Moving NIU forward: Why Sandy López gives back

When you ask Sandy López’s children how many siblings they have, they often respond, “There are only two of us, but our NIU family is huge!”

Sandy López, coordinator of NIU’s Undocumented Student Support, donates to the university to make a difference in the lives of students.

That’s because López has been deeply ingrained within the NIU community for over 30 years dating back to her time as a student and continuing through 27 years of employment in a variety of roles on campus. In 2018, López joined the Office of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) where she serves as Coordinator for Undocumented Student Support.

In her role, López creates a climate of respect for all by addressing emerging and complex issues surrounding undocumented and mixed-status students. When asked to share a special memory of her time at NIU, López offered the following:

“One of my favorite moments was attending the first Coming Out of the Shadows event at NIU. I will never forget the sense of pride and awe I felt as I witnessed students stand in the MLK Commons and declare their status so they could bring about change on campus not only for themselves but for their peers and future Huskies by countering stereotypes about undocumented immigrants and asking NIU to help eliminate barriers they were facing.”

López is also involved in several NIU student organizations and the community, serving as an advisor for Alpha Psi Lambda National Inc., DREAM Action NIU, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS).

With such active involvement at NIU, it’s no wonder that her children consider the NIU community part of their family. López’s husband is also a graduate of NIU.

Her many connections to NIU and strong belief in its mission, vision and values have created a resounding sense of Huskie Pride within López.

“I am a proud Huskie,” she shares. “And over the years the positive changes NIU has made continue to make me proud. From the Huskie Pledge to the new test blind admissions policy, NIU is making degree attainment in higher education more accessible for all!”

López unleashes her Huskie Pride through her donations and by serving as a Social Media Ambassador for the NIU Foundation.

“I donate because NIU changed my life,” she says. “I was the first in my family to attend college. NIU provided me with the resources and support to earn my degree and continue on at NIU as an employee for the past 27 years.”

As a Social Media Ambassador, López encourages others to support NIU by using social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. When asked what her message to potential donors might be, she says:

“Please donate to NIU—no matter the amount. If we all donate, we can make a difference in the lives of NIU students. Donate during Huskies United and encourage your fellow Huskies to do the same.”

Move NIU Forward during Huskies United June 24-25

You can join López in moving NIU forward June 24-25 by making a gift during NIU Foundation’s Huskies United event. Huskies United will begin at 4:25 p.m. on June 24 and will run for 1,895 minutes, a nod to the university’s founding year. The campaign will focus on raising support for the university’s strategic funding priorities including emergency student funds, diversity, equity and inclusion, scholarships, and research, artistry and innovation.

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