SJSU Opens the Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center
By Linda Castillo
On February 5, 2018, the SJSU Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center (CLSSC) hosted a Spring Welcome event for students. The new Student Success Center that opened its doors in January 2018 is available to help students navigate the college experience at San Jose State University. It’s primary charge: student success. With a population of 26% Latino students at SJSU, the success center is committed and dedicated to retaining, empowering, and graduating Chicanx/Latinx students at San Jose State University.
Lilly Pinedo Gangai is the SJSU Chicanx/Latinx Student Success Center’s Program Director, leading the development of culturally relevant academic programs and services that support student success.
“The idea is that the center will be a welcoming and safe space for students – a home away from home – a sense of community at San Jose State,” said Lilly.
The center’s vision is aligned with the university’s goals of educational equity and closing the achievement gap between Underrepresented Minority Students (URM) and non-URM students on campus. Students will have access to committed and engaged faculty and staff. The CLSSC has appointed two faculty fellows: Dr. Marcos Pizarro, Mexican American Studies, and Dr. Vanessa Fernandez, World Languages and Literature who will develop educational programs that will provide opportunities for intellectual growth, identity development, empowerment skills, leadership development, and engagement of High-Impact Practices. Five Student Success Interns (SSIs) are also assigned to support the center’s efforts: Floriberta Sario, a sophomore intending a Business major; Erick Macias-Chavez, a Junior majoring in Sociology with a concentration in race and ethnicity; Paola Quintanilla, a sophomore majoring in Social Work with a minor in Mexican American Studies; Janely Cerda, a graduating Senior majoring in Psychology; and Ana Ferretiz, a graduating Senior majoring in Kinesiology. The SSI’s provide program support, work on special projects, provide mentoring and guidance to help their peers navigate SJSU, and publicize the CLSSC events via social media.
“We are looking at providing a leadership retreat in the Fall and then of course offering social and cultural events bringing the community together to help celebrate their cultura and heritage. As well as supporting the Chicanx/Latinx student organizations that already exist on the campus so that they know they have a support center here if they need additional support with their endeavors,” explained Lilly.
Another aspect of the center is to strengthen on-campus and off-campus partnerships including bridging the connection with current students to alumni. In the future, the center will facilitate mentorship opportunities for the students with SJSU alumni.
Developing the center was a huge undertaking with over 40 members actively involved from across the campus including administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community leaders. Student voices were a critical part in shaping and providing a foundation to address student’s needs for the Chicanx/Latinx Success Center. Associated Students Director of Intercultural Affairs, Hector Perea, and Director of External Affairs, Zhané Gay were instrumental in articulating resolutions in support of the center.
“I wanted to thank the work of Adelante! Chicanx/ Latinx Student Success Task Force for their time, commitment, and leadership in creating a strong and engaged Chicanx/Latinx student success community at San Jose State University over the past three years. A special thank you to the leadership of the Adelante Task Force Co-chairs: Itza Sanchez and Marcos Pizarro,” noted Lilly.
There will be a soft opening on April 18.
Stay tuned for the Grand opening in the fall semester, 2018.