Student Opening of the Immigrant Student Success Center

Student Opening of the Immigrant Student Success Center

Student Opening of the Immigrant Student Success Center

On October 16th, the John Jay community celebrated the opening of the Immigrant Student Success Center. As a safe space where students can receive help and guidance through the many hurdles regarding their immigration status. The center aims to provide undocumented students the support they need to achieve their career and life goals. “Any student, regardless of status, can come here and ask for resources,” says Cynthia Carvajal, Manager of the Immigrant Student Success Center. “No human being is illegal, and in that capacity, students have the right to experience joy and learning. We have several systems that are failing our students. So this space is meant to help them.”

Cynthia Carvajal

“No human being is illegal, and in that capacity, students have the right to experience joy and learning.” —Cynthia Carvajal, Manager of the Immigrant Student Success Center

The student opening of the Center created an opportunity for bonding over food, games, music, and dancing. The students had the chance to learn more about the Center and interact with John Jay classmates, faculty, and staff. We spoke to several students to learn more about what the center means to them, what they hope it will provide, and what it means to be an immigrant.

Fortune Kuverua
Fortune Kuverua

Fortune Kuverua
Graduate Student, International Crime and Justice
“To be an immigrant means to be an American. America without immigrants is not America. We are the melting pot. Wherever we come from, we bring that culture and that experience, and the desire to be part of this country. Once upon a time, America brought people here by force. Today we are willing to come and want to study. We are telling everyone that we are capable and can do it.”

Lisa Cho
Lisa Cho

Lisa Cho
Junior, Criminology and Dispute Resolution Certificate
“This center has given me a place where I feel safe. When I first came to John Jay, I didn't feel as welcomed because I didn't have a community to go to. But once this center was created, there were a lot more people who were willing to come out and say ‘Hi, my name is, and I'm undocumented.’ To be able to connect with them is such a great opportunity.”

Arom Contreras
Arom Contreras

Arom Contreras
Senior, Latin America and Latina/o Studies
 “This center means a lot to me, considering that both my parents are immigrants from Guatemala. I'm not an immigrant myself, but I am so glad that we now have a resource center that will offer support, especially for student immigrants who are facing difficulties during these times.”

Diana Gonzalez
Diana Gonzalez

Diana Gonzalez
Freshman, Law and Society
“In my high school there was no support for undocumented students. It was hard my junior and senior years, because the counselor didn't have any idea how to handle students with my status. I had to travel all the way to SoHo to work with a counselor who knew more about helping undocumented students. It was nice having her help, but I lived far away, and I had to travel a long way to get there. Having this center here and accessible, means the world to me. It’s a huge weight off my shoulder.” 

Elza Kochueva
Elza Kochueva

Elza Kochueva
Senior, Law and Society
 “I really hope this center will provide fellowship or internship opportunities for the students. I heard that a lot of undocumented students do not get paid while doing internships. So I hope that they can get some type of stipend.”

Scenes from the event…

Students from Immigrant Student Success Center

Students from Immigrant Student Success Center

Students from Immigrant Student Success Center

Students from Immigrant Student Success Center