it is our duty to have an UndocuWeek that not only highlights the resilience of our students but also provides resources for them to succeed in higher education and in life,” said the Dream Center staff.
“We have all worked hard to make these events a reality at the college, and we finally get to see them happen. Each event is unique, and will bring different resources, perspectives, or knowledge to the table,” said Dream Center coordinator Brenda Santoyo.
UndocuWeek events will cover topics important to the community, including a scholarship webinar presented by Dream Center writing and rhetoric fellow Cristina Guerrero and intern Sinthia Rosado Veronica; an entrepreneurship webinar presented by Alejandro Flores-Muñoz, owner of Combi Taco in Denver; a creative fundraising activity to support other students in need; and discussions about undocuactivism and advocacy for allies.
A mental health workshop will be presented by Norma Ramirez, M.A. and Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology. “Prioritizing Mental Health and Self-Care” will provide tips and recommendations for self-care while undocumented in the current sociopolitical climate and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m looking forward to [the mental health workshop]. I think that mental health is such an important part of our overall well-being that we ignore and stigmatize all too often,” said Veronica.
Latinx/a/o United for Change and Activism (LUChA) is hosting an art activity titled “Art Beyond Borders” during their club meeting Wednesday. The event will be in-person at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus, with art kits available for pickup.
“I normally don’t go for the creative activities, because I am not an artist. But I think it would be fun! This is a time for me to destress and not worry about if it looks bad or good,” said Guerrero.
“The purpose of the event is to come together in community and express ourselves through art! Plus, this will be a chance to fundraise for the Undocumented Student Emergency Fund,” said Dream Center peer mentor Jessy Fernandez.
Several other SLCC organizations collaborated with the Dream Center to develop and host UndocuWeek programming, including the Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center, SLCC Admissions, Civically Engaged Scholars, the Undocumented Student Resource Committee, and LUChA.
The Dream Center, which opened in 2019 at the West Valley Center, assists current and future undocumented students at SLCC and raises awareness of policies affecting undocumented students.
“We understand that someone’s immigration status can shape their experiences, their development, and overall outlook on life. While it is not an identity per se, immigrants must still navigate the world around them based on their undocumented status,” said the Dream Center staff.
Santoyo explained that her favorite part of working with the Dream Center is supporting students.
“I originally joined Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs to serve my beloved community,” said Santoyo. “Working as the inaugural coordinator for the SLCC Dream Center has been a way for me to honor my parents, undocumented immigrants from Guanajuato, Mexico. Many of them come to me uncertain of their futures, skeptical about the resources available to them, and often have been discouraged by others about what they can achieve at the college. Once we are done meeting, I am able to provide them with the information they need to get started with one less worry on their minds; the relief and spark in their eyes is what encourages me to continue advocating for them every step of the way.”
Veronica, Fernandez, and Guerrero all expressed a similar joy in working with students and supporting the community.
“As a DACA recipient, everything we do at the center is personal,” said Veronica.
“Although I am here to help with their writing needs, I also draw inspiration, creativity, and ideas from the students I meet with to further my development as a writer. I gain motivation with every personal story I encounter,” said Guerrero.
Follow the SLCC Dream Center on Instagram for more information about UndocuWeek and other opportunities.