To educate and advocate for the farmworker industry and its impact on the Rio Grande Valley and the United States, the Association of Migrant Students (AMS) and the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at The University of Texas-Pan American are hosting a variety of activities during National Farmworker Awareness Week, March 18-23.
AMS students distributed information and spoke with interested students Tuesday, March 19 at the Student Union. There also was a forum with AMS, CAMP and United Farmworkers representatives in the Student Union.
AMS members are joining the United Farmworkers for community service projects this spring and have planned to donate books to Migrant Headstart programs. Some also have been selected to participate in the Student Action with Farmworkers Summer Internship, where they will spend 10 weeks with migrant families in North Carolina aiding in medical, legal, educational and advocacy programs.
Each year, between three and five million farmworkers and their families travel all over the United States from their homes to pursue employment in agricultural crops. The multi-billion dollar fruit and vegetable industry is dependent in large part on the labor of migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
According to Student Action with Farmworkers, a North Carolina organization, more than 85 percent of the production of fruits and vegetables in the United States relies on migrant labor. However, more than three-fifths of farmworker households live in poverty, a significant increase from 1990, when only half were in poverty.
AMS promotes post-secondary education among all migrants, recommending any entering UTPA freshman participate in CAMP, which provides tutoring, academic advising, personal counseling, career exploration, housing and a monthly stipend. The goal is to assist students in their transition during the first year of college and in preparation for a bachelor's degree.
For more information, call 956/318-5333.