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New Undocumented Student Resource Center Opens at UIC

Rigo Padilla-Pérez Undocumented Student Resource Center flyer

A new campus center dedicated to supporting and empowering undocumented students is set to open this month. The UIC Rigo Padilla-Pérez Undocumented Student Resource Center will hold its ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, November 6th from 10am – 1pm in the SSB conference rooms (A&B).

Named in honor of Rigo Padilla-Pérez, a two-time UIC alumni and a leader in equitable access for undocumented immigrant students across Illinois and the U.S. who recently passed, the center hopes to carry his spirit for collective support, organizing, advocacy and justice on within the campus and local communities that he most deeply impacted.

“Rigo fought for these resources alongside other students and now it comes full circle after his passing,” shared Tanya Cabrera, assistant vice chancellor for student inclusion in the UIC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Engagement. “We honor his legacy and his impact on the undocumented immigrant community by naming the center in his honor and continuing the fight for basic human rights for immigrant communities in Illinois.”

With the changing demographics of immigrants in the state, the university’s resources and policies are being reviewed to ensure student success, and a gap in support for the well being and health of undocumented and mixed status students is at the core of what the center will provide. The availability of a welcoming space that understands and supports the various hurdles undocumented and mixed status students and families endure will alleviate a large burden on their mental health. In establishing an open door policy, the center will welcome students to learn about their resources and the opportunities on campus to support them to degree completion.

The space itself was purposefully designed by alumni of the UIC Fearless Undocumented Alliance (FUA) with the vision of “For students –by students!” UIC FUA was founded in 2013 and strives to create a supportive environment academically, financially and mentally for all undocumented students at UIC.

“I imagine this space embracing students with a sense of calm and relief, where they can get their individual issues resolved and learn how to support others on campus and within the community,” Cabrera stated. “As a collective effort, we want to nourish their leadership and growth in and out of the classroom as the fight for equitable access for all undocumented and mixed status students continues locally, statewide, and across the nation.”