After over a year of struggles and delays, the CSUDH Asian & Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) finally has a space to call its own. Located on the second floor of Welch Hall, in the offices formerly occupied by Financial Aid, the center is open to all Toro students, although its primary focus is on supporting the success of Asian and Pacific Islander students at the university.
The APCC was established in Fall 2021, in response to student requests for an API-focused resource center. Inaugural program director Nathan Nguyen was hired in October 2021, and spent over a year working with administrators to secure a home for the center.
“When I came on board, I assumed it would maybe take a few months to secure a space, but unfortunately it took longer than anticipated,” says Nguyen. The original space that had been chosen fell through in the summer of 2022. After a few other false starts–and some vocal protesting by students–the space in Welch Hall was decided on.
“We used December and January to paint and get it up and running,” says Nguyen. “That’s what you see now. Most of our furniture is on loan from the library, but we’re putting in an order for new furniture. We’re planning to have our official grand opening sometime in April.”
Nguyen is happy with the space the APCC eventually ended up in. “It’s large enough for programming and social gatherings, but it’s also centralized,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like you have to go all the way across campus, it’s close to the LSU and administrative buildings. A lot of students have expressed that they’re very happy here.”
One of the main reasons Nguyen is glad that the APCC has a physical presence on campus is that it provides students with a chance to build relationships and community organically. “All students, not just API students, need different spaces on campus where they can connect with one another,” he says. “With the APCC open, students are in here having fun, having conversations, watching TV, studying…a lot of random things happen, but those are opportunities for connections that don’t happen if students are just passing each other on the walkways.”
Nguyen is hoping that the APCC’s permanent furniture and fixtures arrive by the end of March, so that everything can be set up during Spring Break, ready to greet students when they return to campus. In addition to social spaces and a study area, the office will be equipped with a refrigerator and microwave so that it can serve as a satellite location for Basic Needs’ work, providing snacks and other basic necessities for students.
The APCC is planning on presenting several events during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, including concerts, dance performances, and a film festival. They are also busy planning for their annual Asian & Pacific Islander Graduation Ceremony, which Nguyen hopes to make larger every year as the CSUDH API community grows.
Nguyen is quick to point out that the APCC is here to serve all students, not just members of the API community. “We’re a student service,” he says. “Many of the students using the space aren’t API, but they’re coming here to learn about our culture, how to support one another, and how to be friends with one another. Our mission is to enhance and support the success of API students, but every Toro student is welcome!”
The CSUDH Asian & Pacific Cultural Center is located in Welch Hall, Room 250, and is open Monday-Thursday from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and on Fridays remotely by appointment.