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By Gus Castillo, Sept. 14, 2021

After being closed for a year due to COVID-19, the cultural centers have opened their doors once again for returning and new students, now implementing a few changes and guidelines to promote a safe community. 

The centers have reopened Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. serving the diverse polytechnic community by giving them recognition, promoting their wellness and supporting them. 

“We provide guidance. Any student can come in and ask question regarding housing, the bus pass or food assistance,” stated Kayla Yukie Kosaki, the cultural coordinator for the Asian and Pacific Islander student center. “Our centers are open spaces to hangout and study.” 

To enter these spaces, students must complete CPP’s Daily Health Screener and are urged to stay home if signs of sickness are present. 

Students must sanitize their hands and check in with the provided iPads so the centers can keep track of visitors. 

Masks must be worn in the centers as well as community events. There is a max occupancy to each center, and students should be mindful that the community spaces have a recommended time of three hours per visit. 

When entering the Womxn’s Resource Center, there is a quiet ambiance that promotes conversation or work, a less distracting environment than the one outside. 

There are two rooms: one common room with murals of powerful women such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor with spaciously placed couches, as well as a sunlit computer room with comfortable pillows and chairs. 

Like the Womxn’s Resource Center, every cultural center contains a place to sit and study. 

The rooms of these centers are all decorated with motivational posters or murals that are significant to the cultural community. 

Marjorie Semsem studying at the Asian and Pacific Islander Student Center on campus. | Courtesy of Robert Aceret

Appliances such as microwaves and fridges are accessible to all students in the centers; however, food must be eaten outside of the center and sanitization is required after each use.

“Folks we see in our spaces are returner students. I really hope that new students as well as transfer students stop by. I have a lot of hope that people will find our space,” stated Maria Cerce, coordinator for the Womxn’s Center.

One of the returner students,  Maritza Guizara,  is the front desk person at the Womxn’s Center and an English major. 

“Sophomore year, I was here every day,” said Guizara. “I am not extroverted and do not have a lot of friends, so I felt a sense of belonging here. I always wanted to work here. This was my dream job.” 

Guizara mentioned that 20 students have visited the center in August. 

Many of the center coordinators look forward to welcoming new people into their spaces now that they are open again. Students do not need appointments to visit and are welcome to walk in to any of the cultural centers during their hours. 

If students cannot attend in person, myBar is recommended for students to stay connected and learn about upcoming events. Events are accessible to all Broncos, and the newsletter will help remind students about new events.

For more information on the specific centers visit the CPP Cultural Centers Page within the OSLCC site. 

Reach out to the following center coordinators to ask  questions or seek advice:

– African American Student Center: Teaja Smith teajasmith@cpp.edu

– Asian and Pacific Islander Student Center: Kayla Kosaki kykosaki@cpp.edu

– Cesar E Chavez Center for Higher Education:  Wendy E Córdova wecordova@cpp.edu

– Native American Student Center:  Gretchen Potter grpotter@cpp.edu and Alex Armendariz aarmendariz@cpp.edu

– Pride Center: John R. Buchanan jrbuchanan@cpp.edu

– Womxn’s Resource Center: Maria Cerce mcerce@cpp.edu

Feature image courtesy of Maximus Rodriguez. 

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