At the age of 16, Rosa Salamanca Moreira made her journey to the U.S, traveling from El Salvador to Los Angeles to join her family.
Born and raised in El Salvador, Rosa came to the states with no prior knowledge of the English language nor did she know much about the lifestyle she would encounter in the U.S. Moving to Los Angeles was the first step in what would later create the pathway to her devotion for helping the needs and providing support for undocumented students.
Her newly position as director of the Undocu Resource Center has given her the chance to recreate how the campus welcomes undocumented students and how resources will be made easily attainable.
At her high school in Los Angeles, Rosa found a program called the Newcomer Center that helped students who had recently arrived to the United States from different parts of the world. This program offered a group of students the opportunity to meet others who were going through similar experiences and find the help needed to succeed in their education.
“As a teenager, going through adolescence at the time, it was difficult being able to transition into a place I didn’t know, especially trying to understand the language and being able to succeed”, said Salamanca.
At the beginning of her senior year in high school she had come across the Undocumented Students Club that had been formed and funded by two of her friends. At the end of that year she had been asked to take on the lead position for this organization, and regardless of her skepticism at the time, she decided to take the offer.
“For me being able to be in a program that helped me transition made me realize how having a place where you are able to relate to others and feel that you aren’t alone was so important”, said Salamanca.
Eventually she made her way to CSU Northridge where she helped fight for a Dream Center. Soon after, she continued to work for nonprofits and other organizations to provide support for undocumented populations. Her background and experience with undocumented students has provided her the tools and skills needed to implement new ideas for Sonoma State.
“I see an opportunity at the university where I can create a place similar to the one I come from,” said Salamanca. “The place that I was able to benefit from, to create a space for students where they can go to, which is the main reason I came here.”
Omar Santiago, a senior history major says, “She brings professionalism with the way she carries herself and the way she approaches students, but at the same time she is very welcoming.”
With the power Rosa’s position holds she hopes to create a welcoming place for undocumented students and to create an immigrant friendly campus for all students. She wants to ensure that they are being heard and that at the end of the day those needs are being met.
Her primary goal is to show the UndocuResource Center and its members that they have a place that will support them and provide the necessary information and tools to succeed in their college career. She believes that the barriers these students face can affect their success in all aspects of their lives, Rosa is determined to break these barriers and find opportunities for students.
Maria Nolasco-Ramirez a senior anthropology and chicano latino studies major says, “Her job now is to make sure undocumented students aren’t thrown under the bus, she has to make sure that we are getting the resources that we need, not what the university thinks we need.”