DREAMer Conference

Inaugural Conference Discusses Updates to National Immigration Policies
September 15, 2015

Sonoma State University hosts its first DREAMer Conference on September 19, featuring a keynote speech from DREAM Act researcher and Claremont University doctoral student Iliana Perez.

At 9 a.m., President Ruben Armiñana will welcome the audience of students, faculty, staff and community members to the conference, inviting them to attend workshops on admissions and financial aid, a student panel on leadership, adversity, and advocacy, and undocu-ally training (for faculty and staff).

Perez is a proponent of expanding financial aid to students who do not have legal status. She is sharing her story of arriving to the United States from Mexico at age 8 and working her way through the education system to where she is today.

Because of their immigration status, some students can't apply for FAFSA or federal aid. Among other challenges, that financial uncertainty makes it tough to secure housing. Last year a group of students formed the SSU DREAMers Club to discuss what can be done about issues like this.

The undocu-ally training aims to educate staff and faculty who want to learn more about the DREAM Act, DACA, and current immigration topics. Attendees can get a "safe zone ally" sticker for their office. "The training is about how to become an ally to someone who may not be open about their immigration status," says conference organizer Mariana Garcia Martinez, a research coordinator at Sonoma State.

The conference takes place in the Cooperage at Sonoma State on Sept. 19, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free, parking on campus is $5-$8. For more information and to RSVP, visit http://goo.gl/forms/IV5zHkImhh.