La Comunidad is Finally Coming to HSU’s Dorms Next Fall

“This is great, the dynamics of HSU are changing,” Xochitl Cabrera, who works at the Latinx Center for Academic Excellence, also known as El Centro said. “The school is an HSI and it’s only fair that the school provides more resources for Latinx students.”

Themed Housing at HSU

El Centro is working with the Housing and Residence Life to provide housing for those who identify as Latinx. The Latinx housing has been a topic of conversation since the Sankofa House opened in the fall of 2016.

“Humboldt County is predominantly white, so it’s nice knowing there will be a space where incoming Latinx students are going to find a community of their own. It’s going to be comforting,” Cabrera said.

Themed housing is a part of Humboldt State’s housing services. Housing and Residence Life offers a variety of themed housing for students dorming on campus that include Academic Intensive Living, Rainbow community, and the Sankofa House.

Steve St. Onge, the director of Housing and Residence Life, said that it has taken Housing and Residence Life a while to sit down and start planning the Latinx housing due to a staffing turnover at El Centro.

“We’ve wanted to the same thing we did with the Sankofa House with the Latinx center but there were staff transitions in the cultural centers,” St. Onge said. “We are working now with Fernando Paz, the new coordinator, to provide the housing for students next fall.”

“We’ve wanted to the same thing we did with the Sankofa House with the Latinx center but there were staff transitions in the cultural centers,” St. Onge said. “We are working now with Fernando Paz, the new coordinator, to provide the housing for students next fall.”

The Team behind La Comunidad 

St. Onge said he was excited about the partnership between Housing and Residence Life and El Centro. In order to provide a Latinx themed housing, El Centro needs to create a program for the house.

Fernando Paz started working on creating Latinx housing when he officially became the coordinator last April.

“It was too late then to provide the Latinx Housing for the fall semester of 2017,” Paz said. “But we began working on the project right away.”

El Centro sent out a survey in October to see how many students were interested in Latinx housing. 70 percent of students want Latinx housing.

“In the survey, we asked what would we want to call the house and ‘La Comunidad’ was very popular,” Paz said.

La Comunidad will be a living- learning based community as part of their program. Paz is collaborating with the Critical Race and Gender Studies department’s Barbara Curiel to connect the Chican@/Latin@ Lives curriculum with La Comunidad.

Paz, along with the help of Abdel Amador and Hernan Rico, Residence Life Coordinators are currently drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for La Comunidad. An MOU is an agreement between Housing and Residence Life, El Centro and the CRGS department.

“The LCAE would work as a facilitator between the CRGS department and Housing and Residence Life to create a curriculum that would answer the question of identity, culture, principles and values for students,” Paz said.

“The LCAE would work as a facilitator between the CRGS department and Housing and Residence Life to create a curriculum that would answer the question of identity, culture, principles and values for students,” Paz said.

The Need for Latinx Housing

Paz and Curiel would really like to spotlight the crisis on campus of males of color retention rates at HSU, especially for Latino males.

“We’re seeing that HSU is losing males of color right after their first semester. They’re not graduating at the rate that we would like them to,” Paz said. “We’re hoping that La Comunidad would be an initiative to help solve this crisis.”

La Comunidad living-learning community would be housed in the Canyon dorms and provide spaces for 50 students in their freshman and sophomore year. Priority will go to students in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the application will be opening soon for freshman and sophomores to apply.

“There’s a dominant narrative within academia where students of color are pathologically in need, intellectually inferior and academically inept that still exists,” Paz said. “We want to disrupt that narrative to continue the legacy of students of color that have dismantled that narrative and that’s what we hope to do with La Comunidad.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.