By Zara Hurtado
Students gathered around University Plaza Tuesday as the Bronco Dreamer’s Resource Center’s inaugural open house was underway.
As the newest addition to the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers, the BDRC is a safe space for undocumented students to seek academic resources, counseling and access to legal advice.
In an effort to create more awareness of the center and the services offered, BDRC opened its doors and invited Cal Poly Pomona’s extended community to experience what the center is all about.
Kalina Kazemi, a fourth-year liberal studies student, attended the open house after hearing about it from friends.
“I know people who are DREAMers, and it’s important for students to have these resources and opportunities available to them,” Kazemi said. “I heard [BDRC] was giving out scholarships, which is a good thing because DREAMers come here for an education that they sometimes can’t always afford. It’s awesome our school gives undocumented students the ability to have equal opportunity at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Students and faculty attending the event were invited to walk through the center, enjoy free food, dance to a set by Latina DJ Sizzle Fantastic and participate in activities, such as meeting the coordinator and posting a picture of the butterfly mural using #undocubroncos on social media.
The butterfly as seen on the mural and the center’s logo has become a symbol of migration across borders, something many undocumented students can relate to.
A main theme of the event was to raise awareness of the center, as its presence is hardly acknowledged by other on-campus organizations.
Volunteers, such as third-year political science student Genesis Gonzalez, hope that the open house will pave the way for conversations about who DREAMers and undocumented students really are.
“I would hope that the students and faculty here could see that these are hardworking people, not people here to be lazy,” Gonzalez said. “These people are here to get an education and work for it, so I would hope a door would be opened to view undocumented students in a different way.”
Lead Program Assistant at the BDRC Jorge Jeronimo notes that there is a lack of understanding from faculty in regards to issues undocumented students face, something Jeronimo believes the center can change.
“Support doesn’t stop here. There are other aspects of student success,” Jeronimo said. “There are some staff and faculty who are anti-immigration and speak on it without taking into consideration the students in their classroom, so it’s important to create awareness among faculty and staff.”
Misconceptions about what it means to be an undocumented student or a DACA recipient can stand in the way of progress, which is why the BDRC’s goal is to increase visibility and to create active connections with other organizations on campus as well as strengthen their partnership with CPP.
This September, President Soraya M. Coley issued a campus-wide response in support of the undocumented community where she reaffirmed her stance behind DACA students and highlighted the BDRC’s resources.
Coley gave opening remarks at the open house, speaking on the importance of learning from one another, despite legal status or nationality.
“Regardless of our role or status, we learn from each other,” Coley said. “At some level, we’re all DREAMers. It’s incumbent upon those of us who have been dreaming for a long time to help others dream.”
Current programs and resources the center offers include quarterly DREAMer Ally trainings, counseling services and a DREAM scholarship, which was established in 2006.
Students interested in pursuing volunteer opportunities with the BDRC are encouraged to visit the center in Building 26, room 114.
Taylor Story / The Poly Post
Cecilia Lopez, Andrea Segura, fifth-year liberal studies students posed with President Coley
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