The LatinX Center, created to provide support and inclusion to Latino students and others, opened its doors on Feb. 27 as the latest affinity center of the Cal State San Bernardino Santos Manuel Student Union Cross Cultural Center.
“Today marks an exciting day for CSUSB, the Division of Student Affairs, the San Bernardino community, the Inland Empire region and for the students that we serve,” said Brian Haynes, CSUSB vice president of student affairs. “We are here today to celebrate the opening of the LatinX Center, where CSUSB Latino, Latina and LatinX students, their allies and supporters can congregate, exchange ideas and provide support to one another.”
The center’s grand opening was held on the second floor of the Santos Manuel Student Union, in front of room 202, the location of the new affinity centers. With an approximate 60 percent Latino population on campus, the center will act as a hub for the Latino community on campus.
Haynes congratulated the students that make up the LatinX planning committee for their hard work, dedication and determination.
“I remember the first meeting we had. Thank you so much for stepping up and saying we need a LatinX Center here at CSUSB,” Haynes said. “As I’ve said before, long overdue.”
CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales echoed Haynes comments.
“I’m truly inspired by our students. That’s what gets me up every morning to come here,” said Morales, adding that the university’s Latino population has soared over the years.
“CSUSB is recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution, in fact we are the 16th largest in the United States and the second largest in California, with 60 percent of our student population self-identifying as Hispanic Latino,” Morales said. “Within that group there is an incredible array of identities with their own proud cultures and traditions. And in this group in our campus we’re very proud that we in fact represent the Latino diaspora.
“At CSUSB, we recognize the value of higher education and the positive affect it has on individuals, families and the greater community. We also know there are many barriers that must be dealt with to help historically underrepresented students realize those benefits,” Morales said. “The establishment of the LatinX Center allows us to reaffirm our commitment to diversity. We believe inclusivity makes us a robust, productive and dynamic university which embodies a culture embracing engaged learning and respecting diverse perspectives.”
Diana Hernandez Aguilar, founding committee member and SMSU Board of Directors chair, said the center was needed.
“Having grown up in a school system that teaches you the very least about your culture, it is with great honor to open the LatinX Center on campus, where we can learn about different Latino cultures and express our multifaceted identities,” Aguilar said.
Mike Mejia, the founding committee chair and organizer, said the committee wanted to “create a welcoming environment that provides resources and information for everyone on campus and within the community. It is our hope that, through collaboration with the rest of the affinity centers and Cross Cultural Center, we will be able to create healthy dialogue and learn how to embrace each other’s cultures, beliefs, and views.”
Funded by the SMSU, the center will offer students peer-to-peer advising and tutoring, internship resources, and scholarships. The center will operate under the leadership of SMSU associate director, programs and communication, Rosemary Zometa. Plans to hiring a designated affinity center coordinator and student assistants are in the works.
“The creation of our affinity centers LatinX, Pan-African, and First Peoples are a symbol of how CSUSB embraces diversity and is inclusive of all cultures,” Zometa said. “I have been honored to work with a dynamic group of students that understand the importance of building a sense of community. In addition, I would like to thank President Morales and Vice President Haynes for their leadership, support, and endorsement of the creation of our affinity centers.”
For more information regarding the event or the LatinX Center, contact Rosemary Zometa at (909) 537-3241 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org