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San Diego State University Imperial Valley hosts first ever binational graduation in Mexicali

Students with families in Mexico were able to share their special accomplishment with their loved ones who can't cross the border.

MEXICALI, Mexico (KYMA, KECY) - The Cross-Cultural Center at San Diego State University (SDSU) - Imperial Valley hosted a commencement "Building Bridges Graduation 2022" in Mexicali that no other higher education institution has done for their students with family on the other side of the border.

This historic ceremony happened on Saturday May 14th at Casa de la Cultura in Mexicali and is dedicated to building bridges between the U.S. and Mexico border.

SDSU said the purpose of this ceremony was to provide graduates, whose family members cannot cross the border, the full experience of celebrating together the accomplishment of their academic achievement.

One organizer of this special ceremony, Dr. Vannessa Falcón Orta, Faculty Director of the Cross-Cultural Center, said this was a rigorous process but worth it to see how it impacted the students.

"Noting and emphasizing how the reason why they were able to be in a graduation is because of the support of their family, the support of their parents, throughout their academic trajectories. And then finally to get to celebrate that with them in this graduation that really if it weren't for this graduation, they wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity or the space to do so. It was beyond heartwarming, it was very powerful and they were very proud," said Orta.

Orta explained that the process took time, especially going to and from Mexico to make sure everything would run smoothly.

"There were a lot of times where we were crossing back and forth and that's not easy. Professor Gilberto Reyes and I at times, whether it be meeting with vendors or doing walk throughs at Casa de la Cultura and then even Mother's Day, there was a long line to get back. We almost thought we weren't going to make it back. We were back on campus at like 11 p.m. That's how hard the work it really took to make this happen," said Orta.

She gives a lot of credit to Professor Gilberto Reyes and Associated Students who was of immense support for this project.

42 students from SDSU Imperial Valley participated in the binational graduation.

Orta says funding is a huge factor in this project but plans to continue commencements on both sides of the border.

"To be able to do something like this, support is needed both at the grass root level which was very evident visually just there but also top down support is also needed. So how do we make this happen? It needs to be a long lasting initiative. I truly believe and trust here at SDSU Imperial Valley, we can continue to implement this graduation in years to come," said Orta.

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Vanessa Gongora

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Adonis Albright

Adonis Albright first found his passion in local news as a production assistant in San Diego after getting his Bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University.

If you have a great story idea, you can reach him at adonis.albright@kecytv.com.

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