Emmanuel Padilla poses in front of the new Latinx Student Center on campus on Aug. 24, 2022. Padilla is the inaugural director for the center. (Rene Ramirez / Golden Gate Xpress) (Rene Ramirez)
Emmanuel Padilla poses in front of the new Latinx Student Center on campus on Aug. 24, 2022. Padilla is the inaugural director for the center. (Rene Ramirez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Rene Ramirez

Gator Talk: New Latinx Student Center

September 2, 2022

Welcome to Gator Talk, a collaborative CalState podcast that brings city and statewide perspectives to SF State news.

Last month, SF State announced the inaugural director of its new Latinx Student Center, Emmanuel Padilla. Xpress Managing Editor Myron Caringal sat down with Padilla, an SF native, to discuss the opening of the center, Padilla’s vision for it and how he plans on supporting the Latinx community on campus.

Check out the story here at Gator Talk.

Isabella: Welcome back to school, gators! How was your week? This is Isabella Vines, diversity editor of Golden Gate Xpress. Welcome back to another Gator Talk, the podcast that never leaves you out of the loop. 

With me today is Myron Caringal, Xpress managing editor and today’s guest.

Myron: Hey, everyone.

Isabella: For more information and coverage, check out goldengatexpress.org or @GGXnews on all social media platforms. 

Preview of the show

Isabella: Today’s main story focuses on SF State’s New Latinx Student Center. 

We sat down with Emmanuel Padilla, the inaugural director, to learn more about his vision for the new student center on campus and how he plans to support Latinx students in their educational journey. 

So let’s get into it.

Main Story 

Isabella: So Myron, what was it like meeting with the first-ever director of the new Latinx Student Center?

Myron: Sitting down with Emmanuel was great, I feel like, in a lot of cases, there’s this sort of separation between students and faculty where students don’t feel comfortable approaching their higher-ups. But Emmanuel was really easy to talk to.

Isabella: We’ve all had our own share of professors that weren’t really approachable. So it’s great to finally have a student center that represents the largest demographic of SF State – Latinx students

Myron: Right? 

Isabella: Boriquas represent!

Myron: I looked into it and even though SF State had many firsts – like its Black Student Union and College of Ethnic Studies – surprisingly, the center isn’t one of its firsts.

Isabella: Really? That’s… interesting. So where’s the Latinx Student Center located?

Myron: It’s actually at Centennial Square, Building C, Room 140; right across from Student Services.

Isabella: In the dorms?

Myron: Yep, it takes up one of the apartment spaces in the same area as ASPIRE and the Black Unity Center. It’s really cool because Emmanuel made it feel like a home; you walk in, and there’s papel picado hanging everywhere, couches, a record player and a full-service kitchen. 

[interview audio begins]

Emmanuel: The plan is to make a space where students feel comfortable coming in, but not only coming in once but coming in again. And that includes, ‘I need to use a microwave,’ cool; ‘I need to keep my food cold,’ cool; or ‘I just need to sit down and just take a break from the day.’ Or, I need to be connected to mental health professionals because I know that’s something that I needed in college; I didn’t know how to utilize them, and also it was kind of a shame to go up to them like ‘what is that?’ So making that accessible.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: I have to go check it out sometime. Does Emmanuel plan on having any programs or hosting events for students?

Myron: Oh, yeah! With Latin Heritage Month coming up soon, He’s planning on having listening parties with Latin music and a watch party for the FIFA World Cup.

Isabella: You know, I actually wrote a story last semester about the equity gaps Latinx and Black students have at SF State. Their graduation rates are disproportionately lower than any other ethnic groups on campus. He talked a bit about it before, but how does Emmanuel plan on supporting Latinx students throughout their educational careers?

Myron: First of all, great story. But to answer your question, Emmanuel said that his biggest thing is helping students find a sense of self.

[interview audio begins]

Emmanuel: I think the biggest thing is finding a sense of self and identity and being comfortable with oneself because life is hella hard, but school is easy; it’s just learning how to navigate those different structures. My thing is calling into action that we are failing. Why are we failing? Let’s figure out why. And I think the biggest reason is that we don’t feel noticed, we don’t feel seen and we don’t feel confident in ourselves because of that. And we separate ourselves from— we other ourselves while also being other-ed by the community. And we need to have a confidence in who we are and what we do and what we will accomplish.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: We’re going to take a quick break.


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Cont. Main Story

Isabella: And we’re back. So Myron, what does the future hold for the Latinx Student Center?

Myron: Emmanuel said that — 

[interview audio begins]

Emmanuel: Long term I see the Latinx Student Center being student-run, being a space that has – I’m just looking around right now the center – like different art up from students or different activities that students want to do. I know my role is to do that, to create that space, and in the future, we’ll be student-run where students are here opening the center; students have different workshops that y’all want to lead. Because we always say we’re gonna do it for the students,  but when do we really do it for the students? And when do y’all really feel like ‘that’s ours.’

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: So how did he get the position?

Myron: He said it was a whole process.

[interview audio begins]

The process, it was – I laugh because they had me like on a six-hour interview, I’m like, ‘yo, this is serious. This is cool.’ – it was with the staff on campus, it was with the leadership, it was with students, and then it was the open forum. And then I saw on Twitter, I was like, ‘we have Emmanuel Padilla,’ ‘yo, I didn’t even know that that’s crazy.’ So it was publicized for the SF State community to see and to interview and to take process with it.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: A six-hour interview? Do you know how many other candidates SF State was considering?

Myron: I’m not exactly sure. But I know three finalists made it to the open forums.

Isabella: And what set Emmanuel apart from the other two candidates?

Myron: He said that he had the data and numbers to help him out – and of course, the qualifications – but his passion and confidence are what really set him apart.

[interview audio begins]

Emmanuel: There’s passion that I have, there’s a confidence I bring, but it’s being able to back it up with data was one thing, but also it’s treating people like people. Y’all are students at State; I work here at State, I’m a director at State, but before that we’re people. And if I don’t get to know y’all as people, then what am I doing here, just something else? And I include the community, the gators that we need to own state like ‘yo, San Francisco State started Ethnic Studies,’ and we need to embrace that and own it like ‘this is us.’ But also there’s my backup: there’s my qualifications if needed. So I think with the other candidates – respect to them – but one thing that I always bring is my authentic self and my interest in other people, because everyone just needs to be talked to, or just listened to whatever it is.

[interview audio ends]

Isabella: So who else is working for the student center?

Myron: Well, so far, it’s just him. The Latinx Student Center is a part of the Division of Equity and Community Inclusion unit here on campus, and they help with outreach and whatnot. But other than that, yeah, it’s just him.

Isabella: Does he plan on expanding his team?

Myron: He did mention that he hopes to hire a coordinator and even student assistants eventually, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Isabella: Well, this is just the beginning. Speaking of which, once the center’s first event,

Myron: He said that they’re hosting their first event next month, a Bienvenida, which means ‘welcome’ in English. 

[interview audio begins]

Emmanuel: We’re going to have a Bienvenida on Wednesday, September 14. And what that includes is, we’re going to have – because it’s an afternoon I know students are like ‘nah, afternoon? Done,’ and then plus it gets cold – so we’re gonna have hot chocolate and coffee, pan dulce and a performance just right outside the center. And that way, folks who walk in and out and say ‘alright, this is what the center I see myself here.’

[interview audio ends]

News brief

Isabella: Here are some things that happened this week:

SF State will reconsider indoor masking in two weeks but will keep them enforced until COVID-19 transmission rates decrease. Current guidance requires students to wear masks indoors except when eating or drinking in designated areas. 

President Biden promises to cancel $10,000 of student debt for low to middle-income borrowers through a three-part plan as a way to help them recover from strains associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan offers targeted debt relief as a part of a comprehensive effort to address the burden of growing college costs and make the student loan system more manageable for working families. 

Earlier this week an SF supervisor candidate was condemned for referring to a Jewish journalist as a Nazi. Leanna Louie, who is running for election in District 4 posted messages on Instagram and Facebook, referring to Mission Local Editor and Columnist Joe Eskenazi as “Joe EskaNAZI.”


Isabella: And that’s all for today. This is Isabella Vines, diversity editor

Myron: And Myron Caringal, managing editor for Xpress. 

New episodes will premiere every other week, so keep an ear out. 

And with that, see you later gators.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Isabella Vines
Isabella Vines, Diversity Editor
Isabella Vines (she/her) is the diversity editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She's a senior at SF State, majoring in communications and journalism with a minor in race and resistance studies. Isabella is from and resides in the Bay Area. During her free time, she likes to travel, read and spend time with loved ones.
Photo of Myron Caringal
Myron Caringal, Engagement Editor
Myron Caringal (he/they) is the engagement editor for Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress Magazine. He is a transfer student at SF State majoring in journalism and minoring in critical social thought. Myron is originally from Orange County, California, and currently resides in San Francisco. He previously served as diversity editor and then as managing editor for GGX. Myron hopes to transition into the digital engagement side of the media industry as a current intern for KQED's Audience Development team. During his free time, Myron enjoys traveling, trying new foods, attending music festivals and binge-watching series.
Photo of Rene Ramirez
Rene Ramirez, Multimedia Editor
Rene Ramirez (he/him) is a fourth-year photojournalism major with a minor in race and resistance studies at SF State and is the multimedia editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is from the Bay Area where he runs and owns his magazine, FIRSTPLACE Magazine. Through this, he has been able to take photos at concerts and music festivals around the country. In his free time, Rene has an addiction to buying cheap 35mm film cameras.

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