Belonging in the Academic Commons

Belonging in the Academic Commons (BAC) is a collaborative program between the Intercultural Community Center, Academic Commons, and Special Collections & Archives that is designed to honor culturally rooted national holidays in an interactive and informative way.

Through regular events, BAC aims to foster a sense of belonging and community at Oxy, specifically among students whose own identities and histories are often underrepresented in the academic setting.

2021-22 Programming

We welcomed students back to campus in the Fall of 2021 by celebrating Latinx Heritage Month, specifically providing an opportunity for the community to gain insight into author Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez's book, For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color. Hailing from Nicaragua, Prisca is a unique storyteller whose book aims to disintegrate the knowledge she gained throughout her time at predominantly white institutions. She is the founder of renowned social media channel, Latina Rebels, which is described as an unveiling of the complexities of Latinidad. Prisca, whose personal narratives drive the book, describes it as "the kind of book that I needed to read." The event took place on Friday October 15th at 4pm in Choi Auditorium and copies of Prisca's book were available for those who were able to attend.

Click here to watch the full discussion with Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez.

2020-21 Programming

We kicked off the Spring 2021 semester by celebrating Women’s History Month, with an emphasis on trans women. In order to accommodate the unique circumstances of the remote semester, Belonging in the Academic Commons programming was translated into a digital format.

  • On March 15, the ICC co-curated a panel entitled "Protecting Trans Lives: From HIV/AIDS to COVID 19.” The panel was moderated by Maria Roman, co-founder of the Trans Latin@ Coalition. The other members of the panel were Chela Demuir, founder of the Unique Women's Coalition and Queen Victoria Ortega, National President of Flux.

Click here to view a full recording of the panel

  • The ICC and Academic Commons created a virtual exhibit of books related to Women’s History. All books were available to students by mail, curbside pick-up, or through a digital format. 
  • Oxy's Women's Basketball Team in 1904The Special Collections and Archives department celebrated Women’s History by educating the community on Instagram about milestones in Oxy history. This included:
    • The history of Oxy's first two female graduates.
    • The multiple proposals to split Oxy’s campus into two, seperating the sexes.
    • The 1969 abolishment of the dorm curfew for women, which men never had.
    • Details about the Women’s Basketball team’s creation around 1899, which was established before the Men’s Basketball team in 1907. Before the teams creation in 1907, men were not allowed to observe women playing basketball. 


BAC ushered in the Fall 2020 semester by celebrating Latinx Heritage Month

2019-20 Programming

In Spring of 2020, our celebration of Black History Month included:

•An “Athlete of Color Leadership Practicum: Cultural Wealth and Social Entreprenuership,” led by Oxy Alum Marcus Forbes ’18.

•A historical exhibit higlighting the history of Black activism at Occidental College (see image, right). 

•The purchase and display of hundreds of new books related to LGBT+ and Black history, coordinated by the Academic Commons and with student input on title and author selection.

During the Fall of 2019,our celebration LGBTQIA+ History Month consisted of the following:

•A "Self Care Workshop for Queer Writers on the Edge,” by local author and psychotherapist Wendy C. Ortiz

•A “Queer Life Writing Workshop,” led by Oxy Alum Stephen Van Dyke ’06 (see image, left). For Black History Month, this included an “Athlete of Color Leadership Practicum,” led by Oxy Alum Marcus Forbes ’18.

•The curation and display of a historical exhibits in the Academic Commons regarding LGBTQIA+ history at Oxy, coordinated by Special Collections & Archives, with assistance from ICC Equity Ambassadors. 

•The purchase and display of hundreds of new books related to LGBTQIA+ history, coordinated by the Academic Commons and with student input on title and author selection.