IDEAS launches pop-up DREAM center

In a time of political uncertainty for undocumented individuals, students from the Improving Dreams, Education and Academic Success organization have launched a Pop-Up DREAM Center for undocumented students. The center was additionally supported by the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity.

The Improving Dreams, Education and Academic Success organization at USC has launched a pop-up DREAM center that will be hosted in Kaprielian Hall every Tuesday and Thursday this month. Photo from Dornsife Website.

The center is open every Tuesday and Thursday in April from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and seeks to connect undocumented students, staff, faculty and allies to resources across campus. Throughout the remainder of the month, events have been coordinated in the center, including a workshop with the Career Center and a Drop-In Immigration Clinic.

Associate Dean of Religious Life Vanessa Gomez Brake has worked closely with IDEAS to coordinate events for students affected by DACA. Since the beginning of the academic year, she has helped students launch the Pop-Up Dream Center.

“In some ways this is a soft launch … but the hope is that for these next three weeks we will be offering different workshops and resources there at the Dream Center,” Gomez Brake said. “But in the fall, we are going to move up to more than just two days a week and have a ton of University staff that will be holding office hours at the Dream Center.“

The Pop-Up Dream Center is also a centralized location which will reduce the needs of undocumented students to look far across campus for resources. According to Gomez Brake, the physical location will also serve as a safe space to facilitate conversation with mentors and peers about life on campus as an undocumented student.

Valeria Resendiz, a sophomore majoring in NGOs and Social Change, emphasized that the center aims to create a supportive community for students to succeed in a time where the future of DACA is unknown.

“This is a time with so much uncertainty, it can really just be overwhelming and sometimes frustrating to know where the future is taking us,” Resendiz said. “In such a situation that we don’t have much control over which other people are deciding for us.”

Currently, the center is a space for undocumented students to converge, but in the future, Resendiz hopes to see a more permanent space accessible to all students.