June 18, 2014

Statewide Summit to Help Undocumented Students Takes Place Friday at UW

By Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

The University of Washington will join several universities from across the state to host the HB 1079 Summit: A Decade of Dreaming, Friday, June 20, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC) on the UW campus.

The summit will highlight resources and best practices for administrators, legislators, community members and educators who work with undocumented students. It will include research findings, workshops, expert panels and group discussions. Attendance is expected to exceed 175 people.

Students stand behind Governor Inslee and smile

UW students watched as Governor Inslee signed a bill into law that extends State Need Grant funds to undocumented students on Feb. 26.

Featured speakers include Roberto Gonzales (Harvard professor and author), Alejandra Rincón (immigrant rights advocate and author), Luis Narvaez (researcher) and Meng So (coordinator of the Undocumented Student Program at the University of California, Berkeley).

The summit was organized by the Washington State Educational Access Coalition for HB 1079 Students whose membership includes representatives from the UW, College Spark Washington, Washington State University (WSU), Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Seattle Community Colleges and the Latina/o Educational Achievement Project (LEAP).

“We are pleased to serve as the host institution for this summit and join our colleagues in this very important effort,” said UW Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Sheila Edwards Lange. “The UW is committed to supporting undocumented students and improving their campus experience. Investing in all of our young people is investing in our own success.”

The Washington state legislature approved House Bill 1079 in 2003, a bill that allows certain undocumented students to pay resident tuition at state colleges and universities. The Washington State Educational Access Coalition for HB 1079 Students was formed in 2011 as the result of a three-year grant received by WSU from the College Spark Washington Foundation.

The coalition’s goal is to help “1079 students” access and complete higher education. Friday’s summit is a culmination of this work. UW representatives on the coalition include Kelly ECC Director Marisa Herrera, Kelly ECC Associate Director Magdalena Fonseca and graduate student Cristina Gaeta.

The UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) has already been instrumental in preparing campus partners who work with undocumented students. Less than a month after the REAL Hope Act was signed into law in February (a bill that extended State Need Grant funds to undocumented students), OMA&D collaborated with the UW Office of Student Financial Aid, the Washington State Achievement Council and LEAP to host an informational forum on its implications.

Friday will also mark the dedication of the new community space in the Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center called “Leadership Without Borders.” It will provide resources specifically for undocumented and refugee student leadership development.

“This is an exciting week where all of our hard work over the past two years on behalf of the Washington State Coalition for HB1079 Students is coming to fruition,” said Herrera. “However, there is still more work ahead to improve educational outcomes and access for our current and future Huskies.”

For more information, contact Herrera (mherrer@uw.edu).

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