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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hornets share their goals as undocumented students

The Grads-to-be Program engages with undocumented students from Fullerton College as they hosted a public support event.
Jose Vazquez
Club hosts Janet Polanco and Nicole Swanye welcome students at Fullerton College’s Undocu Chats event on Wednesday, Sept. 13 2023. (Jose Vazquez)

Fullerton College students with undocumented status planned and shared their personal goals at an event on their support hosted by the Grads-to-be programs on Wednesday, Sept. 15 in Room 526.

The event, called “Undocu Chats,” invited undocumented students with the intention to provide a safe space for them to conversate and share any of their concerns or thoughts with others. Students were required to sign in with their Fullerton College student ID.

Wellness therapist with the Grads-to-be program Janet Polanco, provided all attendees with sheets of paper where they could write their personal goals, and set a step-by-step plan to achieve them.

The room was decorated with big posters for students to write their goals with markers. Free food was also provided by the hosts all throughout the duration of the event.

After attendees wrote their goals down on the sheets, Polanco, alongside Marketing and Events advocate for the Grads-to-be program Nicole Swayne, provided poster-size sheets of papers for the students to create an artistic design with their goals. Markers, paint and other utensils were on spot for them to use.

Students gather art materials to work on their future goals during an art activity at Fullerton College’s Undocu Chats event on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Jose Vazquez)

Polanco encouraged students to share their goals with the others in the room by presenting the posters they made. Students present expressed academic success, labor success and fixing their legal status as some of their most wanted things to achieve.

Undocu Chats have been an ongoing event since the spring 2021 semester. These started as zoom meetings that undocumented students could join to seek emotional support. ”Undocu Chats started as a space to provide support for undocumented students, to come and discuss any stressors, anything that is impacting their functioning here at school,” said Polanco.

After going back in-person in fall 2022, Polanco said they wanted to integrate activities in order to bring more students into Undocu Chats. “This is kind of our second year back, when we are doing things in person,” said Polanco. “I embedded activities, kind of our therapeutic activities, to help increase their motivation and participation.”

Swanye said that although they had more students in the first edition of the semester, she was still satisfied with how the event turned out. “I would feel like on our first event, or the kickoff event had a lot more students,” said Swanye. “But I think it went pretty well.”

The event concluded with Polanco presenting to the attendees the date and theme of their new “Undocu Chats” editions and other events such as Cadena Cultural Center’s Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Mental Health Counselor Janet Polanco assists students with their art projects at Fullerton College’s Undocu Chats event on Wednesday, Sept. 13 2023. (Jose Vazquez)

The new edition of “Undocu chats” is set to happen again on Wednesday, Sept. 27, in room 526, and will be focused on stress management, with attendees having the chance to build their own stress ball.

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About the Contributors
Pedro Saravia
Pedro Saravia, News Editor
Pedro Saravia is the News Desk Editor for The Hornet Newspaper. He previously wrote for Inside Fullerton magazine. Pedro is a five-time award winning journalist. He received Meritorious recognition from JACC and second place for Sports Investigative Story from CMA for his work investigating Title IX issues at Fullerton College. Pedro has also won second place in Profile, second place in Photo Illustration and an honorable mention in Audio Podcast from JACC. Pedro enjoys going to the gym, playing and watching soccer, and hanging with his brother. He aspires to be a politics and sports reporter.
Jose Vazquez
Jose Vazquez, Staff Photographer
Jose Vazquez is a returning staff photographer for The Hornet. Jose wants to tell people's stories and cover points of interest in our culture's conflicts, politics, history, and the obscure. His focus currently is on the emerging music and art scene in Southern California. Jose is currently studying at Fullerton College where he is working towards a bachelor’s degree in photography and journalism. He also volunteers at a nonprofit art house movie theatre in Santa Ana, the historic Frida Theatre. In his free time, he creates videos on his YouTube channel and plays drums in a garage gaze band called Black Star Meadow.

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