Latinx @ UVA

Latinx @ UVA

DREAMers on Grounds

DREAMers on Grounds strives to create a more inclusive environment and an overall safe space undocumented students. In order to obtain this desired environment, DREAMers on Grounds works to foster understanding in the UVa and Greater Charlottesville community about the unique issues and challenges undocumented students face.

DREAMers is also committed to having strong ties with administrations, most importantly Student Financial Services, in order to provide students with the necessary resources to make their experience a successful one. DREAMers on Grounds is a part of the Virginia Intercollegiate Immigrant Alliance, a coalition of university organization with similar purposes.

Mission:

DREAMers on Grounds has three main purposes: to provide a safe space for DREAMers and Allies, to better the experiences of DREAMers, to inform the UVa and Greater Charlottesville community about the unique issues and challenges undocumented students undergo.


Our Website: Website

Founding year:

2015

Founders:

Paola Valdez Sanchez

Carina Rodriguez

Creation:

DREAMers on Grounds was founded in the Fall of 2015 by two undergraduate students who saw a lack of advocacy and inclusion for undocumented students at the University of Virginia. Co-Founder Paola Sanchez Valdez stated:

“I decided I wanted to use my privilege and I found that I wanted to use my voice. It is my choice and my responsibility to advocate for DREAMers and when I got to UVA I did not see a group that advocated for DREAMers. I wanted the University to support and be a part of the immigrant rights journey.”

The organization’s first interest meeting was held in 2015, and the organization started off very small because few people knew about this new organization taking form.

In the Spring of 2016, DREAMers on Grounds applied for Contracted Independent Organization status. After DREAMers was denied of CIO status from Student Council at the University of Virginia, DREAMers on Grounds decided that change needed to be made. DREAMers wrote a petition demanding that Student Council be held accountable for the mistakes that were made during the process. After more than 1,000 signatures, DREAMers on Grounds was declared an official CIO at the next Student Council meeting.

Structure:

This organization has two forms of membership: Executive board membership and general body membership.

Executive board membership consists of the positions of  President, Vice President, Treasurer, Administrative Assistant, Public Relations Chair, Community Service Chair, Recruitment Chair, Education Chair, and Legislative Chair. Executive board meetings are to be held once a week for an hour.

General body membership is made up of active members that regularly attend General Body Meetings. No monetary due is required to be a General Body Member. These members are consistently updated with opportunities for involvement as well as events that DREAMers on Grounds is holding.  

Efforts:

  • DREAMers on Grounds works to provide students, faculty and staff with tools and information to help in their interactions with undocumented students, such as through UndocuAlly Training. UndocuAlly Trainings are a learning opportunity/workshop for educators and peers to develop and enhance their working knowledge regarding undocumented student populations at UVA.
  • Additionally, in the spring, DREAMers on Grounds holds an annual “DREAM Week” in which the organization invites the UVA and Charlottesville community to participate in a weeklong event that depicts the DREAMers experience.  
  • Throughout the year, DREAMers holds phone banks, letter writing campaigns, walkouts, and other events to hold representatives and administrators accountable in working to better the conditions for undocumented students in the country.
  • Information collected through interviews with Paola Sanchez Valdez (C/O 2018), Kathy Soba (C/O 2019), and Disorientation Guide