After two years since the Multicultural Center lost its coordinator and number of interims have come and gone, students and faculty can look forward to working along-side a new permanent hire.
Francisco Herrera joined Humboldt State University on Jan. 17. As the new coordinator of the MCC, Herrera wants to bring more cultural, environmental and sustainability awareness to campus. As well as work on social justice, and motivate students and staff to push these aspects in positive directions. “[One of my goals is] supporting each and every single person here that needs support and doesn’t feel like their voice is being heard,” Herrera said. “At the MCC and on campus.”
The last MCC coordinator, Amy Salinas Westmoreland, left HSU in 2016 and since then have been three interims and one temporary staff person overseeing the MCC (see our April 2018 for more info on the MCC search), according to HSU staff. Herrera graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and obtained his masters’ with an emphasis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the University of San Diego.
I’m really grateful to be here. It feels like a big family,” Herrera said. “The people here are very supportive. I mean, it’s amazing how everyone is socially connected.” — Francisco Herrera
“When I left high school I was still unable to read beyond the third-grade level so it was tough. The educational experience was difficult,” Herrera said. “My mom was also illiterate. I was considered semi-literate. My dad didn’t finish high school until later, really couldn’t write either.” After graduating from high school, the Accessibility Resource Center at Grossmont College evaluated him as semi-illiterate for having a third-grade reading and writing level.
“I think you realize later that wow you learn a lot even without formal education,” Herrera said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re not smart, just means that you have different skills.”
Even though Herrera failed most of his classes in the 10 years that he attended Cuyamaca College and Grossmont Community College, with the help and resources from the Accessibility Resource Center, he gained skills to succeed in the academic environment. While working at an English tutoring program at Cuyamaca College, Herrera helped many students, including refugees from Iraq and undocumented immigrants from Mexico. He was also involved in the International Rescue Committee, which helps people around the world whose lives are found in a humanitarian crisis.
Herrera said he has enjoyed his first weeks at HSU, as it no longer takes him an hour to drive home from work, compared to the San Diego traffic.
“I’m really grateful to be here. It feels like a big family,” Herrera said. “The people here are very supportive. I mean, it’s amazing how everyone is socially connected.”