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Undocumented Student Mattering
campuses because of the " hostile U.S. immigration climate, including the uncertain
future of DACA " (Shelton, 2019, p. 102). Scholars have also highlighted the broad array
of social identities within the undocumented college student population (Nienhusser
et al., n.d.), a breadth of diversity revealing that these students experience socioemotional
stressors, peer support, activism, and family concerns in unique, individual ways.
Higher education institutions and practitioners can foster success for these students
in numerous ways: establishing resource centers specifically for undocumented
students, training faculty and staff about this population's needs, and establishing and
funding culturally relevant services (Nienhusser et al., n.d.). Undocumented students
also need identity-based mentors and allies across campus who can help them with
social integration and can advocate for their needs (Witkowsky et al., 2020). Institutional
agents can serve them by developing immigration-related status competency via
knowledge, awareness, and skills (Nienhusser et al., n.d.) and creating campus-wide
support networks while also considering functional area-specific efforts.
The Residential Experience
The on-campus housing experience has long " played a key part in the ways students
grapple with issues of inequity and spaces where social justice education has been enacted "
(McGowan et al., 2017, p. 10). Living in a residence hall can help students develop
critical consciousness (Otchere et al., 2017); provide placemaking (Tichavakunda,
2020) for Black collegians by acknowledging " the ways that urban Black Americans
create sites of endurance, belonging and resistance " (Hunter et al., 2016, p. 31); and
offer identity development support for students who identify as queer (Mollet et al.,
2020).
These intentionally designed on-campus housing experiences should also be guided
by the needs of specific student populations, though little is known about how many
undocumented or " DACAmented " students choose to live on campus (Davidson &
Preciado, 2017). However, scholarship on the unique experiences or perceptions of
undocumented students living in on-campus housing is limited in part because this
option is not possible for so many of them (Davidson & Preciado, 2017). Some institutions
offer specific resources for them, such as institutional websites providing information
about affordable housing, housing co-op programs, and scholarships (University
of California Berkeley, n.d.; University of California Merced, n.d.). Barriers to their
living on campus include the cost of housing (Raza et al., 2019) and the need to fulfill
the family responsibilities that undocumented students, specifically those from Latinx
backgrounds, may have in the home. The current study addresses these challenges and
offers recommendations for " housing professionals to better serve undocumented students "
(Davidson & Preciado, 2017, p. 98) by educating staff at all levels on the unique
needs of this population, implementing ally training programs, creating accessible
resources, and offering critical hope.
76 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

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