Georgetown’s new director for undocumented students focuses on support, awareness

Georgetown University this week welcomed its new associate director for undocumented students, Jennifer Crewalk. Crewalk will serve the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) and will work as director of group initiatives in the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

Crewalk will focus on building a supportive, “conscious community” across campus. “When people acknowledge their own privileges, they can better advocate for others,” she says.

“I’ve seen conscious community-building workshops shift student leadership from ‘doing for’ undocumented communities to ‘doing with’ our undocumented communities.”

Crewalk also is completing her doctoral work in educational psychology at George Mason University, where she previously spent 10 years working with undocumented and first-generation college students as assistant director of Latinx student affairs and undocumented student support. Crewalk is researching the risk, resilience, and resistance associated with being a trainer of undocumented student allies in educational spaces.

Creating an environment of support

Georgetown provides undocumented student resources to ensure the dignity and care of all members of the university community. It also has joined numerous colleges and universities in filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and convened conversations around protecting undocumented students on university campuses.

Related: Georgetown, 400+ universities urge Congress to protect undocumented students >

“We’re glad to continue the university’s commitment to creating an environment of support for students regardless of their immigration status,” says Charlene Brown-McKenzie, director of the CMEA. “Jennifer brings a wealth of experiences that will further bolster support for undocumented students across Georgetown’s campuses.”

Bringing expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion

Prior to her time at George Mason, Crewalk earned her master’s degree in intercultural communications from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University. One of eight siblings of Costa Rican, Hungarian, and Irish heritage, she says family, along with holistic health, grounds her advocacy and inspires her racial and social justice work with students.

“Our undocumented students are the freedom fighters of this moment and time, and they are helping to awaken people to how important it is for our communities to be conscious,” Crewalk says. “I’m looking forward to focusing on the present needs of our students, but also all of us being visionaries for what is possible for the near future.”

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