Cal State Fullerton students, staff, faculty and community members gathered on campus for the April 23 “Celebrating Resilience and Growth” event marking the Titan Dreamers Resource Center’s fifth anniversary.
The center is a “safe space” for the estimated 1,000 undocumented students at CSUF, offering support and resources. Located on the first floor of Pollak Library, the center averages 400 visits monthly.
Carmen Curiel, associate dean of students and resource center vision committee co-chair, notes, “The TDRC demonstrates the powerful impact of student engagement and the university’s commitment to support all students — regardless of their backgrounds — to accomplish their academic goals.”
While the center provides important academic and career advising, referrals to reliable legal advice and the latest on legislation impacting the undocumented, for many, it’s a home — a safe place to study and relax, with a welcoming, familial atmosphere.
Undocumented senior Miriam Tellez relates, “The TDRC has been the one place I have belonged. ‘Ni de aqui, ni de alla’ is a familiar sentiment that the undocumented community shares due to living in limbo, between what used to be home and what is to be home. It was this truth that made the TDRC my home.”
CSUF was the first campus in the California State University system to open a “dreamer” center.
“The TDRC set precedent within the CSU system, and we are proud that we were the first to offer legal clinics and established resources within a center,” states Martha Zavala Perez, coordinator for the dreamers resource center.
The anniversary celebration began with a short reception at Club 57, where the office of U.S. representative Lou Correa ’80 (B.A. economics) recognized the TDRC for its resilience and growth, and senior Ana Aldazabal, president of Associated Students Inc., shared her gratitude for the center.
“Everything that I’ve accomplished here in my time at Cal State Fullerton and what I will do after graduation is directly tied to the Titan Dreamer Resource Center. My first fall semester here, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was rescinded … but having a space like the TDRC definitely allowed me to thrive and survive.”
The festivities continued at the Becker Amphitheater, featuring booth activities; thoughts about the undocumented experience from graduate student Jose Flores and special guest Yosimar Reyes — a queer undocumented immigrant, poet and activist; recognition of the TDRC vision committee; and the launch of the new Undocumented and Ally Faculty & Staff Association founded by Tonantzin Oseguera, associate vice president for student affairs, Raymund Aguirre, chief of university police, and Xiaopan Xue, coordinator in student life and leadership.
CSUF is the first campus in California to establish a faculty and staff association for currently and formerly undocumented Titans.
“The association’s main goal is to create a sense of community and support for faculty and staff who identify this way,” explains Xue. “As undocumented individuals leave the realm of higher education, there is often much less support in society. This group will give individuals a continued safe space and village of support to share highs, lows and the unique experience that comes with being undocumented.”
Oseguera adds, “We want to let students know we are here for them, and we too are undocumented and unafraid.”