Black Student Success Center relocates to a more personal space


Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral. Outside of the Black Student Success Center’s new location.

College of the Desert’s Black Student Success Center, located next to Beeps Cafe, has recently relocated to a more confidential and independent space in the South Annex on the Palm Desert Campus, offering a wide range of opportunities and support for Black and African-American-identifying students.

The center offers counseling services, preparation for academic success, scholarship opportunities, various workshops, registration priorities and catering during member meetings. Some members have been able to travel through their involvement with the group. In 2022, advisors and students attended the All-African Diaspora Conference, an education summit at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.

Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral. West African Djembe Drum.

BSSC Coordinator Mary Eden says that one of her biggest goals for the center is to reach out to the Coachella Valley high schools to bring awareness that the school can provide support and community for Black and African-American students with an intrigue for higher education.

Black and African-American students comprise only 2.5% of College of the Desert’s enrollment. Eden hopes that if she can reach students at the high school level and provide awareness that College of the Desert is the best opportunity and community for them, that percentage can increase.

Currently, the BSSC has been involved with the Black Student Unions at Palm Desert and Palm Springs High School, hoping to connect with more schools. The Black Student Unions for PDHS and PSHS will visit the Black Student Success Center on May 9 for a drumming workshop centered around the West African Djembe drum. 

The Chaparral was eager to ask about the center and had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Mzilikazi Kone, Assistant Professor Of Political Science and Global Studies, and Black Student Success Center Co-Coordinator Jermaine Cathcart.

Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral. The colors of numerous African National flags adorn the walls of the Black Student Success Center.

The Chaparral: What is the Black Student Support Center’s overall goal?

BSSC: The goal is to provide students with a space for support, community, and resource access. It is a place for black students to exist, whether to study, meet with friends, or attend meetings and events. Mainly to build community and support black students, but of course, all students are welcome.

Chaparral: What would it have meant to have a resource like this when you were a student?

BSSC: I have been to some schools with similar resources, but not all. But it is important to be in a place where people see who you are and you are welcomed in a way that is unapologetic and that you belong. To learn about and talk about black culture. As well as to get support in an unapologetic sense, we don’t have to be shy about supporting the black students of our school.

The Black Student Success Center is located in the South Annex of the Palm Desert Main Campus in room SA-9. They are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday through the 2023 Spring Semester.

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Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral. One of many African art pieces on display at the Black Student Success Center.

Black Student Success Center Advisor Contact Information

Mary Eden

Counseling Faculty / Black Student Success Center Coordinator
[email protected]

Dr. Jermaine Cathcart

Professor Sociology / Black Student Success Center Co-Coordinator
[email protected]

Dr. Mzilikazi Kone

Assistant Professor Political Science and Global Studies /
Black Student Success Center Co-Coordinator
[email protected]

Angel Meraz

Athletic Counseling Faculty / Black Student Success Center Co-Coordinator[email protected]