As a vibrant student center, El Centro Chicano y Latino works to support students academically, personally, socially and culturally. We focus on creating mature, aware and socially responsible individuals who advocate and dialogue for equity and social justice.
Within the Chicano and Latino community there is great diversity of backgrounds, aspirations and sociopolitical views that adds to the richness of our collective experience. El Centro’s programs provide Stanford students the opportunity to explore Chicano and Latino culture, history and traditions, and to use that understanding to work with other ethnic communities in the United States and around the world.
Throughout the 1970s, as the Chicano and Latino student population at Stanford University grew, so did the activities and organizations of this community. The need for a cultural center became apparent, and in May of 1977, the Chicano Cultural Center Committee, composed of faculty, staff and students, proposed that the university “provide MEChA and its offspring organizations with a facility that would accommodate a Cultural and Activities Center.” The university accepted the proposal and allocated funds to renovate the basement of the Nitery, which already housed the Chicano Fellows Program. The center was named “El Centro Chicano de Estanford” at a community meeting and opened its doors to students in late 1978.
During the early years, part-time student staff provided the administrative support to the center. This was followed by the hiring of half-time assistant deans of students/directors. In December of 1989, after a decade of student effort to convince the university of the need for full-time professional staff, the first full-time director and assistant dean of students for El Centro was hired. In the spring of 1993, the first assistant director of El Centro Chicano was hired and the position was promoted to Associate Director In 2005.
Since its establishment, El Centro Chicano has been an integral part of countless students' Stanford experience. Stanford's Chicano/Latino community reflects the diversity of a population that is rapidly becoming the second largest in the United States. As a center of activity for this community, El Centro Chicano provides a home away from home that fosters student personal success.
Click here to view El Centro's visual timeline.
Our Cultural Values
Collaboration and community building:
- We practice open and transparent communication with one another, encourage one another to share our thoughts and opinions in a respectful manner, and strive for clarity of expectations and processes.
- We practice open and active listening with each other.
- We listen to leaders and all members of the community. When we disagree, we engage the processes available to us.
- We welcome all who come through our doors with hospitality.
- We respond to requests for collaboration and community building with generosity as we are able and are clear when we are not able to offer assistance.
- We practice kindness, affirm the goodness in one another and remember our own goodness.
- We empower members of the community and encourage their engagement in cultural, political and artistic activities.
- We encourage each person to recognize their skills and develop their leadership in and outside of our community.
Inclusivity and diversity of our Comunidad:
- We create a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds, cultures, identities, and political/religious affiliations.
- We promote diversity and respect for differences of identity, opinion and self-expression.
- We think broadly about diversity. We encourage students to embrace their uniqueness within the school community and view it as a strength.
- We create space for all members of the community to learn and grow through formal and informal academic, social, cultural, and professional opportunities.
- We acknowledge this is a learning space and each person is on their own journey to unlearn internalized systems of oppression.
Openness and humbleness:
- We strive to be aware of our own implicit biases and do not assume our own beliefs and practices are the “right way.” We acknowledge and view differences as just that: different ways of looking at and being in the world, not problems or flaws to be fixed or eliminated.
- We listen to each other’s stories, we reflect back what we hear. We make an effort to be curious about one another. When we feel safe to do so, we take the opportunity to tell our own stories.
Respect for the dignity of every human being:
- We pledge non-violence.
- We do not engage in physical conflict in this place or against members of our Stanford community.
- Intentional acts of aggression, including threats of violence, physical violence, and/or hate speech, will result in being asked to leave immediately and to take a time out from the community.
- We affirm the Policy of the University on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Assault harassment: sexual violence, including sexual misconduct, sexual assault, sexual harassment, are unacceptable and is not tolerated in our community.
Respect for tradition and cultural heritage:
- We place a high value on preserving and promoting cultural traditions and heritage.
- We respect and celebrate all traditions and cultural heritages, including those who are not directly identified as Chicanx, Latinx, Hispanic.
- We respect El Centro’s space as a substance-free zone.
- We recognize some people in our community have been directly and indirectly harmed by substance use, or suffer from substance addiction, and commit to do our part to keep El Centro a sober space where we can engage safely.