The Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC)’s vision is to create an equitable world where students are affirmed and empowered in their identities and actions. The Center’s mission is to provide a safe and supportive space for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Southwest Asian, North African, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, Desi, adopted, mixed-race, Asian American, and other historically marginalized communities. The Center is focused on building community, working to remove barriers, and providing access to resources to support students in finding fulfillment and success while at Colorado State and beyond.
Origins and Growth
APACC was founded in November 1984 in response to a survey conducted among CSU Asian Pacific American (APA) students wanted to learn more about their Asian heritage and interact with other APA university members. The office was originally referred to as Services for Asian American Students (SAAS). The first director was Dr. Linda Ahuna-Hamill, a graduate student who started the office opening for 10 hours per week. The office gradually expanded programs and services to meet the needs of the growing APA student population and the office’s name changed to the Asian/Pacific American Student Services (A/PASS) to reflect outreach to both mainland students and students from Hawaii. In 1997, the office relocated from Aylesworth Hall to the Lory Student Center, coinciding with a devastating flood that affected the Fort Collins and campus communities.
Transformation and Renaming
In 2009, based on recommendations from research and campus surveys sent to students, faculty, and staff, the office was renamed the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC). This better represented student needs and by renaming the offices to cultural centers, helped reflect a common community serving students. The name change aligned with the renaming of the student advocacy centers to Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS), which helped emphasize collaborative efforts across the University.
New Space and Recognition
Following the Lory Student Center's revitalization in fall 2014, APACC relocated back to the building's diversity neighborhood on the third floor into new office spaces in room 333. APACC is located between the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) and the Black/African American Cultural Center (B/AACC) with a shared kitchen space. The second floor of the diversity neighborhood includes El Centro, the Pride Resource Center, a satellite office for the Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and a satellite office for the Student Disability Center. The co-location of the cultural and resource centers (on the second and third floors) further enhanced the visibility and accessibility to students, faculty, and staff.
A Foundation of Belonging
APACC continues to grow, expand, transform, and adapt to the changing times, reflecting the needs of the growing diverse student populations the office serves. Today, APACC hosts many successful programs including the All Nations Leadership Retreat, a partnership with the Native American Cultural Center; a robust Peer Mentoring program, which provides undergraduate first year and transfer students with personalized mentorship to connect them to resources, campus, and identity development, while providing mentors with an opportunity to develop the skills they need to become engaged community leaders; Chai to Understand, a weekly student led discussion series that creates conversation around current events affecting APIDA and SWANA communities; and our annual Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month in April.
APACC has been intentionally collecting disaggregated identity data by providing students the ability to note all salient racial and ethnic identities, offering 38 race and ethnicity options from which to choose when they check in to the office. These identities can be fluid in one individual, as they are able to indicate race and ethnicity on each visit to the center This approach is particularly important for multiracial and multiethnic students, whose salient identities can change situationally. APACC also collects data on gender identity and identification within the LGBTQIA+ community.
The disaggregated data collected from APACC in the 21-22 academic year exhibits more than 26 different APIDA and SWANA ethnic categories that APACC serves. This wide variety of ethnicities indicates the continual necessity to expand and diversify the programs and services that APACC offers. Additionally, the data reveals how important it is to continue to explore the avenues for support for those who identify as multiracial and multiethnic.
SAAS is established in response to a survey expressing the desire of CSU Asian Pacific American (APA) students to learn more about their Asian heritage and connect with other APA university members.
To reflect the outreach to both mainland students and students from Hawaii.
A/PASS moves from Aylesworth Hall to the Lory Student Center, coinciding with the devastating Flood in July 1997 that affected the Fort Collins and campus communities.
APASS becomes APACC and the Advocacy Cluster is renamed Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) to better align with the students wanting more interaction amongst other centers and reflect a common community to serve students.
After the revitalization of the Lory Student Center, APACC moves into the current space in room 333 of the Lory Student Center, allowing for closer proximity to other Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) centers and have a central location on campus.
The inaugural Breakthrough Burnout Program helped students navigate stress during the post-pandemic period by incorporating active destress methods of engagements including painting, plants, yoga, rage room, massages, and counseling support.
With the support from a Fort Collins citizen, Fort Collins designates May as Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, recognizing APACC's role in fostering cultural awareness and appreciation. This is the first time APACC has been recognized for providing Heritage month events, even though the center has provided programs since spring 1985.
The inaugural Ramadan Iftar event showcased student leadership and support from various CSU- and community-related organizations, attracting over 200 attendees.
With a focus on fostering a sense of belonging, advocacy. and celebrating cultural heritage, the APACC team works tirelessly to provide support and resources for Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Southwest Asian, North African, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, Desi, adopted, mixed race, Asian American students and other historically marginalized communities.