Cultural Centers celebrate 25th anniversary

The cultural centers’ 25th-anniversary celebration began on Sept. 25 and will continue throughout the semester. The centers are honoring their roots through a virtual campaign and a podcast, highlighting the experiences of community members throughout the years.

The virtual campaign was curated to educate the campus community on the history of the centers and spotlight their achievements. Inspired by the Cesar E. Chavez Center for Higher Education’s podcast, the Office of Student Life and Cultural Center coordinator Anita Roberts teamed up with Cesar Chavez Center coordinator Wendy Cordova to launch a podcast that focuses on “tracing our roots.”

“The podcast is storytelling with folks talking to someone from a center’s past, someone who had a presence in the cultural centers through the years,” Roberts said. “It could be the original coordinator of the center or a student involved in the centers. We are hearing stories of their experiences over those 25 years.”

Prior to the pandemic, the celebration committee planned to host an anniversary gala to be held on Sept. 25. The committee, like many others, was forced to reimagine their plans and come up with a creative way to virtually celebrate the cultural centers.

The cultural centers were established in 1995 after Black, Latino and Asian and Pacific Islander students formed a coalition in the early 90s to organize an inclusive space. Though Cal Poly Pomona started as an all-white, all-male school, the student body recognized the need of creating a center for students of color as the population diversified. Today, the cultural centers act as a home to many students.

The cultural centers are celebrating their 25th anniversary launching a podcast this year. (Maya Aceytuno | The Poly Post)

According to OSLCC Interim Senior Coordinator Tashiana Bryant, the centers create a sense of belonging for students and educates the campus on the culture, history and practices of these communities.

“It is a physical space for everyone to learn, find community and find resources,” Bryant said. “The centers stay afloat on the challenges that impact the experiences of the students, while also sharing what influences these communities to get to graduation and beyond.”

For 25 years, the cultural centers have been creating programs and resources that work toward social justice and equality.

“These centers are more than social spaces,” said African American Student Center community member Dymond Walker, a third-year communication student. “These centers fight for the students’ rights to not only just be on campus but to be on campus and feel okay being on campus.”

Walker encourages students to get involved with the centers, even if they must step out of their comfort zones to do so.

“People might come into the centers and feel intimidated because some people have known each other for so long, but the centers are not cliques,” Walker said. “The centers back each other in ways that people will never understand. It is a family dynamic between all the centers.  It is a whole other world of Cal Poly that not many people get to see.”

To learn more about cultural centers or to listen to the podcast, visit its website at https://www.cpp.edu/oslcc/celebration.shtml.

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