Students at the Pride Parade.

Cultural Centers

Who We Are

The Cultural Centers include the Gender & Sexuality Center and the Intercultural Center. The centers serve as both physical spaces on campus where students build community, and as outlets for student run programs that explore social issues and identity.

The Cultural Centers bring students together to increase their understanding, and embrace their roles, as members of a diverse community on the local and global levels.

We engage in this work through our shared values:

  • Community: We unify individuals across identities, backgrounds and experiences. Our positive, caring, and discerning community creates a sense of belonging for students.
  • Empowerment: We inspire students to find their agency and authentic voice to express their needs. Students feel empowered to explore their passions.
  • Intersectionality: We understand the complexity and beauty of the multiple intersecting identities students bring into the world. Our programs encourage students to embrace their whole self.
  • Growth:: We believe that all students have the capacity to deepen their consciousness by building upon their unique lived experiences. Programs encourage students to bravely engage in challenging dialogues within a supportive space.
  • Solidarity: We cultivate support and advocacy for, and with, marginalized identities and communities. Programs provide opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of injustices and work towards social change in community.

Intercultural Center

As a part of the Cultural Centers, the Intercultural Center provides a welcoming space on campus for students to explore their identities, find community, and work towards social justice. The programs center on racial and ethnic identity, and also provide perspectives on multiple aspects of identity.

Programs

Intercultural Center programs focus on the exploration of culture and its relationship to other aspects of identity. Through the use of workshops, presentations, and dialogue, the Intercultural Center provides both current and historical perspectives on the experiences of communities of color.

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT OUR FULL CALENDAR

Community Meet-Ups

Each semester, the Cultural Centers create opportunities for students to gather based on their common identities. In these communal spaces, students can build community and share and learn from each other’s similar experiences. Recently these have included community meet-ups for Womxn of Color, Grassroots Activism, Trans* and Non-Binary people, Queer People of Color, and racial/ethnic spaces.
 

Lyricist Lounge

Once a month on a Friday evening the University Center 4th Floor Lounge is transformed into Lyricist Lounge, the hippest spot in San Francisco. Students gather to hear peers address social justice issues, identity expression, experiences of oppression and triumph through spoken word poetry.

Culturally Focused Clubs Council (CFCC)

The Cultural Centers team works closely with various culturally focused student-driven clubs, organizations, and programs at USF. CFCC is a group of club representatives who meet bi-monthly to participate in intergroup leadership development, cultural competency, and ally-building training.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CFCC

End of Year Ceremonies

The Cultural Centers lead in coordinating five ceremonies that highlight the outstanding work our students have accomplished in the areas of service, academics, and leadership, while affirming the unique challenges and experiences they share. These include: Indigenous Peoples of Oceania Ceremony, Interwoven (Asian and Asian American Ceremony), Latinx Recognition Ceremony, Lavender Graduation, and Vizuri Kabisa (VK) Unity Celebration/Black Graduation Celebration.

Gender & Sexuality Center

As a part of the Cultural Centers, the Gender and Sexuality Center provides a welcoming space on campus for students to explore their identities, find community, and work towards social justice. The programs center on gender and sexual-orientation based identity and issues, and also provide perspectives on multiple aspects of identity.

Programs

Gender and Sexuality Center programs focus on the exploration of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender-based violence. Through the use of workshops, presentations, and dialogue, the Gender and Sexuality Center provides both current and historical perspectives related to our communities of focus.

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT OUR FULL CALENDAR 

Gender-Affirming Clothing Closet

The Gender Affirming Clothing Closet is an on-campus resource with the intention of providing Transgender, Non-binary, and Gender Non-conforming students access to clothing and accessories within a safe space.

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Transgender Spectrum Initiative

The Transgender Spectrum Initiative is a Jesuit Grant Foundation-funded program from the Gender & Sexuality Center at USF. The purpose of the Transgender Spectrum Initiative (TSI) is to invite USF’s transgender spectrum community and the broader community to reflect on and engage in a dialogue about the marginalization and injustice that transgender spectrum community members experience on a day to day basis.

LEARN MORE

End of Year Ceremonies

The Cultural Centers lead in coordinating five ceremonies that highlight the outstanding work our students have accomplished in the areas of service, academics, and leadership, while affirming the unique challenges and experiences they share. These include: Indigenous Peoples of Oceania Ceremony, Interwoven (Asian and Asian American Ceremony), Latinx Recognition Ceremony, Lavender Graduation, and Vizuri Kabisa (VK) Unity Celebration/Black Graduation Celebration.

Community Meet-Ups

Each semester, the Cultural Centers create opportunities for students to gather based on their common identities. In these communal spaces, students can build community and share and learn from each other’s similar experiences. Recently these have included community meet-ups for Womxn of Color, Grassroots Activism, Trans* and Non-Binary people, Queer People of Color, and racial/ethnic spaces.

Meet Our Staff

Director

Erin Echols
eechols@usfca.edu

Erin Echols is the Director of the University of San Francisco's Cultural Centers, which include the Intercultural Center and Gender and Sexuality Center. Prior to coming to USF, Erin served at California Polytechnic State University for eight years, most recently as the Assistant Director of the Dean of Students Office for the Cross Cultural Centers. Additionally, Erin worked at Colby-Sawyer College for five years as the Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Orientation Program Coordinator.

Her educational background includes an MA in Educational Leadership from California Polytechnic State University, an MFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and a BS from the University of New Haven.

Erin has focused on increasing the retention and persistence of underrepresented students at colleges and universities through programming and research. A highlight of her work in this area was a research study specific to the retention of LGBTQIA students.

As a passionate student affairs professional, Erin’s interests include social justice programming, strategic planning, assessment, collaboration development, marketing, and fiscal planning. Her professional organization and community involvement has included founding and chairing the Pride Faculty Staff Association at Cal Poly and serving on the executive board of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education.  At Cal Poly, Erin was proud to receive the Chandler Award for excellence in Student Affairs.

Assistant Director

Lionell Daggs
ldaggsiii@usfca.edu

Lionell Daggs is one of the Assistant Directors of the Cultural Centers. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Lionell worked at an education non-profit organization California School-Age Consortium, which builds professional networks that provide training, leadership development and advocacy for out-of-school time professionals.

Lionell graduated with a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Child and Youth Studies in 2013 from USF. He is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership graduate program within the School of Education at USF. His research interests include black feminism, feminist leadership, and social movements.

His student affairs philosophy is oriented toward creating systemic change by utilizing his positionality and knowledge to uplift and support those around him and within his community. As a first-generation college student, he believes that all students with the right support and guidance can successfully navigate the higher education landscape.

Assistant Director

Jinni Pradhan
jpradhan@usfca.edu

Jinni Pradhan serves as one of the Assistant Directors for the Cultural Centers. Before joining USF, Jinni was at the University of California-Davis where she was the Middle Eastern and South Asian Student Affairs Officer.

She holds a doctorate in Cultural Studies from the University of California-Davis, a master's degree in communication from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a bachelor's degree in Japanese Studies from the University of San Francisco. She served as a Fulbright Scholar to Nepal during the 2013–2014 academic year. Her commitment to supporting and building community with students is heavily influenced by her academic research experiences, where she aimed to amplify the voices of marginalized communities that challenge the status quo. Jinni has presented at various academic/professional conferences, given invited guest lectures, and provided workshops on the topics of Asian American media, Asian popular culture and media, and graduate school access for historically marginalized student populations both in the United States and Asia.

As a Student Affairs professional, Jinni is invested in sharing her own knowledge and positionality with students to demystify higher education through a critical lens. She hopes to continue to support and empower students to understand the impact their knowledge and experiences can make at USF and beyond.

Interns

Interns at the Cultural Centers have the opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge in facilitation, dialogue, event planning, and social justice issues.

  • Graduate Student Coordinators assist the advising of both centers through providing administrative and programmatic support.
  • Community Interns develop identity and interest based spaces and events for students to connect through shared experiences, self-expression, and community building. (International Community Intern, Queer BIPOC Community Intern, Spoken Word Community Intern, Trans and Non-Binary Community Intern)
  • Signature Program Interns develop student centered programs that facilitate and encourage reflection on and exploration of various social justice topics.
  • Graphic Design Interns craft social justice oriented social media and print marketing for all the Cultural Centers’ programs.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR STAFF AND CURRENT INTERNS