IDEAS Mission Statement
IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access, and Success) is the official voice of undocumented students at UCLA, and we recognize the diversity within the movement as our membership comprises of individuals from various nationalities, ethnicities, and genders. IDEAS exists to provide undocumented students with the resources and support needed to ensure their retention in higher education. Furthermore, we strive to ensure access to higher education by educating our communities about the opportunities open for higher education success. As advocates, we will fight for the equal representation of our community in higher education and fair immigration reform that recognizes the contributions of undocumented immigrants to this society.
Background and History
UCLA students, faculty and administrators came together during the summer of 2003 and officially established IDEAS at UCLA in October 2003. As a support network for undocumented and AB540 undocumented students at UCLA and across diverse communities outside of UCLA, IDEAS members collectively form camaraderie of people connected by shared experiences, struggles, and successes.
Evolving from a support network to a student organization and community outreach project, IDEAS now guides high school and community college students in their transition to institutions of higher education. In the summer of 2004, IDEAS initiated the AB540 Project to bring awareness about the AB540 legislation and to provide information regarding educational and financial resources available to Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. This is accomplished through a mentoring program, informational workshops, student panels, the Annual Educator’s Conference and Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference, and other community events.
As an advocacy group IDEAS has consistently taken an active role at the local, state, and national levels to campaign for equal access to higher education for all students, regardless of their immigration status. In 2006 IDEAS joined the California DREAM Network, a state- and nation-wide network of student based organizations aimed at creating and influencing public policy affecting undocumented students.
In 2006, thanks to the support of private donors, community organizations such as our former fiscal receiver the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), and the Office of Assemblymember Gilbert Cedillo, the 1st Annual Making the Dream a Reality Banquet established an ongoing scholarship for undocumented students at the university. IDEAS awarded a combined 38 scholarships to entering freshmen, transfer, and continuing undoumented students at UCLA.
The increasing number of undocumented college-bound students, makes it urgent for IDEAS to sustain the IDEAS Making the Dream a Reality Scholarship. In spite of the provisions that laws like the CA Dream Act create, the financial need is still there as not all undocumented students can avail this resource to pursue their education. It is the sponsorship of concerned individuals and organizations that allows IDEAS to continue encouraging, promoting, and supporting the education of incoming and continuing undocumented students at UCLA.
What We Do
Our four pillars–activism, membership, community service, and fundraising–are upheld by our Board Members who strive to increase the awareness and support of the community for undocumented youth. Inside and outside the UCLA campus, we advocate for undocumented youth through our internal and external chairs. We foster the well-being and development of our diverse membership through our membership chair and office manager, and we record the story of the movement with the help of our Ourstorian. Through the AB540 Project, we serve the community by hosting events that inform about the resources available to undocumented youth as well as the issues they face. As we recognize the financial needs of our students in their pursuit for higher education, our fundraising chairs find ways to create funds that allow undocumented youth to afford the ever-increasing tuition in our universities.
We will continue to support the endeavors of undocumented youth and celebrate the movement they have begun.