N.J. conference highlights strategies for supporting immigrant students

Launched at a late-July conference, a new consortium aims to harness university communities’ potential to empower and protect refugees and at-risk migrants. Based at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., the University Alliance for Refugees and At-Risk Migrants will work to “coordinate and scale up the patchwork of university programs assisting displaced people,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

The alliance says it will pursue initiatives across six areas:

  1. Offering more legal pathways for study, research, and vocational training
  2. Overcoming barriers to entry into U.S. higher education institutions
  3. Providing assistance and empowerment on campus and in the community
  4. Promoting advocacy and awareness
  5. Producing research
  6. Improving media and communications

Conference highlights emerging strategies, importance of personal narrative

Speaking at the Rutgers conference, Miriam Feldblum, the executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, noted that international first- and second-generation immigrant students account for nearly one-third of the undergraduate population in this country.

“The stakes are higher than ever for colleges to support immigrant students on their campuses and in their communities,” Feldblum said.

Conference presenters speaking before an audience of 120 academics and nonprofit leaders highlighted several efforts, including a tech platform to help crowdfund educational costs for refugees, and projects that host refugee families in campus housing.

Speaker Esder Chong, a DACA recipient from Rutgers University, also stressed the importance of personal narratives in fomenting change, citing her success in encouraging Rutgers to hire a full-time staff member to support undocumented students. She also has shared her story widely across New Jersey, advocating for a policy change to make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation earlier this year.

Support for undocumented students at Georgetown

As a Catholic and Jesuit institution, Georgetown values the dignity of all members of our university community, regardless of immigration status, and has committed to supporting undocumented students and the unique challenges they may face. Learn more at undocumented.georgetown.edu.

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