Two New Cultural Resource Centers Established on Campus
CSUDH welcomes the Latinx Cultural Resource Center and the Asian and Pacific Cultural Center to campus.
Responding to calls from students, CSUDH has added a pair of new campus affinity centers: the Latinx Cultural Resource Center (LCRC) and the Asian and Pacific Cultural Center (APCC). They join other centers, such as the Rose Black Resource Center and the Queer Culture & Resource Center.
“We’re here to build community, hear the needs of our students, and connect with them,” says the LCRC’s interim program director, Rony Castellanos Raymundo.
Chicano/a studies major Janneth Najera was a driving force behind the push to establish a Latinx Center on campus, working with faculty, staff, and community members to help the center come to life. Her commute from the Burbank area to Carson made it hard for her to connect with other students.
“It was difficult because there wasn’t a central point for us to meet,” she says. “DH is over 60 percent Latinx, so there’s a lot of us, but everybody’s going about their own business. Connecting with other students was hard.”
Since moving into their temporary home in Loker Student Union, the LCRC has been focused on programming and events. Their first big event was a two-day Día de los Muertos celebration held on campus at the start of November. The event’s success despite COVID-19 protocols inspired Castellanos, who says, “Our hope is to develop a series of signature events that will become traditions here at CSUDH.”
“Establishing these long-awaited cultural centers further demonstrates our university’s commitment to inclusive excellence,” says Megan Tagle Adams, director of the Women+s and Multicultural Resource Centers. “It’s essential to dedicate space, staff, and resources for supporting the success of our students of color.”
The APCC got off the ground a few months after the establishment of the LCRC, but is quickly ramping up its efforts. Nathan Nguyen, director of the APCC, hopes the center has its own physical space on campus soon, but in the meantime, he is planning what the space will look like and become.
“My primary focus right now is just developing our mission, learning outcomes, a vision for the center, and then securing a physical space,” he says.
For Nguyen, it’s important that the APCC becomes a “home away from home” for Asian American and Pacific Islander students. “That’s why getting a physical space is so important,” he says. “It’s really important to have a place where students can gather, hang out, do activities together, and learn about themselves, their identities, and their histories.”
In addition to providing a space for community building, Nguyen believes that the educational component of the affinity centers is vital. “I want students to really discover and grow in their own identities. I want to give students access to resources so they can learn more about themselves, and also look at issues that impact our communities, and how we can advocate for and address those issues.”
“Nathan has already been connecting with students and planning events for spring semester,” says Tagle Adams. “I’m excited to see how the APCC improves the visibility of our Asian/Pacific Islander campus community.”
“It’s important to show students that there are faculty and staff who look like us, have similar backgrounds and experiences, that have been through the process and have successfully accomplished the goals that we’re striving for,” adds Najera. “The LCRC will be a space where we can do that, with resources and tools to help us overcome those challenges as first-generation students, or as minority students in an institution that can take a lot of maneuvering through.”
“I think that identity work and cultural work is really important to our students’ college journey,” says Castellanos Raymundo. “A lot of it has to do with a sense of belonging. Due to their work schedules or their commute, some students will just attend classes and go home. But if they feel that they belong, they take more pride in what they’re doing. It’s so important for students to feel seen, to feel connected, and to feel that they’re part of something larger.”