El Camino College Opens New Black Student Success Center
A new Black Student Success Center opened at El Camino College on April 26, bringing a safe space to the Torrance-area campus that promotes the personal, professional, and academic development of students who identify as Black or African American. A grand opening event showcased the new center and featured support services available at El Camino, along with refreshments and an art exhibit created by the student artists-in-residence.
The Black Student Success Center is the result of determined advocacy work initiated by leaders from the college’s Black Student Union and other members of the Associated Students Organization. These students have been an integral part of the process, from creating a mission statement to cultivating the space that became the Black Student Success Center.
The mission statement notes that the purpose of the Black Student Success Center is to acknowledge the educational barriers within the African American community and commit to expanding sustainable resources, while creating a place of refuge for students to express themselves and succeed. Student Success Coordinator Keiana Daniel said that involvement from the students ensures the Black Student Success Center is more than its mission - it’s a movement.
“Feeling seen, feeling as though their lives matter is a vital foundation for increasing Black student retention, engagement, and success,” said Daniel, who is also a co-adviser to the Black Student Union. “This center helps us achieve this.”
The Black Student Success Center is one of the many branches of equitable support developed through the college’s Student Equity and Achievement program, which is committed to assuring student equity in all of its educational programs and services so that all students can succeed academically.
“The Black Student Success Center is an open community. I feel very welcomed here and that I can talk to people freely,” said Victoria Crudup, Black Student Success Center artist-in-residence and secretary of Black Student Union. “I think it’s a great place to have freedom of expression; no one is shunned for their beliefs or their views, or feel like they have to silence themselves.”
Home of the Black Student Union, some of the services available at the Black Student Success Center include community building activities, writing and math academic support, laptop use, calculator loans, academic counseling, cultural activities and events, basic needs support, the Warrior Cupboard, and opportunities for leadership, personal, and professional development.
The opening celebration was scheduled during Black Student Success Week, a statewide annual event that includes opportunities to share research findings and insights to improving success among Black and African American students at California Community Colleges. This year’s theme is “Vision to Action: Building Systems and Structures for Black Student Success,” with a weeklong focus on successful educational approaches to ensure Black and African American students succeed at California community colleges.
For more information about El Camino College or the Black Student Success Center, visit www.elcamino.edu.