The Humboldt State Multicultural Center has been supporting students for years, but its days in Balabanis House are numbered
Humboldt State’s Multicultural Center celebrated its 25th year of existence with a open house Monday, amid growing concerns from regulars about the future of the building itself, and the programs and resources found within. The center has been suffering from budget cuts and quick leadership turnover, and resides in one of several old buildings on campus slated to be demolished.
The MCC was founded in 1994, and serves as a hub for student activists and a home-away-from-home for many students. The house has tons of resources for students, including free printing up to 10 pages, a full kitchen with microwave and refrigerator, a prayer room, and several quiet spaces where students can work. Colorful murals, posters and couches galore create a warm, friendly vibe.
They don’t help us…we’re underfunded.
Frank Herrera officially assumed the role of MCC Coordinator 12 days before the open house, and describes his position as a mentor to the students employed to work at the MCC. The MCC had been shuffling through interns and temporary hires for about two and a half years before settling on Herrera for their coordinator position.
“It’s all about helping the student employees manage everything, become leaders and have them look at ways of doing things and point out things that we haven’t done yet…I’m just part of the team,” Herrera said.
Herrera thinks that employing students is important, and the work they do at the MCC provides valuable learning experience.
“I would have loved to do that when I was younger. It would’ve helped me today,” Herrera said.
Unfortunately, the future of the MCC in its current state is in jeopardy. Deema Hindawi is a co-coordinator of the yearly Social Justice Summit, and said the center suffers from underfunding, and is located in one of the buildings currently slated to be demolished.
“HSU tokenizes this house a lot. They don’t help us, we’re underfunded, and they took a very long time to find us a new coordinator,” Hindawi said. “We lose power in half the building if you use the microwave and the toaster oven at the same time. We also have really bad asbestos in the basement.”
Relocation would mean a drastic loss in volume of the programs and resources offered by the MCC. The building as it currently stands is expansive, with a meeting room, multiple offices, study rooms, a prayer room, a woman’s resource center, an expansive foyer and front desk area, a full kitchen and two gender-neutral bathrooms. Trying to cram all that into a single room would be an exercise in futility, and valuable programs would have to be cut. And, the number of students employed to work in the building would be cut drastically.
Daniel Segura is a regular who’s been coming to the center for the past year, and said he wishes he found out about it sooner. As his friend Rahkiv Lewis strummed an acoustic guitar, Segura said there aren’t any places on campus like this building.
“It deserves so much more,” Segura said. “This place has helped me gain a part of myself back that I felt I had lost living in this community. I think places like this center, the LatinX center and the African-American center for Academic Success are important, but I am worried about the future of these places.”
During the open house, students filtered in and out, grabbing food and chatting with other visitors or working on assignments. Music was playing and the energy in the house was positive and warm. The center’s future may be shaky, but the resolve of students who have made the house their home will ensure that no lack of funds or relocation will crush their spirit.
The MCC is open Monday through Thursday from 10-6 p.m. and Friday from 10-5 p.m. They’re located south of the library, in Balabanis house and will be throwing a 25th Anniversary Gala on April 25, in the Kate Buchanan Room.