UW-W Dreamers

Campus programs to host fundraiser for undocumented students


Daniela Porras, Nayeli Govantes Alcantar and Emily Rodriguez won the Gold Award for the best LEAP plan in Jan. 2019. From the left to the right: Daniela Porras, Nayeli Govantes Alcantar, Emily Rodriguez, Annie Stinson, Interim Provost Greg Cook. – Dr. Annie Stinson

Lizzy Rost, Arts and Rec Editor

The Whitewater Dream Scholars and Colleagues and the Department of Music will host a virtual event called “Whitewater Dream Fund,” Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. It will feature faculty, students, and community members who will bring Latin America’s culture to Whitewater. 

Whitewater Dream Fund helps undocumented students with their tuition. For instance, when Nayeli Govantes Alcantar, the President of the DSC, immigrated from Mexico to America (where she eventually settled in Wisconsin) was charged for out-of-state tuition.

“I was a senior in high school when I took a trip to New York for a conference; and it was scheduled from the Security Exchange of Mexico. As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, only 100 were chosen, and I was lucky enough to be one of the two individuals from the state of Wisconsin,” said Govantes Alcantar.  

When she received the Dream scholarship, she felt relieved. Especially, when she met one of the Dream scholars there, and they told her about DSC. She had no idea that UW-Whitewater had an organization to support DACA recipients. She knew UW-Whitewater was meant for her, because she finally felt at home. Alcantar wanted all races and ethnicities to know about DACA.

DACA postponed deportation for children that came to the U.S.A at a young age. If you have DACA, many recipients want to apply so they can stay here and have a work permit. There’s no path to citizenship, there’s no path to green permit holders. A lot of individuals have that confusion when they have DACA, that eventually they will get fixed. It’s more like okay, we are just going to defer your deportation, in the meantime you can work. And a lot of DACA recipients obviously don’t want that, because they want to eventually have a path to citizenship. Essentially it’s a work permit. We are given a social security number and we work,” she said.

As a senior, Alcantar grew throughout college as a Dream Scholars and Colleagues member. She was invited to various forums, presented to professors, students, high schoolers and counselors. She also strengthened her confidence when she spoke to diverse audiences, because she became more comfortable with her story.

“DACA represented its recipients and undocumented students.We all as individuals understand that we’ve made it this far in the United States. And if there was ever a termination of DACA,  we all would understand as individuals we’re okay to make it. We made it this far in the U.S., and we are all really supportive of one another. And so the fight will continue and we will never let our hopes down, or let our dreams go. At the end of the day, it has brought us a lot of joy and motivation. Not just for us as individuals, but also for the communities that we live in.”

Dream Scholars and Colleagues showed Alcantar that when she voiced herself, she inspired communities. She didn’t feel alone anymore, and she felt that they were always there for her. Through the organization she shared her stories and became more open about her experience. 

“I did it for the incoming students, undocumented, documented, who came in and paid a higher education, because I know it’s not an accessible higher education. Can we really be leaders, if we are not pulling up our community on our side?” 

Alcantar was a leader in the Latinx community, because she inspired others. She included everyone, no matter what race, ethnicity, gender, or religion.

“I came from not the most diverse town, I wasn’t really in touch with my whole story, I wasn’t really in touch with my identity as an immigrant. So, when I saw all these people advocating for communities, and speaking so openly about their story. I thought ‘Wow I got to step it up.’”

Ever since her freshman year, she helped raise money for undocumented students. She wanted to help bring awareness to this topic, so the community could better understand them. She was nervous at her first meeting.

“I was literally shaking at the fact that someone would know that I’m a DACA recipient. That’s how scary it was to come out of the shelves. Now sharing my story, seeing my community’s support in such a drastic way brought a huge growth spurt.”

At first, Alcantar was worried, because people may discover that she was a DACA recipient, but when she joined DSC she wasn’t scared. She felt like she could learn about her heritage, practice cultural activities, and share her story.

Alcantar is excited for the Whitewater Dream Fund event, because the Music Department will fundraise for undocumented students like her. 

“Last week I was involved in recording things. Where either I or one of my students was in one room, and then the pianist would be in another room. We would connect it over Soundjack, and I would record both feeds in separate rooms. And then we have a sound Engineer who is going to put it all together, and have the concert happen that way,” Music Department assistant director Rachel Wood said.

Although this event will be virtual, the Hispanic heritage still hits the spotlight. Their voices will be heard, and music will whistle through everyone’s ears.

 “The concert is going to be virtual. It’s going to include music pieces by Latinx composers, and performers. We have two gentlemen from the community who are immigrants from Mexico, and they will play live. They will be singing some traditional mexican songs, and one of our students will be doing a guitar piece,” said Anne Stinson, Ph.D., Dream Scholars and Colleagues faculty advisor and Board of Directors President of the Whitewater Dream Fund. “We will be sharing some artwork by group members. Two of the students will be giving a little testimonial. And the musical performance is going to be singing, but backed up with music.”

The Dream Scholars and Colleagues and the Music Department aim to bring more awareness about Hispanic heritage to the community while raising funds for undocumented students. All are invited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the virtual event.