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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Student organizations host undocumented student event at Malcolm X Plaza

DRC & IDEAS will be hosting events all month in support of undocumented student month of action
Michaela Mateo
SF State students Stephanie Woon and Shania Anne Bogot participate at the Rise Beyond Borders kick-off event at Malcolm X Plaza on Oct. 2, 2023. (Michaela Mateo / Golden Gate Xpress)

Students danced to the rhythm of the music while the aroma of fresh taco meat circulated in the air, causing a line of students to get a bite. Some dabbled in painting, while others created unique designs on paper butterflies to stick onto a paper tree.

 All these activities and more were a part of kicking off ‘Undocumented Student Month of Action.’

On Oct. 2, the Dream Resource Center and Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success collaborated to host ‘Rise Beyond Borders’ an undocumented student welcoming event at the Malcolm X Plaza. The event ran from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and featured interactive activities such as mural painting and dancing. They provided free tacos in support and solidarity for undocumented students on campus. 

“An event like this gives people a chance to breathe. It gives the chance for undocumented college students to be college students,” said Oliver Elias Tinoco, the president of I.D.E.A.S. “The real purpose of this is to bring visibility to our undocumented community here on campus and to let other undocumented students who aren’t familiar with the resources know we’re here.”

A wooden butterfly painted and decorated with the words “F*ck Borders” at the Rise Beyond Borders kickoff event at Malcolm X Plaza on Oct. 2, 2023. (Michaela Mateo / Golden Gate Xpress) (Michaela Mateo)

IDEAS helps students with resources such as financial aid, scholarships, work opportunities and Dream Act applications for undocumented students.

A study conducted by shows that there have been approximately 100 thousand undocumented college students in California since 2016. Furthermore, only 15% of Dream Act applicants receive financial aid. 

Griselda Madrigal, a DRC coordinator, believes that celebrating Undocumented Student Month involves creating awareness, providing resources and opportunities to undocumented students to know that they are valid for students of San Francisco State.

“The DRC is a place where students can get resources,” said Ricardo Sanchez,  DRC student assistant and IDEAS club member. “We have two types of resources: advising and the lingual resource center. They help you with consultations and paying for fees, and it’s for free.”

Sanchez, like others attending the event, is an undocumented student born in Mexico who chose to attend SFSU because it featured a resource center.

“Since I’m undocumented, UCs were out of the picture because they were too expensive for me,” he said. “I had already met people who worked at a resource center here, so that helped me out in making the decision.”

Students at SF State come to support their fellow undocumented peers and paint wooden butterflies at the Rise Beyond Borders kickoff event at Malcolm X Plaza on Oct. 2, 2023. (Michaela Mateo / Golden Gate Xpress) (Michaela Mateo)

When questioned on whether or not there was enough help for undocumented students at SFSU, Sanchez said no.

“Because we’re undocumented, we have different needs that other students don’t have. The big one is employment, a lot of us don’t have social security so it’s harder for us to get a job,” Sanchez said.


“We come to school mostly every day so there should be something for us here to have the ability to make money at school.”

Michell Martinez was born in Mexico, but now calls SFSU home. She is projected to be graduating in the spring.

“I think a lot of the help I’ve received has been from student-led organizations and mentors, not necessarily the university,” she said. “It takes place here, yes, but it’s the community that’s helped me a lot. I definitely think that there needs to be more done on a university and systemic level.”

Despite student calls for the university to do more to help undocumented students, people still enjoyed their day at the kickoff.

“It’s so endearing and heartwarming to see a community of people who want to make others seen and validated,” Martinez said. “The music and the vibe, it’s high energy. It’s validation that we are people at the end of the day.”

“The tacos were very good,” said Jose Hernandez, a student attending the kickoff. “Even though we’re far away from our home country, here we feel like we have a sense of community.”

‘Undocumented Student Month of Action Kickoff’ will be followed up with events every week of October.

‘Beyond Graduation: A Conversation with Yosimar Reyes,’ taking place October 10, is next in their series of five events scheduled for October.

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About the Contributors
Jason Hernandez, Staff Reporter
Jason Hernandez (he/him) is a reporter for the Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in education. He's lived in the Bay Area his whole life and was previously a psychology major before switching to Journalism. He chose to do Journalism because he believes it will allow him to travel the world and meet new people. He hopes to one day work as a sports beat writer, writing about football, soccer or MMA. During his free time, he enjoys thrift shopping and meditation. 
Michaela Mateo, Visuals Editor
Michaela Gutierrez Mateo (She/Her) is the Golden Gate Xpress Visuals Editor for Fall 2023. Her nickname is Micha, is a 4th year Photojournalism major and an Asian American Studies minor. She is a transfer student from Chabot College, Hayward where she had her first experience as a reporter for The Spectator. Her passion is photography and film but most of all she is a Kdrama and Kpop addict.

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