The Chicano and Chicana Studies program has a long history of helping students at Eastern Washington University succeed through student support services, scholarship opportunities and community outreach. Next Monday, the program will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a week full of activities, including an alumni panel, film screening and archival exhibit of the program.
Serving the needs of the Chicanx community, the Chicano and Chicana Studies program has actively participated in enhancing the opportunity and participation of Chicanos in higher education.
“The program really transforms [students’] lives,” said Norma Cárdenas, PhD and interim director of the Chicano and Chicana Studies program. “When they first arrive to campus, they realize their high school experiences did not provide them with a history or knowledge about their culture and their presence or their contributions to the U.S.
For them, it really is a process of coming to consciousness, coming to know who they are, their history, and appreciating the long and continuing struggles for equity, whether it’s in the fields of education, politics or health care.”
Created in 1977 to recruit Chicanx students, the program has grown to include a minor with five course offerings that focus on the history and culture of Chicanxs. The program also provides scholarship support to incoming, returning, transfer and DACAmented students. In addition, they work with the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), which is designed to support students from migrant and seasonal farm worker backgrounds during their first year of college.
“The program offers students a way to learn their history, to learn who they are,” Cárdenas said. “It becomes a way to stay involved with school, to become engaged with campus and society.”
In the future, Cárdenas hopes to expand the program’s course offerings, mentoring programs and community partnerships.
To learn more about the Chicano and Chicana Studies Program’s history, attend the events next week in celebration of 40 years:
Snapshot of Chicano Ed
- The Chicano Education Program (CEP) is officially established, serving 33 students under Esteban Sena, CEP’s first director.
- The first Cinco de Mayo celebration and all-Chicano basketball tournament were held at EWU, sponsored by CEP.
- In correlation with the Inland Empire Hispanic Council, CEP represents the Chicana/o and Latino/a community in Spokane's Lilac Parade with the first Chicana/Latina Lilac Princess Rita Nicacio.
- Carlos Maldonado, PhD, becomes CEP's third director.
- The first Chicano literature class is offered at EWU.
- CEP applies for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and was awarded $1.5 million for five years.
- CEP receives $1.5 million renewal of CAMP
- Director Carlos Maldonado receives the first Spokane Community Civil Award
History of Chicana/o/x Studies at EWU Exhibit and Opening Reception
Oct. 9 | 2–3 p.m. | JFK Alcove
Learn about the history of the Chicana and Chicano Studies program from the perspective of Carlos Maldonado, PhD and previous program director from 1987-2008. The exhibit will memorialize Maldonado, whose scholarship transformed the university and created spaces for Chicanx students.
Carlos Maldonado Room Naming
Oct. 10 | 3–4 p.m. | Monroe 201
Carlos Maldonado, PhD and the former Chicano Education program director, significantly expanded the quality and quantity of the program’s academic offerings, support services and the number of Chicana/o/x students attending EWU. The conference room will be renamed to the Carlos Maldonado Student Meeting Room in his honor.
Chicana and Chicano Alumni Panel
Oct. 11 | 3–5 p.m. (reception 4 p.m.) | Tawanka B&C
Chicana/o/x alumni will highlight their Eastern experience and discuss how the program bridged personal and professional interests. Join us for networking and churros and champurrado.
Dolores Film Screening
Oct. 13 | 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. showing followed by Q&A | Magic Lantern Theatre
Dolores, directed by Peter Bratt, is a PBS documentary that chronicles Dolores Huerta’s evolution from teenager to co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW). At 87, she is still active in organizing people to run for office and advocating on issues of health, education and economic development. The film features moving testimony from her children.
National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Pacific Northwest Foco Conference
Oct. 14 | Eastern Washington University
Register at ewu.edu/chst