Sharing the Dream Conference coming to NIU

Aiming to bring together a community of allies for undocumented students in college and beyond, NIU will host the Sharing the Dream Conference.

Supported by the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling, the annual event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at Barsema Hall. 

Faculty, staff and community members at NIU and throughout the state will come together to hear first-hand from knowledgeable speakers about the financial, social and legal challenges faced by college-ready, undocumented students.

“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Quinton Clay, director of admissions. “I’m just glad NIU can be a part of this, not only to contribute as a thoughtful partner, but also to learn and make sure we’re sharp in our best practices.”

The conference is designed for all college access professionals, counselors and mentors to learn how they can support and advocate for undocumented students.

The Office of Undocumented Student Support is proud that NIU will be hosting the event, said Sandy Lopez, coordinator for Undocumented Student Support.

Coordinator for Undocumented Student Support, Sandy Lopez (third from left) and members of Dream Action NIU

“NIU continues to support undocumented students and believes that higher education is a fundamental human right for all, regardless of citizenship status,” she said. “We recognize and celebrate the differences in our students and welcome the opportunity to host a conference that aims to provide accurate information on how to support undocumented and mixed status students in higher education.”

Registration for the event is $25 a person and can be completed through the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling website. The deadline to register is Wednesday, May 8.

The conference is invaluable, Clay said, as resources related to professional development in this area are limited. For some, it might provide their first opportunity to have in-depth exposure to the struggles undocumented students and their families face, he said.

“Given the changing demographics in the state, including the changing demographics in DeKalb County, we all need to make this a priority to find avenues to obtain accurate information and make sure we’re doing everything we can to serve families and students in the best way we can as individuals and professionals,” he said.

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