By Juan Calvillo
The new East Los Angeles College club, the Undocu-Huskies has a scholarship of $600 up for grabs with a deadline of this Friday at 11:59 p.m. The idea for the club came from a meeting between the current members and Dream Resource Center’s Maira Cruz. The group quickly decided that creating a club was key to helping students at ELAC.
“We all know ELAC is a community college with a great diversity from several backgrounds. And even though the college provides us many resources, there was not a club that completely identified undocumented students. Many freshman students were even afraid to share their story, which led them to still lack access to important information,” said Jose Pelaez. Now, with the help of the club’s president Pelaez and club advisor Reyna Hernandez, from ELAC’s Dream Resource Center, the club has helping students in mind. This lead them to start the $600 scholarship.
Having been chartered last month by the Associated Student Union, the club took the funds that ASU gives to clubs and made an important decision as to have to use them. “ASU provides funds to the clubs that are chartered. Those benefits allow clubs to fund several activities like fundraisers, campus tours, or workshops. In our situation, we prefered to offer a scholarship,” said Pelaez. Helping undocumented students fight the good fight is what the club is all about.
“Our main mission is to support the advancement of undocumented students within higher education. If we do not have the resources to support members, we are going to make sure to connect you with institutions, organizations and supporters off-campus,” said Pelaez.
Judith Arguello, a club member and DACA recipient, talked about one of the ways in which the club will begin to help the undocumented and DACA student population at ELAC. “I am most excited about the $600 scholarship that we are offering. This scholarship is open to any student at ELAC that identifies as Undocumented, AB540 and/or DACA,” said Arguello. She said that the stress of not being able to make ends meet could cause a distraction to some students.
Arguello said that the club was not only meant to help students with their scholastic goals, but to also help them with daily life. Arguello said, “I know what it is to not be provided with certain resources. The struggles I have faced are what motivate me to help my community, to make sure that they get the support I never had.”
The Undocu-Huskies currently have six members in the club. Filling the ranks with students is important not simply to have a club but to reach as many undocumented students with important messages. The club is reaching out to students to join up and have their voices heard at their future meetings.
Pelaez said that future meetings will have valuable information for undocumented students, but that the meetings were not going to be all information driven. “Our goal for the meetings next year is to always share information about a new scholarship, a workshop or a conference to share with our members. But also, it is going to have some special meetings, where all the members can feel really welcome to share their experiences, their thoughts or their feelings, because the goal is to find a support group where you can always find help,” said Pelaez. Arguello said, “I am working with the president of the club, Pelaez, on contacting outside organizations and building alliances with other student associations that offer assistance on career development, internships and free or low cost services.”
Peleaz said, “As a student group that struggles on a daily basis in common situations such as attending college, we advocate to ensure immigration youth continue to receive education that will impact their lives. All people have the right to learn and pursue their dreams regardless of immigration status or financial situation.” The full details for applying for the Undocu-Huskies scholarship are available on their instagram account @undocuhuskies.