UCI

Cross-Cultural Center
History
 
The Cross Cultural Center (CCC) was founded on October 16, 1974 by a core group of concerned UCI faculty, staff, and students. Since opening its doors, the center has embarked upon a series of programs, activities, and services to assist the university in supporting the personal, social, cultural, and academic needs of UCI's diverse students.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Cross-Cultural Center (CCC) is to provide opportunities for UCI students to affirm their cultural identities, develop their leadership skills, learn about UCI's various multicultural communities, and take active approaches in creating a socially just campus community. We strive to create and maintain meaningful dialogues and interactive programs across and between all cultures, particularly those of underrepresented, underserved, and underprivileged backgrounds. We provide a network of support for our diverse students in order to enhance their personal, social, cultural, and academic wellbeing, and promote an environment that encourages intellectual exchange, civility, and the responsible exercise of individual expression.

Vision

As the first multicultural center at the University of California and a model for other centers across the country, UCI's Cross- Cultural Center will continue to contribute to the retention and marticulation of students and to the development of socially responsible individuals prepared to lead in the 21st Century. Through its programs and resources, the Cross-Cultural Center will anticipate and respond to the needs of a diverse and changing student body.

Our History

The Cross-Cultural Center (CCC) was founded on October 16, 1974, by a group of concerned UCI faculty, staff, and students who recognized the need for creating a social-cultural support system for ethnic minority students. The CCC was the first multicultural center at a campus of the University of California. The stated purpose of the Center was "to create Third World interaction, student outreach, and provide necessary information to the minority community on campus." The first director was Dr. Larry Onoda, a psychologist from the Counseling Center. The CCC was housed in an 1,800 square foot temporary building located across Ring Mall from the School of Humanities. The original facility consisted of a reception area, a director's office, several student offices, and a conference room separated from the reception area by an accordion-style partition.

The original CCC building

Under the direction of one full time staff, and in partnership with students, faculty, and staff, the 'Cross,' as it affectionately came to be known, embarked upon a series of programs, activities, and services support the emerging needs of UCI's growing underrepresented student population.

In 1976, the Cross-Cultural Center dedicated the first of several murals that would become synonymous with the facility. The first mural, designed and painted by UCI students, was developed under the direction of Manuel Hernandez, a visiting lecturer in Studio Art. It depicts prominent historical figures who were voices for equality and justice. It also portrays significant events in the annals of California's minority communities.

Another date important in the history of the Cross-Cultural Center was the creation of the annual Rainbow Festival. Established in 1984, the Rainbow Festival has become a tradition at UCI and has served as a multicultural program model for other colleges and universities. Occurring in the fall, the Rainbow Festival is a celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity that offers speakers, workshops, and a cultural fair for the entire University community. The theme of UCI's first Rainbow Festival was Many Faces, Many Dreams.

Changing demographics and campus growth necessitated the expansion and relocation of the Cross-Cultural Center. After considerable campus debate about the siting of the new Center, it was determined that the new Cross-Cultural Center would be located on Ring Mall across from the Administration Building. On April 18, 1989, the "new" Cross-Cultural Center opened its doors to the UCI Community. The present facility is 3,400 square feet, and consists of a lounge, administrative offices, student offices, small library, student workroom, and two conference rooms divided by a moveable partition. The original mural, dedicated in 1976, was moved to the new facility and is prominently displayed in the lounge. In 1993, a mural conceived by the well-known muralist, Judy Baca, was installed in the 'Cross' conference room. Commissioned by the National Institute of Mental Health for the National Conference on Refugee Services, and undertaken as a mural class project by UCI students, this mural depicts the silent suffering of Asian/Vietnamese and Latino/Central American refugee communities.

In the spring of 1991, concerned student organizations within the Cross-Cultural Center established the Ethnic Students Coalition Against Prejudicial Education (E.S.C.A.P.E.). The goal of E.S.C.A.P.E. was to push for the implementation of ethnic studies programs at UCI. All of the student umbrella organizations unified in this effort, and they sponsored several major rallies to generate campus support. In 1993, Asian American students held a 35-day rotational hunger strike in an effort to secure more faculty for the Asian American studies program as well as an additional staff member for the Cross-Cultural Center. This extended, but peaceful, protest received considerable media attention and galvanized the Asian American community.

In July 1999, Corina Espinoza departed UCI for a position at California State University, Bakersfield. Corina had served fifteen years in various staff positions in the CCC, nine as Director. After serving as Acting Director, Anna K. Gonzalez became Director of the Cross-Cultural Center in 2000. In 2008, Anna departed UCI for a position as Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Director of the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kevin Huie now serves as the Director of the Cross-Cultural Center.

There are now five student umbrella organizations recognized by the Cross-Cultural Center; Afrikan Student Union (ASU), Alyansa ng mga Kababayan, American Indian Student Association (AISA), Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA), and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). The number of individual organizations under these five umbrellas is in excess of 50. As it has since its establishment in 1974, the CCC continues to provide many students a home away from home. And, for many, it remains a "safe harbor" from which students may launch their involvement in a myriad of campus programs and leadership opportunities.

In response to the growth of underrepresented populations and the overall diversity of the campus, the 'Cross' has evolved and expanded its programming to address the issues and perspectives relative to these changes. At its core, the CCC endeavors to promote the education and celebration of a "multicultural sensibility" as we enter the next millenium.


Student Affairs Cross-Cultural Center
UC Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-5075
Ph: 949-824-7215
Fax: 949-824-3056
Office of the Dean of Students