Students from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan have created a collaborative project for undocumented students and DACA beneficiaries to tell their experience through "cartoneras".
The cartoneras are independent editorial publications popularized a few decades ago in Latin America and consist of the publication of books through artisanal techniques and as its name says, its base is made of cardboard. At GVSU they have their own cardboard box project, which seeks to offer an alternative space for undocumented students to express themselves.
Cartonera Collection, as the project is called, seeks to provide a space for immigrant students to tell their experiences without fear of being singled out or persecuted for their immigration status. “They want to go unnoticed on purpose, so this is a way to be heard without their information being available,” explained Thalia Guerra, coordinator for Laker Familia and DACA/advocate for undocumented students.
Guerra explained that this type of initiative will give his colleagues an opportunity to tell their story and where they come from. In addition, it will allow the rest of the students to learn about other cultures that are represented on campus.
The cardboard boxes made by the students will be exhibited in the Mary Idema Pew Library on the GVSU campus. On April 14, the first reception of cardboard boxes was held, which will be preserved physically and digitally so that students can continue reading them even after the exhibition.