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Queer At HSU

MultiCultural Center

MCC Mission Statement:

"The MultiCultural Center (MCC) is a dynamic and inclusive learning community that supports students in their academic and personal journeys at HSU. We do this by creating community, a home away from home and a safe place to Explore, Experience, Express, Empower and Engage. The MCC is committed to retention and student success by providing co-curricular opportunities for leadership development, social justice advocacy, identity exploration and cross-cultural learning experiences. We are a student-centered program that fosters acceptance and respect of all people." (taken from the website:


Traditionally a film festival, the Spring '16 Q-Fest was a week of events that were to engage the community and create dialogue of how to better empower ourselves as a community. 


Collaboration with Check-It through the support of their Consent Bar at our events like Q-Fest is integral to creating a culture of empowerment and love.

I feel it is necessary to position my own experience with the MCC, I am currently the Queer Community Building Coordinator and have been for the past three years. Being a part of the MCC has helped me survive at HSU as a Queer/N’Deh/Two-Spirit person. The family atmosphere, empowerment of my identity, and the ability to nurture skills which have helped me achieve so much in the short time I have been here. My first semester I helped two other Queer Community Building Coordinators organize the Qross Qultural Queer Film Festival. Traditionally, films that were outside the mainstream realm of Queer cinema were the ones we chose; the screening ended with a facilitated discussion (led by us) which resulted in great dialogue! Q-Fest started in Spring 2003, the MCC Community Building Coordinators came together and “wanted to break stereotypes about queer people” (Lodevico, 11) through the creation of the Qross Qultural Queer Film Festival. It grew quickly having Q-Fest specific Coordinators, in Spring ‘04 it was brought to the local Minor Theatre and had participation from Arcata High School’s Gay/Straight Alliance. Over the next 15 years, Q-Fest occurred on and off- 6 times to be exact; bringing amazing Queer Folks of Color as keynotes and showing films which help mold our understanding of Queerness outside the stereotypical framing (white, middle-class). Which has been a goal for the Queer Community Building Coordinators. As of Spring 2016, Q-Fest went from a film festival to a celebration of Queerness. The growing momentum for a “Queer” Resource Center and a necessity to shed light on the amazing resources we already have on campus prompted me to deviate from the tradition of cinema to engaging events which prompt discussion and interaction within the community. 


A time to meet other Queer folks and supporters while listening to Chachi Hands, HSU students (Alumns as of Spring '16), and partaking in refreshments and appetizers. 


Community Reception planning notes/email exchange between Mona Mazzotti (Graphic Design Coordinator & Social Justice Programs Coord.) and the Fall '09 Queer Comm. Building Coordinator. 

 At the MCC, we host Community Receptions which are held every Fall and are to welcome all Students, Faculty, and Staff. The Coordinators introduce themselves, we have organizations from HSU and Humboldt County which table- displaying their resources, and there is lots of food (which is important to the MCC because of it's ability to let folks engage with each other). The support shown at the Reception sets the community up to acknowledge that their is a space on campus striving to engage and empower Queer students and our Allies. 


Invitation and keepsake for Queer Grad.

Another event that the MCC has been instrumental to is Queer Graduation, where graduating students are honored and given a rainbow tassel. In Spring 2011 Marylyn Paik-Nicely (MCC Director ‘97-’15) asked students if they wanted a Lavender Grad which is what some universities call their graduation ceremonies. Students loved the idea and decided to call it Queer Grad or Q-Grad. Since then, the graduation has grown to honoring over 30 students each Spring. We have had a variety of keynotes who address the graduates and the local Eureka Sisterhood of Perpetual Indulgence. In 2016, the Eric Rofes MultiCultural Queer Resource Center funded the tassels for students.

The MCC also provides a space where folks can be informed and display their own creative work through the Cultural Times. As I mentioned above, I am currently a Coordinator and will close with my experience which was published in the Spring '16 Cultural Times:

The last five and a half semesters have been so beautiful, empowering, and engaging; having the privilege to work with then be a Queer Community Building Co-Coordinator for the MCC has been absolutely fabulous! Over time I have performed my position with the understanding as a student resource who has the privilege of access to student fee funding and institutional support to organize events that reflect student’s experiences and engage with our identities. Living on the margins as a Queer Brown Person, I have needed to resist the recolonization and forced assimilation to whitestream standards of Queerness which has made this position difficult and (in all honesty) traumatic because of the inherent structure of the institution (a space historically reserved for white, hetero, cis men).

Despite the disheartening moments, I have also been able to create community collaboration between Queer, cultural, and social justice orientated programs on campus and in the greater Humboldt County community. The Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource Center’s staff and I have collaborated on amazing programming like Queer Battle of the Bands, National Coming Out Day, the “Queer Resource Center” development, and many other engaging programs to provide students and community with meaningful, interactive, and fun experiences. For the past two years, we have been a part of the Humboldt County Pride celebration (in September) as a booth for information and representation in the march. I have worked with Check-It to establish events as consent mindful spaces, integrating it as a core part of our community’s programming. Overall, I have tried as much as I can- given the restricting effects of institutional bureaucracy and capitalism- to generate programming that is as intersectional as possible and I indeed feel pleased with the work I have done. This beautiful experience has provided me with memories, tools, and overall energy to practice living unapologetically and thrive at Humboldt State University.

-Marissa A. Lopez


Lodevico, Hazel. "HSU's Q-Fest". MCC Cultural Times. Spring 2003. May 1st, 2016.