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Posted on: September 17, 2020

Video in Recognition of Welcoming Week

This week (September 12 through 20) the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the Borough of State College are highlighting the value and importance of international students and residents in the community as part of Welcoming America’s Welcoming Week campaign.

On Monday, September 14, State College Mayor Ronald L. Filippelli issued a proclamation declaring Saturday, September 12, through Sunday, September 20, to be Welcoming Week in the Borough of State College. Download a copy of the resolution at http://www.statecollegepa.us/2953/Proclamations

“During Welcoming Week, all residents are invited to join this nationwide movement of communities by renewing their commitment to our core American values and taking action in the spirit of welcoming,” said Mayor Filippelli.

In previous years the Penn State Law Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and the Borough of State College have held events on and off campus where campus and community leaders spoke on various topics around immigration and equity. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year we asked leaders to share their thoughts on the importance and value of international students to the State College and Penn State community.

Featured speakers include:

  • Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Penn State Law, and the Director of the Center for Immigrants’ Right Clinic;
  • Jacob Bies, Student at the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, a second-year Law student at Penn State Law;
  • Ekrem Korkut, Student at the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Master Student at the Penn State School of International Affairs. 

PSU Admissions office. People listed in the video are as follows:

  • Sherri Metcalfe, M.Ed., Assistant Director of International Admissions
  • Dr. Nivedita Nagachar, Admissions Counselor
  • Elizabeth P. Beishline, Admissions Counselor
  • Audrey Bonchack, Associate Director

State College Borough Staff

  • Jesse Barlow, State College President of Council
  • Ronald Filippelli, State College Mayor
  • Kevin Kassab, Community Engagement Manager
  • John Gardner, State College Chief of Police

About the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

Launched in 2008, Penn State Law’s Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (CIRC) is a nationally recognized in-house clinic focused on immigration and directed by its founder Dr. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia.

The CIRC provides law students with hands-on clinical training in immigration law through three pillars: community outreach and education, pro bono legal support, and policy work. For the last six years, the CIRC has worked closely with the Borough of State College on projects that include policy setting and training on immigration for the State College Police Department; drafting resolutions and educating the Borough Council on immigration topics; and collaborating in events to mark Welcoming Week. 

Dr. Wadhia’s teaching goal is for students to gain the skills required to be effective immigration advocates and attorneys. This requires a combined understanding and appreciation for immigration law, policy, and politics, and the relationships between them. Dozens of graduates from the CIRC work as immigration attorneys around the United States. CIRC was honored with the Excellence in Legal Advocacy Award in 2017 by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and named legal organization of the year in 2019 by the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center.

For resources on international students and CIRC’s work in the community, visit: https://pennstatelaw.psu.edu/practice-skills/clinics/center-immigrants-rights-clinic/our-community.

About Welcoming America

A growing number of places recognize that being welcoming leads to prosperity. Welcoming America provides the roadmap and support they need to become more inclusive toward immigrants and all residents.

Launched in 2009, Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with one in eight Americans living in a Welcoming Community. Our award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is beginning to scale globally 

A non-profit, non-partisan organization, Welcoming America is proud to support the many diverse communities and partners who are leading efforts to make their communities more vibrant places for all.

Our communities are changing. Migration and rapid demographic shifts can spark tension and create new challenges, both for newcomers and long-time residents. 

In a 21st century world, the strongest communities will be ones where all people can take part in economic, civic, and social life. These places show it is possible to go beyond fear and even tolerance for a bright future for all.

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