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CSUSM Hosts CA Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center Grand Opening, Nov. 17

On Thursday, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) will celebrate the grand opening of its new California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC), a place that will foster further collaboration and understanding between the University and regional Native American communities. Located in the newly constructed Social and Behavioral Sciences Building , the Center will also serve as a focal point for Native Studies and American Indian activities on campus.“The Center represents an important, positive development in the history of CSUSM’s work with American Indian students and communities,” said Dr. Joely Proudfit, CICSC director. “It will serve California Indian communities throughout the state and enrich the campus community by increasing the visibility of Native American culture and programs.“Native American Students Face Unique ChallengesNative American students face particular challenges in graduating from a four-year institution; they are disproportionately first-generation students, and leaving reservations often requires a significant cultural adjustment. According to the U. S. Census, American Indians have lower educational attainment rates than persons from other racial/ethnic backgrounds, and the numbers are even lower for those who live on reservations. In addition, universities across the country have disproportionately low rates of retention among Native American students, and the number of bachelor’s degrees granted to Native students is lower than their numbers in the population overall might indicate.CSUSM’s Commitment to Native American Students and Tribal CommunitiesSince 2004, Cal State San Marcos has set a precedent in working with area tribes. CSUSM is the only campus within the California State University or University of California systems with a tribal liaison and the University was the first to establish a Native American Advisory Council which meets regularly with President Karen Haynes to articulate the educational needs of local reservations and American Indian communities to the University. CSUSM continues to make history with the opening of CICSC – the first of its kind in the state and the only center of its kind headed by a California Indian.Support Offered by the Indian Culture and Sovereignty CenterWith office space, workstations, a lounge and more, CICSC will be a welcoming place for the entire University community and for tribal communities across the state. The center will focus on conducting and supporting research and analysis of tribally identified concerns and questions; supporting the recruitment and retention of Native American students, faculty and staff; creating a sense of community and belonging among the Indian population on and off campus; and preparing graduates who can serve Indian communities well in support of their multiple and complex needs.Media are invited to attend the private grand opening ceremony.Who: CSUSM President Karen Haynes; former Chairman of the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, Chris Devers; Chairman of the Pala Band Mission Indians, Robert Smith; Chairman of the San Manuel of Mission Indians, James Ramos; Executive Secretary of the California Native American Heritage Commission, Larry Myers; and CSUSM faculty, staff and students.What: Grand Opening Ceremony for CSUSM’s California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center.When: Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 4 p.m. (program begins at 4:30 p.m.)Where: California State University San Marcos – Social and Behavioral Sciences Building  Courtyard    Directions and ParkingParking Structure 1 is the closest lot to the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, at the corner of Campus Way and Campus View Drive. For more information or directions to the campus, visit http://www.csusm.edu/guide.About California State University San MarcosCalifornia State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. 85 percent of CSUSM’s alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is fifteen miles east of the ocean; just thirty miles north of downtown San Diego.