CAUSA, Illinois State University’s Committee Assisting Undocumented Student Achievement, invites members of campus and the greater community to learn more about the challenges faced by undocumented students. Discover how we, as educators, can help them to succeed. The event is Friday, September 9, in the Bone Student Center’s Prairie Room, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The event is free, but registration is required.

The seminar is for P–16 educational professionals who want to learn more about laws, policies, and educational practices necessary to support undocumented students. This seminar will consist of three key components: undocumented student testimonios, an overview of the challenges encountered by undocumented students, and a discussion of key policies such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). Participants will leave with a list of resources and best practices. This is open to elementary, secondary and higher education professionals.


Eric Ruiz, associate director of undergraduate admissions, University of St. Francis

Ruiz graduated from University of St Francis in 2007 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and finance and joined the admissions team in the same year. He also was the vice president of finance for the Student Business Association, a ministry staffer, and Saints Ambassador. His passion is to help students with their future educational goals. He enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and staying active. He was raised in Evergreen Park and now resides in Joliet.

Charlotte Alvarez, staff attorney, Immigration Project

Alvarez joined the Immigration Project in September 2014. Alvarez worked with immigrants through a variety of volunteer organizations while earning a B.A. in political science from Washington University in St. Louis. She participated in an after-school mentoring program for Hispanic children, tutored an African refugee in English to prepare her for her citizenship test, volunteered at naturalization clinics, and interned with Jobs with Justice where she helped plan political actions to push Congress for comprehensive immigration reform. Alvarez saw a need for trustworthy representation in immigration cases and went to Harvard Law School to become an immigration attorney. While in law school, Alvarez was a student attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau for two years where she litigated on behalf of individuals facing eviction and represented clients in social security disability and unemployment benefits appeals. She also interned with Asylum Access Ecuador in Quito, Ecuador, and helped start a program with the Harvard Immigration Project that trained students to represent detained individuals in bond hearings and get them released from detention. After law school Alvarez was the legal services director at the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama for two years where she managed the Immigration and Access to Justice program and represented clients in naturalization, U visas, VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and family-based immigration cases.


This event is sponsored by the Harold K. Sage Foundation and the Illinois State University Foundation Fund. It is organized by CAUSA (Illinois State’s Committee Assisting Undocumented Student Achievement), Latin American and Latino/a studies program, the Office of Admissions, and with support from of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology.