EWU provides resources, guidance for undocumented students

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EWU provides resources, guidance for undocumented students

The Monarch Butterfly is used to show undocumented students which faculty members provide a safe space. The butterfly symbol can be found posted on office doors.

The Monarch Butterfly is used to show undocumented students which faculty members provide a safe space. The butterfly symbol can be found posted on office doors.

Illustration by Colleen Ford

The Monarch Butterfly is used to show undocumented students which faculty members provide a safe space. The butterfly symbol can be found posted on office doors.

Illustration by Colleen Ford

Illustration by Colleen Ford

The Monarch Butterfly is used to show undocumented students which faculty members provide a safe space. The butterfly symbol can be found posted on office doors.

By Sam Jackson, Copy Editor

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EWU is introducing an event to help its undocumented students become more aware of their resources available on campus and soar through college.

Event creator and ASEWU Academic Affairs member Sarahi Gutierrez is partnering with Red Group—an advocacy and ally group on campus in support of undocumented students—to host the event, which is called Resources for Undocumented Students and How to Navigate College.

In the past, EWU has held events to address financial aid and legal concerns for undocumented students. Until now there has never been an event that expands on all of the resources available to this group of students on campus, according to Gutierrez.

Gutierrez says that many undocumented students are first generation, and should know that there are a lot of people out there willing to help them.

“They don’t have to stay silent with any problems that they have and there’s always a solution to be able to try and help them,” Gutierrez said. “I know that the majority of struggles they face is that they have to drop out because of financial issues, family issues or transportation issues. So, there’s ways we can work around them to keep them at Eastern and to continue their education.”

The event will break down all kinds of resources for undocumented students including housing, activism, transportation service, financial aid, studying and learning how to deal with stress, according to Gutierrez.

“Housing is the biggest one because many people have the first-year policy, but there’s ways to work around it,” Gutierrez said. “So many people don’t do that and they have to drop out because they have to pay extra money to live in the dorms when they wouldn’t have to their first year.”

Following the event is Washington Application for Student Financial Aid night, which focuses on filling out the WASFA form. Gutierrez describes it as, “basically financial aid (FAFSA) for undocumented students.” Assisting WASFA night is Emmanuel “Manny” Lopez, the Enrollment Advocate for undocumented students at EWU.

[Undocumented students] don’t have to stay silent with any problems that they have and there’s always a solution to be able to try and help them.”

— Sarahi Gutierrez, ASEWU Academic Affairs member

Washington is one of the states that offers state financial aid for undocumented students.

“Being an undocumented student is an invisible identity and not shared across the board,” Lopez said. “Each story is going to be different, and they have their own struggles. The atmosphere here is positive and Washington is one of the more progressive states.”

The university now offers scholarships to all students regardless of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Additionally, EWU has partnered with TheDream.US—a program focused on college success for immigrant students, to offer scholarships for undocumented students.

“That company (TheDream.US) has partnered up with different types of universities in Washington to be able to give almost a full-funded tuition to undocumented students,” Gutierrez said.

The Resources for Undocumented Students and How to Navigate College event will be held on Tuesday, Jan 22 in Patterson 247 from 1-3 p.m. For more information on the event, contact Gutierrez by email at, [email protected].

Anyone who is unable to attend the event, but is seeking support or has any questions regarding undocumented student issues, is encouraged to contact Lopez by email at [email protected].

Those seeking support can look for a Monarch Butterfly on faculty office doors at EWU as a symbol representing someone who will provide a safe space and work with undocumented students.•

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