Sandy Lopez to be undocumented student liaison for NIU


Zulfiqar Ahmed I Northern Star

The Office for Undocumented Student Support is located in the Campus Life Building, Room 230.

By Julio Ceja

DeKALB — Sandy Lopez, coordinator for undocumented student support, became the undocumented student liaison following Villa’s Law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Aug. 20. 

Villa’s law, sponsored by Illinois State Senator Karen Villa (D-West Chicago), requires public universities and community college in Illinois to designate an employee as an undocumented student resource liaison. It also encourages schools to establish an undocumented student resource center to assist undocumented students, according to Villa’s website.

Lopez and her office played a role in the legislative process “we actually gave the testimony to the House,” she said. The legislation then went to the Illinois Senate, where Villa sponsored the legislation and brought it into fruition. 

Lopez is excited about the new law because it allows newly appointed student liaisons throughout the state’s colleges and universities to be recognized for their roles, which additionally grant herself and others more ways to access resources they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. 

“My role is to support and advocate for undocumented students,” Lopez said. “Our office helps with accessing scholarships, funding for books, for housing, food security… pretty much what every Huskie needs to succeed.” 

Undocumented students can turn to the Undocumented Student Support Office for guidance through legal fees such as DACA, medical support and counseling. 

“The reason I came to NIU initially was because of the amount of resources they offer to their students,” said a junior journalism major. “I think the law is going to make a drastic change now that there is a title given to Sandy as our liaison.” 

The office is located in Campus Life Building, Room 230. Students with any questions can also contact the office at 815-753-2391.