By Andrea Tam
Cultural center “El Centro Chicano” has expanded its name to “El Centro Chicano y Latino” to better represent the increasingly diversified demographics of Stanford’s Chicano and Latino student population.
The Guiding Concilio, El Centro’s advisory board, developed and submitted the proposal for the name change. The decision to expand El Centro’s name stemmed from Guiding Concilio’s initiative but was also brought about by a student town hall meeting and results from anonymous student surveys conducted in the spring quarters of 2010, 2011 and 2012. The professional staff settled on “El Centro Chicano y Latino” and announced its decision in April earlier this year.
The new name was chosen mainly for two reasons. Firstly, it recognizes the importance of the Chicano student movement for educational inclusion and diversity of the late 1960s and ’70s and secondly, it better encompasses the diversity of the student community, which has experienced significant change in its demographic breakdown over the years since El Centro was first founded in 1978.
According to history professor Albert Camarillo, who has been involved with El Centro for many years, the center was almost exclusively Chicano-based when it was established. An overwhelming majority of Latino population was Mexican at the time, but there have since been growing numbers of Latino students and students of Hispanic heritage, in addition to Mexican-American students.
“El Centro has over 25 affiliated volunteer undergraduate and graduate student organizations with various student memberships but our constituencies include staff, faculty, alumni and local community members who all call Centro their home,” said Elvira Prieto ’96, associate director of El Centro.
This name change is one of many developments that have occurred in recent years to reach out and appeal to all of the University’s Chicano and Latino students, which also includes having renovated its space and broadening academic, cultural, leadership and wellness programs offered to students.
El Centro will host a special celebration this month to formally acknowledge the adoption of the name “El Centro Chicano y Latino.”
Contact Andrea Tam at andreatam ‘dot’ 2497 ‘at’ gmail ‘dot’ com.