Plans promote continual improvement for student services
UTSA’s Dreamers Resource Center was opened for operations on Jan. 22 as part of one of President Eighmy’s initiatives aimed toward improving inclusion on campus.
The center, housed within the Student Center of Community Engagement and Inclusion (SCCEI), provides Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students with resources needed to navigate through college life and information that is more relevant to them.
The opening of the center occurred sooner than the university had initially anticipated due to President Trump’s injunction resending DACA. President Eighmy wanted to ensure that the center would be available to help eligible students renew their DACA status.
“Once President Trump was elected, we knew his spoken views on DACA, so we were preparing,” said Lydia Bueno, assistant dean of students and director of the SCCEI and the Student Leadership Center (SLC), in an interview in January.
According to Courtney Balderas-Jacob, assistant director for the dreamers resource center, the center has had its intended effect.
“Over the last several months, we have assisted numerous students in a variety of areas. Many of those students have come back to tell us how grateful they are for our support,” Balderas-Jacob said. “Through the dreamers center, they have learned how to navigate the university and they have developed a network of support within the university and throughout the community.”
As assistant director for the center, Balderas-Jacob provides undocumented UTSA students with services ranging from legal referrals, emotional support, counselling services, peer mentoring and funding opportunities, as well as educational programming for students, faculty and staff.
“We have had exceedingly positive feedback and support from UTSA students, the San Antonio community and other educational and non-profit partners,” Balderas-Jacob said.
The center aspires to continue helping UTSA DACA students complete this mission. “This Fall, the center will co-host an immigration symposium with RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), other UTSA workshops and Ally training sessions for students, faculty and staff,” Balderas-Jacob said. “We will also continue to develop new partnerships with the community to grow awareness and increase our impact.”
UTSA students are encouraged to take advantage of the resources provided by the center. “We want to make sure we reach all the students who would benefit from our services and provide them with the resources they need to be successful,” Balderas-Jacob said.
For more information or to receive assistance, students may contact the Dreamers Resource Center through email at [email protected], by phone at 210-458-7777 or by visiting the center at the SCCEI office, 2.01.04, in the Student Union.