Jack Sann | Mustang News Credit: Jack Sann | Mustang News

Cal Poly announced plans to open a new Latinx Center in the fall quarter of 2022. The grand opening will occur amidst September’s Hispanic Heritage Month and will feature an opening ceremony and celebration.

Hosted in Cal Poly’s Science Building in room E-22, the Latinx Center will be the latest addition to Student Diversity and Belonging (SDAB), a collective of campus resource centers within Student Affairs that support and empower students experiencing marginalization through intersectional advocacy and cultural connections. 

According to the Latinx Student Resource Guide, the center will feature an accessible computer lab, lounge space, culturally relevant workshops and collaborative programming. With these resources, the center aims to offer Latinx students the opportunity to gather and build community while exploring their cultures, histories and traditions. 

“This center will serve as a place for students to build community and lifelong bonds and participate in cultural traditions and learning that expand their personal and professional development,” Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s Vice President for Student affairs said in a recent press release.    

Educational experiences such as Heritage Month programs, panels and speaker series will provide everyone in the Cal Poly community opportunities to learn about the Latinx student experience.

The center will be open to all students, but aims to be an environment that encourages inclusion while highlighting the empowerment of Latinx students specifically. 

“As Cal Poly continues its journey to becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, it is imperative to establish this center so that our Latinx students can feel welcome, have their culture recognized and see Cal Poly as their university, too,” Jamie S. Patton, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion said.

Daisy Paniagua-Uribe, a first-generation Latina graduate with a passion for educational equity, will serve as the center’s coordinator. 

“I honor and appreciate all of the individuals –– students, staff, faculty and community members — who have advocated for the creation of a Latinx Center on campus,” Paniagua-Uribe said. “I am looking forward to a space where we can engage in intentional, intersectional work that celebrates our culturas (cultures), supports and empowers our Latinx students and strengthens our comunidad (community) at Cal Poly.”

While this center is a step in the right direction, Cal Poly’s community of Latinx students continues to only make up 17.4% of the campus’s total population. 

“I am grateful that we’re creating more spaces at Cal Poly that celebrate our culturas; however, it is important to acknowledge that this need has existed for a long time. There has been a collective effort for many years from students and other campus members to empower and support our Latinx-identifying students.” Griselda Elizabeth Medrano, an agribusiness sophomore and Latinx student assistant said.