Orientation for Spanish speakers

Opportunity for ESL students, parents to learn about WSU life

Ray+Acu%C3%B1a-Luna+explains+the+importance+of+La+Bienvenida%27s+sessions+Monday+morning+in+the+CUB.+He+says+they+help+communicate+the+ways+that+college+finances+can+be+taken+care+of+to+parents+and+students.
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Orientation for Spanish speakers

Ray Acuña-Luna explains the importance of La Bienvenida's sessions Monday morning in the CUB. He says they help communicate the ways that college finances can be taken care of to parents and students.

Ray Acuña-Luna explains the importance of La Bienvenida's sessions Monday morning in the CUB. He says they help communicate the ways that college finances can be taken care of to parents and students.

ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Ray Acuña-Luna explains the importance of La Bienvenida's sessions Monday morning in the CUB. He says they help communicate the ways that college finances can be taken care of to parents and students.

ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

ABIGAIL LINNENKOHL | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Ray Acuña-Luna explains the importance of La Bienvenida's sessions Monday morning in the CUB. He says they help communicate the ways that college finances can be taken care of to parents and students.

GABRIEL BRAVO, Evergreen reporter

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Groups at WSU will hold the 12th annual La Bienvenida orientation this weekend on campus. The event is geared toward parents of first-generation students who are not knowledgeable about universities.

The Office of Multicultural Student Services, Undocumented Initiatives, College Assistance Migrant Program and Cougs Rise organized La Bienvenida. The event’s title means “the welcoming” in Spanish.

Michael Heim, CAMP director and La Bienvenida organizer, said many of these parents are not fluent in English and need extra support to help their students navigate through their college career.

“[English] might not be their native fluency,” Heim said. “La Bienvenida is designed and targeted at the parents to help them understand what is going when their students come to WSU.”

It’s important that their parents are on board because some of the parents will help with expenses and encourage their students to meet academic goals, Heim said.

Joel Guerra, a sophomore studying civil engineering, said he felt a sense of belonging when he attended La Bienvenida in 2018.

Guerra said he experienced hardships and homelessness before attending WSU.

“Marcela was interested in my situation and invited me to La Bienvenida,” Guerra said. “One of the [orientation counselors] brought me to Pullman, offered me a place to stay and met so many people.”

Guerra said he built many friendships, made connections and even found his current roommate at the event.

Saturday’s schedule will include a resource fair and workshops focusing on financial aid and financial literacy. There will be a seminar on Sunday about knowing your rights as an undocumented student, a budgeting workshop, an immigration lawyer consultation for legal assistance and an academic school year review.

Marcela Pattinson, assistant director of MSS community relations and outreach and an event organizer, said the “know your rights” workshop prepares individuals for occasions where they might be arrested or detained.

Ray Acuña-Luna, Cougs Rise project director and La Bienvenida organizer, said the overview is an opportunity to learn about what to expect in the upcoming school year.

Because first-generation students and their parents are new to university, both learn what to do and expect in the upcoming school year, he said.

“We take [participants] month by month and explain to them what’s happening at the university,” Acuña-Luna said. “We start in August all the way to May. Parents will know when will be the most stressful times in the semester.”

Parents should not expect constant contact with their students during midterms, Acuña-Luna said. Students appreciate the privacy and consideration.

Not only does La Bienvenida educate first-generation college students and their parents about college, but it also creates a sense of family among the participants. Pattinson said the event is a personal affair.

“Taking the time to sit down with parents, looking them in the eye and trying to answer all their questions,” Pattinson said. “We are very intentional in getting to know them.”