Associated Students, Inc. welcomed new dream coordinator, Norma Salcedo, at the first annual UndocuGators welcome night on Aug. 31.
ASI, Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success and the AB 540 Task Force have worked together to develop a Dream Center at SF State. The dream coordinator position was created to help organize the Dream Center and the services it will provide.
“The first thing was creating a job description and hiring, with Student Affairs, this person,” said Mario Flores, ASI Project Connect Director and AB 540 Task Force representative. “The idea is to start a resource center, a Dream Center, for undocumented students on campus.”
Salcedo officially started her role as the dream coordinator on July 11. A resident of Long Beach and previous employee at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Salcedo took a leap of faith in applying for the position at SF State.
“At my former school, I was doing immigrant work and undocumented work on the side,” Salcedo said. “I was working full time in the residential life realm and housing. And after hours, on the weekends, I was doing parent workshops. I was out advocating for undocumented students. I was looking for a job where I could do my passion full time.”
The AB 540 Task Force was able to hire Salcedo as dream coordinator because they received additional funding for the Student Success and Completion Initiative, according to Mary Ann Begley, interim associate vice president and dean of students.
“The Chancellor’s Office actually did provide all 23 campuses with a certain amount of funding last year that allowed us to look at initiatives we didn’t already have on campus but needed,” Begley said. “And so one of the initiatives we identified was, in fact, having a Dream Coordinator to help us with getting the resources and (assistance) for our undocumented students.”
According to the SF State Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget Update, Student Success and Completion Initiatives, under the Department of Student Affairs Enrollment Management, received $300,000 in funding. The initiative was developed to help the University improve graduation and retention rates and enhance student experiences.
“We noticed that our number of undocumented students have been steadily increasing over the years and we only had two staff members who—part of the time—were working in financial aid,” Begley said. “Part of their time was devoted to working with students, especially around financial aid. It just wasn’t enough.”
SF State faculty, staff and students that make up the AB 540 Task Force drafted the job description for the Dream Coordinator position. Pamela Ortiz is a 22-year-old studio art major and co-chair of IDEAS who helped write the description.
“Well, as part of the task force, and I was vice president of IDEAS at the time, who is also involved, I actually helped write the job description,” Ortiz said. “From the very beginning, I was there.”
Salcedo, along with IDEAS and the AB 540 Task Force, have created a calendar of events for undocumented students that include informational meetings about the Continue the Dream Scholarship, UndocuWeek and Educators Coming Out Day.
“As someone who graduated from a CSU, I know first-hand what it is to be a minority at a higher institution, what it is to be with limited resources, with low income,” Salcedo said. “I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do the work at a CSU.”
During the UndocuGators Welcome Night, staff, faculty and IDEAS members passed out “promise pins” to the undocumented students in attendance as a “token of (their) commitment to [them].”
“We came up with (the pins) together. At one of our last meetings, we were just talking about ‘what is a way that we can kind of symbolize our commitment to our students that we’re working with,’” Begley said. “The idea that we came up with was this nice way to demonstrate our commitment and welcome them to the family.”