City College expands resources at ¡SUBIR! Cultural Center

A new counselor was hired this semester and more hires will be coming soon.


Noel Antonio Puga (right) and Lilian Garcia (left) are available to whomever needs help. By: Jonny Rico/City Times

Jonny Rico, Editor-in-Chief

The regular pressures of higher education are sometimes doubled for low-income students and/or students from immigrant families. But San Diego City College is looking to address those pressures that might prevent some students from succeeding.

New resources are starting to become available at City College for “Dreamer” students, DACA recipients and hispanic students.

“The uncertainty of not knowing if you can attend college or if you can afford to transfer,” is what Noel Antonio Puga says is one of the biggest challenges that a student from an immigrant family faces.

Puga is a former San Diego City College undocumented student. He was recently hired to the position of adjunct counselor and will be working in the ¡SUBIR! Cultural Center.

“My main job is to do academic counseling,” Puga said. “(I’ll be) supporting students with any academic needs they need help with. This includes (help with) transfering, associates degrees, and certificates.

“But I’ll also be connecting students with resources and raising awareness about the undocumented student experience here at City College.”

Puga added he is also there to offer students someone to hear their concerns, worries and anxieties.

“Sometimes a DACA student, who has received legal permission to work and social security number, is the main provider for the family. And they have to balance that responsibility with the pressure of doing good in school.”

Puga’s job position was made available thanks to the Title V grant that the college received from the U.S. Department of Education which designated the school as a Hispanic Serving Institute.  

The grant also provided the funds to open the ¡SUBIR! Cultural Center, which is located in room AH-200A. The center made its grand opening during the Fall 2018 semester and is now expanding its services during the Spring 2019 semester.

Lilian Garcia, City College’s Title V project manager says the counselor position which Puga has is only the start.

“They (the college and the district) are very supportive,” Garcia said. “They’re writing for this grant is how we have the funds for Noel’s position and we’re going to be hiring peer-mentors, we’re going to have an undocumented student conference and also legal services.”

According to Garcia, the ¡SUBIR! Cultural Center will be able to connect not only students, but their families as well, with immigration lawyers.

Both Garcia and Puga emphasized that they are there to help City College students and their families as well.