Jennifer Crewalk, who will begin serving as Georgetown’s new associate director for undocumented students on Feb. 10, says maintaining a supportive community on campus is key to the success and well-being of our students.
“Building a conscious community can educate and move people toward awareness of their own privilege,” says Crewalk, who will serve the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) as well as work as director of group initiatives in the university’s Division of Student Affairs. “When people acknowledge their own privileges, they can better advocate for others. I’ve seen conscious community-building workshops shift student leadership from ‘doing for’ undocumented communities to ‘doing with’ our undocumented communities.”
The diversity equity and inclusion expert joins the Georgetown community after 10 years of working with undocumented and first-generation college students as assistant director of Latinx student affairs and undocumented student support at George Mason University.
Environment of Support
Crewalk is also completing her doctoral work in educational psychology at George Mason, where she is researching the risk, resilience and resistance associated with being a trainer of undocumented student allies in educational spaces.
Georgetown provides Undocumented Student Resources to ensure the dignity and care of all members of the university community. It also has joined numerous colleges and universities in filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and convened conversations around protecting undocumented students on university campuses.
“We’re glad to continue the university’s commitment to creating an environment of support for students regardless of their immigration status,” says Charlene Brown-McKenzie, director of CMEA. “Jennifer brings a wealth of experiences that will further bolster support for undocumented students across Georgetown’s campuses.”
Crewalk earned her master’s degree in intercultural communications from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University.
She served as co-director of Casa Hispánica, a learning-living community with the goals of Spanish language immersion and cultural exposure, as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania.
Crewalk has found ways to incorporate her interests in meditation, yoga and somatic workshops into her work with student communities. One of eight siblings of Costa Rican, Hungarian and Irish heritage, she says family along with holistic health grounds her advocacy and inspires her racial and social justice work with students.
“Our undocumented students are the freedom fighters of this moment and time, and they are helping to awaken people to how important it is for our communities to be conscious,” Crewalk says. “I’m looking forward to focusing on the present needs of our students, but also all of us being visionaries for what is possible for the near future.”