Don’t want to walk in Lot 5 for graduation? No problem

Walk in a cultural graduation


There are four different graduations hosted by the Cross Cultural Center. Graphic by Fatima Rosales.

10 tickets for your families and loved ones instead of four? Yes please.

Cultural dances and guest singers? Count me in.

Sashes and affordable grad gown and caps? Sign me up.

With graduation approaching, the University Times previously reported that many students are not so excited about graduating in parking Lot 5 this semester.

DeAngelo Ramirez, student program director of the Pan African Student Resource Center (PASRC), will be a graduating English major this semester, and said having this conversation with his family was not easy.

“My family found out I was graduating in a parking lot and it’s just nonstop roasts,” DeAngelo said.

Christian Torres, a business finance major looking to graduate, said he feels the four tickets is not enough for his big family and prefers the cultural graduation which allows at least six-10 tickets.

“Oh yeah, for sure I need the 10 tickets because I have a lot of people wanting to come visit me,” Torres said.

Jannel Serrato, a history major, said she will be attending the graduation in Lot 5.

“It kind of feels detached from the school in a way and kind of unfortunate, because we have to be out there,” Serrato said. “How can we accommodate our parents and relatives in that space, like will there be enough room?”

Priscilla Valadez, a psychology major graduating this semester, also has mixed feelings on the graduation location.

“I believe that we should be able to have a better location for our graduation due to the fact that it’s already been a few years that we were able to have a graduation,” she said. “Not only that but I feel especially going through COVID and the pandemic, I do believe the students deserve a better location.”

The good news is that thanks to the Cross Cultural Center (CCC), there are alternatives for Cal State LA students who wish to participate.

The CCC offers Nuestra Grad, Black Grad, Pride Grad and APIDA Grad ceremonies.

The four unique graduations are all being held on campus at Cal State LA including the gymnasium, State Playhouse Theater and more.

Each graduation features cultural dances, special sashes, affordable cap and gowns and up to 10 tickets per student for their families. The Gender and Sexualities Center’s Pride Grad will provide six tickets.

The most popular graduation being Nuestra Grad, filled its entire 222 spots within hours of releasing the event application to the students, according to the Chicanx Latinx Student Resource Center (CLSRC) instagram.

María Cruz is the center specialist for CLSRC and will be a graduating student in public health.

“This is actually the biggest amount of participants we have because we changed our location to the gym,” Cruz said.

CCC Director Lorena Marquez and Assistant Director Laura Tejeda will be coordinating the event.

Black Grad continues to have plenty of room remaining of the 222 total spots.

Pride Grad and APIDA Grad also still have plenty of room for students, according to the CCC.

In the event that a student finds themselves identifying with all the cultural graduations,  DeAngelo Ramirez and Maria Cruz provide some helpful advice.

“For students who are like me, who have different cultural backgrounds like being Latino and also Black and Queer, those are all three of my spaces,” Ramirez said “So it’s highly encouraged to go to the graduation that you best identify as.”

For students interested in any of the cultural graduations, applications are still open until March 17 or until sold out.

“We highly recommend students of these different cultures to apply as soon as they possibly can because as soon as they do sell out, there’s nothing we can do to accommodate that,” Ramirez said.

There is a price to pay however, to experience these cultural opportunities.

According to the Cal State LA student union website, there is a participation fee of $50 and an additional $1.80 PayPal processing fee. All payments must be made via PayPal with a credit or debit card.

“That fee that people are paying for, it’s covering the performances from the different cultures that we have,” Ramirez said. “It’s covering their own program booklets and it’s covering a customized sash for each graduation and also for the keynote speakers.”

In the past, for Black Grad 2022, Cal State LA alumna Destiny Moore was chosen as keynote speaker where she sang the Black national anthem. Ramirez said there could be a possibility in bringing Moore back once again.

“We’re definitely going to go with the African Soul International again for dances and I kind of want to bring back Destiny Moore, she was great the first time,” Ramirez said.