Center opens to serve undocumented students at CSUB


Sergio Hernandez

On Dec. 03, 2019, a grand opening celebration of the Dream Resource Center was held at Student Housing West, Rohan Building along with an introduction of Hilda Nieblas, the new director of the Dream Center and MAGEC Center (right-in-blue).

Sam Underwood, Editor-in-Chief

  The grand opening of the Dream Center at CSU Bakersfield was commemorated with a ribbon cutting and short speech by President Lynnette Zelezny on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019 at the Rohan building of the former Student Housing West, where the new Dream Center and MAGEC will share space.  The Dream Center provides a host of services for undocumented students, as well as citizen students from undocumented families.   

  The opening gave the campus an opportunity to meet Hilda Nieblas, an alumna of CSUB who has returned as the newly appointed director of MAGEC and the Dream Center. Nieblas graduated from CSUB in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public administration.  Nieblas is returning to CSUB from the University of Mississippi, where she worked as a graduate community director.   

  To get the Dream Center started, Nieblas is focusing on what the CSUB students need from it.   

 “Right now, one of the biggest things for me is to identify through presentations and talking with students ‘what is the need?’  Just because one program is a good fit for [another CSU], doesn’t mean that it is something that is going to be impactful for our students here,” Nieblas said. Currently, Nieblas is researching other Dream Centers at different UC’s and CSU’s to see what programs and services they offer.   

  “If I can impact one student a day, that is one student that will be able to use our services to navigate CSUB,” Nieblas said.   

  As the director of both the Dream Center and MAGEC, Nieblas said that undocumented students and families will be able to have a certain amount of anonymity when visiting the Dream Center.   

“When students are meeting with me, they could be meeting with me about a club organization that is housed in [the MAGEC office], so that keeps the anonymity. They are not exposed by just talking to me,” Nieblas said.   

  Legal services will be available by appointment two days a month beginning Dec. 10 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Dec. 11 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.  According to Nieblas, services are not offered exclusively to CSUB students; a student’s entire family can seek services at the Dream Center.  Non-profit Immigrant Legal Defense will be providing the legal services. 

  “I wasn’t sure where to go, I’m definitely going to use these services,” said Carlos Avendano, who identified himself as an undocumented student. Avendanois a junior communications major who recently transferred from Bakersfield College.   

  “When I first came here, I had to pay out of state fees, but there was a [form] I didn’t get to sign,” Avendano said.  “I hope [the Dream Center] helps future students so they don’t struggle like us.” 

  It is unknown how much of an impact the Dream Center will have on campus, since CSUB does not collect legal status information.  Since the university doesn’t know which students to reach out to, students in need of services will have to actively seek those services at the Dream Center.   

  “I think the center expanding and opening up more resources is great for our campus and great for our students,” Delilah Solis, a member of Club GEN and United Now for Immigration Rights, said at the opening. Club GEN and UNIR are two of the many clubs housed in the MAGEC office.   

  “It’s really about at least having a visible spot where students know they can feel safe,” Solis said.