The mission of El Centro is to provide support for the Latinx community at CSU and Fort Collins. We do this by encouraging student engagement, academic success, cultural pride, empowerment, and volunteer/leadership opportunities. We strive to promote an inclusive environment that focuses on awareness and understanding of the Latinx experience.
Who are we?
El Centro is energetic, welcoming, and inclusive with students who are excited about Colorado State University. We have resources to support personal, social, cultural, and academic needs to empower students and promote personal growth. We offer a place for discovering heritage, traditions, cultural awareness, and a diverse educational experience.
Students can visit El Centro to relax, socialize, laugh, have dialogue, and build life-long memories. With dedication and motivation, we do all we can to assist students to be successful at Colorado State University. El Centro is a family, a “home away from home,” a place that provides a sense of belonging.
1964 – 2009
In 1964 PROJECT GO was developed in an effort to incorporate the needs of all diverse students in an academic setting, specifically targeting students from ethnically diverse backgrounds and/or low income households. Its purpose was to identify and encourage economically disadvantaged students to continue their education beyond high school and to provide them with financial aid and academic support. In 1979 PROJECT GO became the Group Advocacy Program which comprised five offices: El Centro/Chicano Student Services, Black Student Services, Native American Student Services, Disables Student’s Programs, and Women’s Programs. Over the next few decades, the name changed from El Centro/Hispanic Student Services, El Centro Student Services, and finally El Centro in 2009.
2009 – Present
It was at this time that the Group Advocacy Program became known as the Student Diversity Programs and Services (SDPS) and all seven offices represented under this umbrella also had a name change to signify unity. No matter the name of our office, the purpose of El Centro has always been to welcome, encourage, support and promote the Latinx students within the University. We assist all students in all subject areas in developing the skills necessary to achieve academic success at CSU. The staff strives to provide individual assistance in an effort to improve students’ knowledge and study skills. As we continue to preserve our ethnicity, we create an atmosphere that is safe and fosters mutual respect and dignity.
Letter from 1987-2020 Director Dr. Guadalupe Salazar
Adios/goodbye to the Colorado State University Community:
Today, humanity is faced with unprecedented times, and leaving me unable to bid my farewell to you in person. I miss celebrating your accomplishments, bestowing El Centro graduation stoles, sharing stories with your family and friends, connecting with the Colorado State University community and missing the personal connections with all of you.
For over three decades, El Cento and Colorado State University has been an extremely important part of my life. Working at El Centro since my early 30’s I took great pride in being of service to the Latinx community for 33 years. Early on, I recognized the need and importance of strong role models to provide time, guidance, kind words and encouragement throughout the years. As the director of El Centro, I diligently worked to set an example of being a strong woman in a leadership role. Through the years, my interaction with students and their families is one of the biggest highlights of my career. It has been extremely rewarding watching students grow, graduate from college, start their careers, attend graduate school and raise their families.
At the core of my success at Colorado State University is my commitment to education, by continuing to learn, teaching classes, and outreach to over thousands of students. Shaped by my own educational experience as a TRIO program participant, with many individuals who cared about my education, inspired my work at El Centro. Providing an opportunity to build relationships and connections, developing a campus environment where students had a sense of belonging. For many students, El Centro became a home-away-from home environment. Through these experiences I have been fortunate to connect with students, families, the northern Colorado community and nationally for advancing education for the Latinx population. Watching you all grow, inspired me to earn my doctorate degree to continue my work!
At the same time, I have raised four beautiful children, followed by nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. My personal and professional life blended many times as social activism was instilled in me as a young child by my parents, shaping my values, my ethnic identity as a proud Mexican American woman and embracing my first language Spanish. Possessing a strong work ethic, I strove for integrity and honesty. In my life and career, I’ve endeavored to bring out the best in others, even when I was faced with personal and professional challenges and opposition I have persevered, learned many lessons and continue to grow.
Now as I venture into retirement this upcoming year in June 2021, I am closing the El Centro director, chapter of my life. Goodbye and thank you to Colorado State University students, staff and faculty who have impacted my life or whose paths I have crossed. It is indeed bittersweet, yet it is the beautiful memories, relationships I’ve built, mementos you’ve given me and the lessons learned that I carry with me as I move into a new position with the Vice President for Student Affairs.
In my final farewell to the El Centro community, stay connected with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you the best in everything you accomplish. Be strong and firm in your convictions, continue to fight, advocate and stand up for what you believe in your heart.
Con abrazos and mi amor,
Dr. Guadalupe Salazar