Cultural Centers

Graphic of Mount Holyoke College Centers logo

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.

  • 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

Photo of the outside of the Betty Shabazz house

The Betty Shabazz House (2 Dunlap Place) is the oldest of the cultural centers and serves the needs of the African American student community. It is also used by the African and Afro-Caribbean student community in cooperation with APAU (Association of Pan-African Unity) and MHACASA.

Photo of the Eliana Ortega and Zowie Banteah House

The Eliana Ortega Cultural Center (4 Dunlap Place - left) serves the needs of the Latina community.

The Zowie Banteah Cultural Center (4 Dunlap Place - right) serves the needs of the Native American/Indigenous community.

Photo of the Asian Center for Empowerment

The Asian Center for Empowerment (15 Woodbridge) serves the needs of the Asian and Asian American student community.

Photo of the Jeannette Marks House

The Jeannette Marks House (5 Faculty Lane East) provides a safe space and community center for lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allied students.

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. 

To learn more about the cultural centers, contact Kalea Martin, Cultural Center Student Manager or Latrina L. Denson, Associate Dean of Students, Community and Inclusion.

Photo of Millie Koong ’18, Michelle Araque Perez ’18, Gabby Hernandez ’19 and Kalea Martín ’19

From the margins to the center

An ode to the College’s cultural centers, courtesy of Kalea Martín ’19. Read her blog.