Student Success Center kicks the year off with intersectional meet and greet


Aly Hernandez, student ambassador for the Extended Opportunity Program and Services, assists a student with transfer information in the Student Success Center on Thursday Aug. 29. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Madina Safdari

The Student Success Center held their first annual meet and greet for Dreamers, immigrants and the LGBTQ community on Tuesday. Karla Montenegro, a Student Success Coach organized the event in order to help students on campus have a reliable place where they can feel supported.

“I know that many people have been feeling excluded so I wanted to provide this safe space where they can meet other people who are friendly towards them. And if they need some support and they don’t necessarily want to come to the Student Success Center or go to their financial aid office or EOPS, they can easily reach out to a faculty member that they see on campus,” Montenegro said.

Extended Opportunity Program and Services Student Aid Alethea Amegadzie (middle) and Counselor Esmeralda Camarena (right) engage in conversation in the Student Success Center on Tuesday, Aug 27. Photo credit: Madina Safdari

Students and faculty alike showed up to the Student Success Center from 10 a.m. to noon to enjoy bagels, coffee and make conversation. Each participant was given a name tag and advised to write down their pronouns.

Kevin Hau was one of the first to show up, eager to have a snack and meet new people. Though he finds it difficult to attend campus events with his busy schedule, he made sure to show up to the Student Success Center because of the variety of services that they offer.

When talking about the charm of the Student Success Center, Hau appreciates it for making the campus feel less intimidating. “Everything’s smaller. If you contrast a big city and a small village, that’s basically what it’s like. A small village, everyone knows each other. It’s more comfortable, it’s a different space,” Hau said.

A whiteboard in the Student Success Center welcomes all attendees to the Meet and Greet with words of encouragement on Tuesday, Aug. 27. Photo Credit: Madina Safdari

Different groups of students and faculty came and went, all asking for advice and sharing their wisdom on ways to be successful at Moorpark. Mario Antonio Redondo Luna, a first year student, attended the event because he was curious about what type of support the Student Success Center could offer him.

Redondo Luna immigrated to the United States two years ago and graduated from Newbury Park High School in 2019. As the eldest sibling, Redondo Luna is a trailblazer in his family and plans on taking advantage of the variety of resources on campus.

“I have come for an appointment, a coach session and then I came for Scantron’s. They do a good job of reaching out to different communities,” Redondo Luna said. “People sometimes just encourage you and that’s it, but here they go farther and make stuff happen for you.”

According to Montenegro, there are over 100 students on campus who are Dreamers or undocumented immigrants that receive some sort of financial aid. The Student Success Center aims to reach out to these students to better ease their transition into Moorpark College.

“My intention is to hold programming for students who are undocumented or immigrants. Possibly have a couple workshops, learn their rights, how to be an activist and how to practice advocacy,” Montenegro said. “Ultimately, this is the place for questions and answers.”

EOPS: Extended Opportunity Programs and Services