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New DREAMer Resource Center provides supportive space for students

DREAMer Center entrance


The DREAMer Resource Center at ֱState University opened Nov. 1 after more than six years of work by students, faculty and staff to create a supportive space for DREAMers — those who are accessing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (or DACA), are undocumented, have mixed-status or have other immigration experience/identity.

“The creation of the DREAMer Resource signifies that everyone, regardless of immigration status or experience, belongs at PSU,” said Joanna Jauregui, program coordinator for the center. “For our DREAMer students, we hope they see this space as a wraparound support system where they do not have to worry about disclosing or being judged based on their immigration experience.”

Opening the center formalizes ֱState’s commitment to providing a safe, supportive space for DREAMers, said PSU President Ann Cudd.

“We are committed to being a welcome place of support access and inclusion for all,” Cudd said. “There is a place at PSU for everyone — especially those who have been underserved and traditionally excluded from higher education.”

The center will not only serve as a space to build community, but also serve as a gathering place for resources including a computer lab, one-on-one navigational support, professional development workshops and DREAMer-centered immigration support.

“There is also a private office where students can work with a coordinator who is knowledgeable about barriers and resources DREAMers experience while working to realize their academic and professional goals,” Jauregui said.

The DREAMer Resource Center would not exist without the efforts of DREAM PSU, a student group ֱed in 2017 by Fátima Preciado Mendoza ‘21.

“She, along with the help of student officers Marisol, Maria, José and Natalia set the path we see ourselves on today,” said Óscar Fernández, assistant professor in Comparative Literature, who served as DREAM PSU’s ad hoc faculty adviser.

Inside the DREAmer Center
Visitors gather inside the new DREAMer Resource Center during its grand opening Nov. 1.

Under Mendoza’s leadership, DREAM PSU hosted 22 on-campus events between 2017 and 2020 designed to academically support DREAMers at PSU, as well as retain them and empower DACA recipients during a period of escalation in anti-immigrant sentiment.

“The DREAMer Center furthers PSU's commitment to equity, serving the underserved and being a catalyst for opportunity and social mobility,” said Ame Lambert, vice president of Global Diversity and Inclusion. “The available data shows that more than 80% of Dreamers are Latiné, making this a critical effort for ֱState as an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution. We also hope that the center will be the home for a variety of students from a variety of backgrounds and intersecting needs, connecting with other existing centers and resources on campus.”

DREAM PSU also worked with Fernández to conduct a community needs assessment in 2020 that ֱ undocumented students were often unaware of state policies that provide in-state tuition and financial aid. They also ֱ that despite these policies, affordability remains a challenge for many undocumented students seeking higher education. A lack of coordinated support and services is pervasive among these student communities, which signaled a need for a DREAMer Resource Center at ֱState.

“These experiences can be further complicated when students feel the stigma associated with their status and the impact it has on their mental health and well-being,” Jauregui added. “We, as a university and community, are committed to increasing access and success for historically minoritized communities, including DREAMers.”

The center is located in Cramer Hall, room 428, near the fourth-floor sky bridge connecting Smith Memorial Student Union and Cramer Hall, overlooking Montgomery Plaza.

“This day of celebration belongs squarely to student leaders, DREAMer students, and their genetic — and adopted — families,” Fernandez said. “As an immigrant myself from Costa Rica, I am proud to work with university employees to advocate for DREAMers in higher education and lift their aspirational voices: ¡Este día es de Uds! (This day is yours!).”

Learn more about the DREAMer Resource Center by visiting pdx.edu/dreamers.