On Oct. 28, Lambda Theta Phi, the Latinx fraternity at NC State, and the Study Abroad Office held the sixth annual “I Stand With Immigrants” event, where students came to show their support towards student immigrants around the U.S.
Roma Bustillos, a master’s candidate in international studies and intern at the Study Abroad Office, said she was thankful for the support the Study Abroad Office provided to her in creating this event with the I Stand With Immigrants initiative, a nationwide campaign from FWD.us, a bipartisan political organization focused on immigration reform.
“I have a lot of liberties to organize and do different events,” Bustillos said.
At the event, which was held in the Brickyard, students could sign paper hands and post photos of the event to spread awareness for issues student immigrants face. Bustillos said students also received T-shirts and other pieces of merchandise such as stickers throughout the event for participating.
According to Bustillos, she came up with the idea of having a board with paper hands to spread awareness over social media.
“A hand is such a big symbol for being unified,” Bustillos said. “This past week, all of us just cut out a ton of hands so that people could write their name on it and post on the board. We wanted to make sure people were just spreading the word.”
Luis Martinez, a fourth-year studying polymer and color chemistry and president of Lambda Theta Phi, said the Latinx fraternity came together to collaborate with the Study Abroad Office to set up the event.
“The important part was being able to delegate tasks,” Martinez said. “Some of our brothers weren’t able to do the tabling, so we had them put up posters and make sure that we had stickers ordered and printed on time.”
According to Bustillos and Martinez, immigrant students face various challenges across U.S. universities, from higher tuition and living costs to racial discrimination. Bustillos and Martinez said the event was also meant to spread awareness about these issues.
“With the pandemic, everyone’s fallen behind on some things, and other things have been brought to light a lot more,” Bustillos said. “But now that everyone's gaining momentum, it's such a great opportunity to start doing the advocacy work again, especially without any limitations.”
Martinez said Bustillos initially reached out to Lambda Theta Phi in order to collaborate with a campus organization. According to Martinez, the collaboration started with a lot of ideas tossed around for the event, but the group ultimately decided on a tabling event at the Brickyard.
“Some of our ideas we couldn’t do because the logistics were rough, so we had to improvise,” Martinez said. “We wanted to make a banner that we could hang up inside Talley Student Union… We ended up having a poster board where everyone signed it, and she has it in the Study Abroad Office.”
Despite the event being held by a Latinx organization, Martinez said the event was to represent student immigrants from all around the globe. According to Martinez, various student immigrants from outside of the Americas also showed up to the event.
“I was very surprised to have someone come out from Ukraine, since he knew nothing about this [event],” Martinez said. “He saw us out in the Brickyard, he asked us what it was about and he was like, ‘You know, I'm an immigrant myself,’ and I thought it was really neat how we were able to just reach out to more than just the Latinx community here.”
For resources available to student immigrants within the University, visit the Study Abroad Office and the Office of International Services. More information on Lambda Theta Phi Latin fraternity and its future events can be found on its GetInvolved page.