What are Cultural Centers?
Cultural Centers at Mount Holyoke are constant safe places for the purposes of support, education, networking and sanctuary. They host programming and provide resources to increase cultural awareness and inter-connectedness. These spaces are important because each supports an identities that are historically marginalized at Mount Holyoke College and beyond.
Learn more about cultural centers
- Cultural Centers are college-owned facilities established for the designated use of groups historically targeted and marginalized within U.S. society. They provide an opportunity for students to retreat from environments which can be alienating at times.
- They serve an educational function by providing programming which is relevant to historically targeted groups. The opportunity to develop such programming allow students from targeted groups to explore their own identity and develop leadership skills in an empowering way.
- They are important campus sites for leadership development for other students as well.
- Centers are not residence halls as they are not intended to provide alternative living arrangements. They are not student organization offices as they are not primarily student work spaces, though that may be one of the functions they serve.
- Centers can be reserved by any member of the MHC Community for college-related functions such as classes, public lectures, special receptions, or other large group gatherings. Additionally, the centers can be reserved for small dinners, birthday gatherings, and meetings by individual students.
Mount Holyoke College Cultural Centers
The Betty Shabazz
2 Dunlap Place
The Betty Shabazz Cultural Center assists and supports students who identify within the African Diaspora (including but not limited to African, African American and Caribbean) through interactive programming and as an overall space to come together and celebrate.
The Eliana Ortega Cultural Center
4 Dunlap Place - left
The Eliana Ortega Cultural Center serves serves as a home away from home for students within the Latinx Diaspora.
The Zowie Banteah Cultural Center
4 Dunlap Place - right
The Zowie Banteah Cultural Center promotes visibility and empowerment for Native American and communities of Indigenous people by providing space for dialogue, interaction, and community in the Mount Holyoke College community.
The Asian Center for Empowerment
The Asian Center for Empowerment serves serves as a space that provides support, education, community and a meeting spot for students within the Asian diaspora (including but not limited to Asian, Asian American and South Asian).
The Jeannette Marks Center
5 Faculty Lane East
History of the Jeannette Marks House
The Jeannette Marks Cultural Center (currently known by many as “The Marks House”) which supports the LGBTQIA+ MHC community became a reality in 1999 with the opening of what was originally named by students as “The Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Community Center” on 5 Faculty Lane, across from Dickinson Residence Hall. After working with members of the administration, students were granted the center, and they selected 5 Faculty Lane after reviewing several available locations. Renovations to the house, including changes to make it wheelchair-accessible and conversion of the garage into a multi-purpose meeting area, were completed over the summer. In total, the trustees allocated $60,000 for the creation of this space, including $15,000 for the purchase of furniture.
The Unity Center
Blanchard Hall, Room 206
The Unity Center seeks to be a valued space where students can gather to celebrate and engage in conversations and experiences across their differences.
Hours of Operation
All Cultural Center hours of operation are based on the following categories:
- Affiliated Hours: Days and times which are designated for Student Organizations who are affiliated with the Cultural Centers
- Programming Hours: Days and times in which non-affiliated students, organizations, academic and professional departments can reserve the Cultural Centers.
- Open Hours: Days and times in which anyone, regardless of their student organization affiliation or cultural identity, may visit the Cultural Centers.