Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 87

Undocumented Student Mattering
Barriers to involvement can be overcome by making events
and opportunities for social connections accessible to commuters
at various times of the day, providing free programming,
serving free meals at events, providing childcare during events,
and partnering with the local community for affordable and
flexible transportation assistance to and from campus.
Educators should consider providing purposeful alternative opportunities for
these students, and their efforts can draw from knowledge about services for commuter
students (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education [CAS],
2018), who also face barriers to making on-campus connections (Kodama, 2002). Barriers
to involvement can be overcome by making events and opportunities for social
connections accessible to commuters at various times of the day, providing free programming,
serving free meals at events, providing childcare during events, and partnering
with the local community for affordable and flexible transportation assistance
to and from campus. Higher education institutions can partner with community centers
in cultural hubs to create accessible off-site programming that replicates some of
the social connection, learning, and developmental activities that take place in campus
housing and can even offer affordable short-term housing options for undocumented
students engaged in after-hours campus activities.
Undocumented college students could be invited to participate as satellite members
of living-learning communities, taking part in educational activities, social events,
and hall leadership. An even smaller core of connections could be made if satellite
members were assigned a resident assistant, both as a peer and a resource, and a specific
floor to identify with. This institutional commitment to serving these students
could also include the development of resources and programs to recruit, train, and
compensate RAs interested in serving in this capacity. Although funding structures
for housing and residence life will vary by institution, institutional agents can work
within their local context to serve all students. These alternative efforts at building
campus community may facilitate students' sense of peer and institutional belonging
via connections to other students on campus (Dumford et al., 2019). Overall, efforts
to facilitate mattering for undocumented students by offering alternative on-campus
housing connections could allow students to uphold cultural expectations to remain at
home while still engaging in campus activities.
CONCLUSION
Using a marginality versus mattering framework, we analyzed data from semi-structured
interviews with five undocumented college students who highlighted the challenges
they faced to living on campus. Implications provide insight for HESA educators
to support undocumented college students by including families in housing
outreach, providing affordable campus housing options, creating living-learning
communities or designated floors that center immigrant experiences, incorporating
commuter student services practices, and creating campus satellite membership in
residence hall communities. 
84 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2

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