Harper College

Cultural Center

Three images showing students in the Cultural Center

Harper’s Cultural Center 
Building D, Room D-281 (above Starbucks)


Under the vision of Dr. Avis Proctor, Dr. Tamara Johnson led the opening of the Cultural Center in November 2021, thanks to the research and request of many Harper employees and students. The Cultural Center at Harper College is a culturally-affirming, educational lounge and event space for students and employees. Serving as an academic and social counterspace (learn more about counterspaces below), employees and students are encouraged to build connections, express their identities and values, engage in dialogue, and enjoy a place where they can have a sense of belonging on campus. Brittany Barber serves as the Manager of the Cultural Center. 

The Cultural Center enhances the Harper community by: 

  • Providing a culturally-affirming place for studying, connection, learning, and celebration 
  • Creating opportunities for students and employees to engage in a variety of activities ranging from educational workshops and trainings to invited guest speakers and events that highlight diverse cultures and experiences
  • Offering meeting space for employee and student organization meetings
  • Encouraging and supporting an authentic sense of self so that all Harper faculty, staff, and students feel a strong sense of belonging and connection to the Harper community

Stop by and see for yourself why over 4,500 people attended the cultural center in 2022!

Looking For an Event Space?

The Cultural Center hosts a variety of opportunities for Harper faculty, staff, and students to get involved. If you are a student organization or employee department seeking to host an event in the space, please click the link below to submit your reservation request. Cultural centers were founded in the 1960's by Black students in response to hostile conditions on predominately white college campuses. It is because of their courage and activism, that cultural centers are present today. Historically and currently, cultural centers serve as safe spaces, particularly for those individuals with marginalized identities.
When designing programming and resources, we often seek to address the data reflecting our largest equity gaps. Accordingly, the reservation form was updated to request that those interested in reserving space articulate how their prospective event aligns with the purpose of the Cultural Center.

The Cultural Center offers:

  • A kitchenette for use by students and employees 
  • Three computer stations
  • A variety of games like giant Jenga, Uno, Monopoly, cards, dominos, and more
  • Large and small conference rooms with large televisions and universal design furniture. Each conference room is equipped with technology for Bluetooth, virtual cameras for streaming and conferences, and internet access
  • A podium with an attached microphone
  • Light refreshments, hot coffee and hot water for tea
  • Dry-erase boards and markers in each conference room
  • Bean bag chairs for comfort 
  • Books that can be borrowed and articles on a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion topics
  • A Bluetooth speaker and cordless microphone for use while in the Center
  • A wide range of music that plays daily throughout the space
  • An Interfaith Prayer Space for prayer, reflection and meditation near the Cultural Center for Harper faculty, staff and students to use while the Center is open. Located on the second floor, room D290. Near the elevators!


  • Every month the Cultural Center offers a host of signature programs and exciting events. Check out our latest programs and upcoming events.

What is a Counterspace?

Counterspaces can provide opportunities to increase human, cultural and social capital that is often limited to lower-income and racially marginalized communities. They provide space for students and employees who come from oppressed and marginalized populations to feel validated and appreciated for their stories, and allow them to unpack other challenges and questions they have. 

  • Counterspaces provide safe spaces that simultaneously validate and critique one’s interconnected self and group identity—that would enable radical growth. (M. Keels, pg. 2).
  • Counterspaces are known to become effective spaces where students can feel safe and comfortable, where they can get back a bit of their mental bandwidth that is depleted by daily pressures (Cia Verschelden, Bandwidth Recovery, pg. 97) and one model is commonly known as a multicultural center.
  • A center, like the one opening in the early fall at Harper College, can also be seen as identity-affirming spaces to help students maintain a strong sense of self while striving for school success (M. Keels, pg. 34).
Last Updated: 12/14/23