New Latinx Cultural Center to open in Hibbard

Open house will be held on Feb. 19 in celebration of the new Latinx cultural space

Jenna Erickson

More stories from Jenna Erickson

Eau Claire eats
April 2, 2020

UW-Eau Claire announced the opening of a new student resource, the Latinx Cultural Center, which is located in Hibbard 801.

According to the UW-Eau Claire website, UW-Eau Claire is excited to announce the opening of a new student resource: a space called the Latinx Cultural Center, located in Hibbard 801, formerly known as the Hibbard Penthouse.

Diana Zarate, the Office of Multicultural Affairs associate student services coordinator, said she has helped bring this project to life, due to students speaking up about the lack of a cultural space.

While Zarate has only held her position on campus for about six months, this project has been in the works for a while, she said. 

“The students were very vocal about wanting a space, being that we already have cultural centers for other demographics,” Zarate said. 

Latin American students have wanted a space where they can feel like themselves — a space where they can fully embrace their culture with their peers, Zarate said. 

“It is very important because they are one of our multicultural groups that is growing rapidly with every year,” she said.

The Latinx Cultural Center is also a space where students and OMA officers can connect with faculty and staff of the Latin American Studies department, she said. 

“We’ll have programming, educational events and even hold events where we’ll partner with the Eau Claire community,” Zarate said. 

From noon to 2 on Feb. 19, students, faculty and staff are invited to check out the center and speak to staff from OMA about the ways in which this new resource can be enjoyed by the entire campus community, the UW-Eau Claire website said.

“We are going to be talking about our intentions for the space, plans for renovation and letting students know that the space is available to them and to come through whenever they are free,” Maria Villa-Rivera, a fourth-year English critical studies student, said.

Villa-Rivera is also the Latina set-planning intern in the OMA and works with LSA, the Latin Student association. 

According to the UW-Eau Claire website, the LSA was created to ensure the success of Latines on and off campus by connecting them to resources, providing culturally relevant events and developing networks of support. 

LSA wants to further develop these networks of support and ensure success of this specific demographic by setting the cultural space apart from Hibbard, Villa-Rivera said. She said they want to create a place where Latin American students can go and feel like they can talk, hangout and be their authentic selves.

“Students should know this university cares enough about them to give them a space where they feel safe, valued and wanted at this campus,” she said.

More details about this cultural center will be coming in a report about the open house, but OMA is proud to announce this opportunity to gather and celebrate the opening of this highly anticipated space for students, according to the UW-Eau Claire website. 

Erickson can be reached at [email protected]