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Undocumented Student Center opening on Pullman campus

Washington State University is celebrating its commitment to serving and supporting undocumented students with the grand opening of the Undocumented Student Center on the Pullman campus on Oct. 14.

Doug Standish with Draw For Change installs a mural in the new Undocumented Student Center in the Compton Union Building.
Doug Standish with Draw For Change installs a mural in the new Undocumented Student Center in the Compton Union Building. 

All students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to attend the event, which will take place from 5-7 p.m. in the center’s new home in room 421 of the Compton Union Building.

“This event offers a moment to reflect and to celebrate,” said Marcela Pattinson, who directs Undocumented Initiatives at WSU. “This isn’t just the realization of my dream – it’s a lot of dreams realized together.”

At the grand opening event, attendees can explore the new center, hear stories from undocumented students and alumni, and view recently installed murals depicting undocumented students and their journeys. The murals were created by artists from Draw for Change, an organization that creates art to combat systemic oppression.

The event is also a fundraiser for the center, which will use the funds to support undocumented students through programming and direct financial support. Donors who give over $25 will receive a poster of one of the murals.

Creating a safe space

The journey to create the Undocumented Student Center has been long, said Itzia Barragan, a student ambassador with the center, and in many ways it reflects the journey undocumented students experience in their lives.

“In the beginning, we felt that we had to hide our identity and we didn’t have a space to be,” she said. “Now, we can acknowledge that we are here, we can share our stories and be open with our status.”

The center – the result of over a decade of work from WSU staff, undocumented students, and allies – will provide support, programming, services, resources, and more to students and serve as a space to connect, learn, and relax.

“We’ve waited a long time for this to happen, and I’m excited we finally have a safe space,” said Mayra Angel, co-chair of Mariposas Undocumented Alliance. “This is a place I can feel comfortable and welcome, and I want other students to have that experience.”

The center is the second of its kind in the state (the other, on the University of Washington campus, served as a model for WSU’s center) and reinforces WSU’s position as a state and national leader in undocumented initiatives. 

“It really represents where have been, where we are, and where we want to go,” Pattinson said. 

“This center will help students navigate their university, but it will also let us continue to be pioneers in providing services for the state and serving as an inspiration to others.”

‘We are here’

The center opening represents a new chapter in undocumented programming at WSU – one Pattinson and the center’s student groups are excited to begin. Already, the Crimson Group, an activist group for undocumented students, is planning programming to help raise awareness of both the new center and undocumented services on campus.

“I’m excited to have a space that reflects our students’ diversity and talents and vibrancy, a place that will feel like a home away from home where students can be together and find support,” said Claudia Skinner, the Undocumented Initiatives graduate assistant. “We’re really excited to share the word about the center.”

Learn more about the Undocumented Student Center on their website.

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