Campus documentary encourages hope

Yenny Nolasco

On Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., CSUB Doré Theatre will premiere a 90-minute documentary film called “Camp to Campus.” The film focuses on first-generation college students who come from a migrant labor background and who are descendants of the Mexican Bracero Program which dates back from 1940 to 1960 as well as their childhood experiences from the Dust Bowl migration and recent migrant laborers.

A total of 50 people responded to an initial survey that was given in spring 2012, and only 15 people were selected. Those selected range from professions such as accounting, filmmaking, law, and teaching, and among other fields.

“The film is trying to capture the struggles of people’s life stories and where they are now as part of their success because of their parent’s challenges and struggles as well as sacrifices they had made for them so they can have a better education,” says Director of the CAMP Program, Dr. Maria Escobedo. “Camp to Campus” also explains the struggles that many of these people had while growing up as the children of migrant laborers. Some of them recall when they immigrated to the United States or young children, when they were living in labor camps along with their parents and siblings, and when they worked in the fields themselves while trying to make it to college.

“Camp to Campus” was filmed in different areas of the San Joaquin Valley and even here at CSUB. In addition some of the people who are in the film are part of CSUB.

Dr. Marit MacArthur is the project director of the film and associate professor of English at CSUB.

“By gathering and sharing these stories, the documentary offers insights about how people chose to leave the fields behind and attain a higher education – and, more broadly, how first-generation college students negotiate different worlds,” she said in a recent press release.

“Camp to Campus” was directed by Fabian Euresti, who graduated from CSUB with a Bachelors of Arts in English in 2007, and an Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from California Institute of the Arts in 2010. He himself comes from a migrant labor background.

The film is broken down into different segments and each person who was interviewed shared their own stories and challenges they had to face and where they are now.

“Camp to Campus” also encourages future college students that there is hope for them if they believed that they cannot achieve to graduate from a college or university.

“Camp to Campus,” is really from being out in the fields to going to a university environment or college environment,” says Dr. Escobedo. Admission and parking are free.

“Camp to Campus” was founded by a $10,000 grant from Cal Humanities’ Community Stories Fund, an independent nonprofit State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, along with a $15,000 in matching funds from CSUB.

The documentary will be shown throughout the months of February and March at local high schools and community colleges.

In addition, students from high school and community colleges will have the opportunity to compete for a scholarship to CSUB and cash prizes in an essay and video-essay contest about “Camp to Campus.”

The deadline for submission is April 10. Information about the scholarship can be found under the “Camp to Campus” website:

Admission and parking are free.