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Culture Club

A look at the history of UMass Amherst’s cultural centers

UMass Amherst has a long history of working to make our campus a richly diverse, equitable, and inclusive place. Student activism, in concert with faculty and staff efforts, has created spaces where all students can celebrate their cultural identities; places they can find a welcoming community as they explore who they are—and who they want to become.
The progress made over the past 50 years is a testament to the UMass community’s efforts to welcome and learn about people, practices, and ideas in a truly inclusive manner.

Student holding painting


The Malcolm X Cultural Center (MXCC) is established in New Africa House.
Since its establishment 50 years ago, the MXCC has continually fought to provide a safe space for Black students to gather, gain access to cultural education through courses and speaker series, and engage politically with the Congressional Black Caucus.

I think [that having access to these centers] contributes to our success greatly because … it gives us that sense of home so that we are comfortable enough to go out and try new things and progress.

—Jasmine Pierre ’19




Purple tinted photo of students carrying a large banner


The Center for Women and Community (CWC) is founded.
Recognizing the lack of resources for women in the area, the CWC has spent nearly 50 years providing informed education, leadership opportunities, advocacy, and support services to the Pioneer Valley—addressing the causes and impacts of sexism and oppression experienced by women of all cultures and backgrounds.  






The Josephine White Eagle Cultural Center (JWECC) is created.
Named after one of the earliest advocates for a Native cultural center at UMass, JWECC’s mission is to provide a cultural and social support system for Native students, faculty, and staff while also offering itself as a cultural diversity awareness resource for the UMass campus and the Pioneer Valley.




These centers will only further your understanding of the people and the world around you just like the Latinx American Cultural Center has done for me.

—Grace Baker ’20
Four students doing power pose in front of a poster


The Latinx American Cultural Center (LACC) is established.
Originally named the Hispanic Cultural Center, LACC is a place to celebrate and engage in Latinx culture. The center reopened in 1995 with the added goals of cultural education and inclusivity.


Four students braiding rope.


The Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC) is founded.
As the first Asian cultural center on campus, (then called the United Asia Cultural Center) YKCC has spent over 30 years supporting the growing population of Asian and Asian American students.  


CMASS has a wide range of resources on campus … including events. These events are very helpful, especially cultural connections, where students get to meet other people as well as find others who share career goals.

—Sattwik Das ’21




Three students wearing CMASS graduation scarves.


The Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) is instituted.
Working with the individual cultural centers on campus, CMASS advocates for and helps advance the personal growth and academic and professional success of diverse populations on campus through inclusive and supportive programs and services.

Having recently celebrated their 10th anniversary, CMASS created an more in-depth timeline detailing the remarkable history of the cultural centers on campus.