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SASEEP Cornerstone Leaders of the Center Grand Opening

The Center Grand Opening represents a significant milestone in the heart of the University. We are pleased that key leaders in SASEEP took up the charge to work on efforts over a period of several years to make the new Native Center entitled the Esaktima Center a reality. As we embark upon this celebration we wish to applaud Rena Horse, the Native Success Coordinator/Counselor, Jose Mejia, EOP Senior Lead of Admissions and Outreach and Transitional Programs Coordinator, Alejandra Avina, EOP Administrative Analyst, Dr. Chao Vang, Assistant Vice President for Educational Equity Programs, Anne Cheng, Budget Analyst, and Kevin Nguyen, Lead Operations Analyst for SASEEP, for their work to advance the Esaktima Center and to provide lead guidance in the planning details and execution of projects to bring the Center to fruition.

We also honor the magnificent work of the Esaktima Planning Committee and its members for their commitment and dedication. Together, SASEEP has worked as a unified whole in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs, the Division of Administration and Business Affairs through the work of Facilities, and with outside contractors and community supporters to make the Center projects come to life.

Special thanks is extended to our SASEEP Media Team led by Letrice Fowler for her lead work to market the Center and to showcase the great work being done to unveil the Center activities and initiatives, along with Phong Tran and University Marketing and Communications. We salute these cornerstone leaders for amplifying the work and assuring its success.

Center Grand Opening General Information

Theme “Honoring Our Native Students”

Background Leaders and Supporters

The Center Grand Opening is a reflection of the hard work, commitment and leadership of the campus to provide a broad range of services and support to amplify the voices of underserved students and to foster an even greater sense of belonging and educational equity support to students from throughout the campus. The first ever Esaktima Center will be housed under the Division of Student Affairs, under the leadership of Dr. Aniesha Mitchell, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Associate Vice President Dr. Marcellene Watson-Derbigny. The overarching Director for the affinity centers is being led by the Assistant Vice President, Dr. Chao Vang. Working together, with Center Coordinator Rena Horse, the vibrancy of the Center and the services it will provide have been highly anticipated with much excitement. This great work could not have been accomplished without the support of Native Success Planning Committee (listed fully on the webpage), the College of SSIS, the Ethnic Studies Faculty and Department Chair, Dr. Annette Reed, Anne Cheng Budget Analyst, Kevin Nguyen, SASEEP Administrative Lead, Dr. Susan Collins, the Infrastructure Project Lead, Grant Watkins and Mark Perry from Facilities, Karyl Burwell, Executive Director of Strategic Business Resources, and Susie Valdez from Student Affairs IT. Most of all, the team of planners wish to thank President Robert S. Nelsen for his visionary support of the Center and for paving the way for its genesis and special thanks is extended to Dr. Luke Wood for carrying forth the vision under his leadership of the campus.

Key Objectives for the Grand Opening Celebration

The Grand Opening has the following goals and objectives:

  • Galvanize the campus and community partners to take part in the long awaited opening of the Esaktima Center, which is designed to promote and advance student success and educational equity.
  • Create an atmosphere of celebration and a moment of pride cementing the historical unveiling of the new Center
  • Provide a pathway of engagement for faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community stakeholders in support of the future work of the Center

Information about the Center Grand Opening

The Esaktima Center Grand Opening will be held on Friday, March 8th, 2024 from 10 am – 4 pm. Guests can select the components of the day they wish to attend by viewing the Grand Opening schedule.

Program Special Features

  • The event will include a breakfast, luncheon, and afternoon reception with Center tours and entertainment.
  • Keynote speakers, community guests, and opportunities to network will also be included.
  • Special art work will be featured in the Center.
  • VIP Tours of the Center will be held at specific points in the day.
  • Walk-In Tours of the Center will also be available throughout the day.
  • Cultural performances will be hosted in Lassen Hall on the first floor.

Schedule of Events

“Honoring Our Native Students: Schedule of Events”

Center Grand Opening

Opening Session

10:00 - 11:30 am
Esaktima Center Grand Opening and Breakfast Celebration
University Union Ballroom

Concurrent Sessions 1

11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Primary VIP Tours of the Center
Lassen Hall First Floor

11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Break and Lunch Served for all Guests Attending the Celebration
Ballroom I and II

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Resource Fair
Ballroom III

12:00 - 1:30 pm
Native Success Luncheon & Program
University Union Ballroom

Concurrent Sessions 2

1:30 - 2:30 pm
Entertainment, Speeches, and Awards
University Union Ballroom

1:30 - 2:30 pm
Primary VIP Tours of the Center
Lassen Hall, First Floor

Culminating Sessions

2:30 - 3:00 pm
Transition to Lassen Hall

3:00 - 4:00 pm
Center Blessing, Tours and Afternoon Interactive Programming and Entertainment
Lassen Hall, First Floor

Parking for the March 8th Grand Opening

Parking for the event is free on the 5th and 6th floors of Parking Structure 3. Special parking in ADA Lot 5 and Lot 6 (Faculty/Staff) will be provided for elders given its proximity to the Union.

For detailed directions to the Sacramento State campus and the campus map, visit the Directions to Campus page.

Directions to Campus page

RSVP for the Grand Opening Celebration

Please see the link provided below to register for the portions of the celebrations you wish to attend.

Esaktima Center Grand Opening

Sponsorship Information

"Honoring Our Native Students”

Sacramento State is very pleased to announce the Center Grand Opening. The overarching goal is to foster a sense of community for students and one that involves encouragement, mentoring, and service, as we collectively strive to advance educational equity and student success.

We are excited for this monumental occasion for the campus and community as a whole. If you wish to be a sponsor, please select one of the sponsorship levels below or an amount that works for you or your business/agency. Your support of this vital endeavor is valued and appreciated.

Legacy Level

  • Advertised as the presenting sponsor
  • Invitation to the grand openings and a speaking opportunity
  • Acknowledgement in the printed program and promotional materials before and during the event
  • Logo and/or Name on the webpage and on social media
  • Logo and/or Name on the printed program advertising
  • Name mention in Press Releases

Preservation Level

  • Invitation to the opening reception and a speaking opportunity
  • Acknowledgement in the printed program and promotional materials before and during the event
  • Logo and/or Name on the webpage and on social media
  • Logo and/or Name on the printed program advertising

Heritage Level

  • Invitation to the opening reception and a speaking opportunity
  • Acknowledgement in the printed program and promotional materials before and during the event

Note: Contributions of any sponsorship level are gladly accepted in support of this auspicious occasion.

To be recognized in the printed materials for the Center Grand Openings, the sponsorship deadline is Friday, March 1, 2024.

Book Your VIP Tour of the New Center

There will be a scheduled VIP Tour walk through of the Esaktima Center between 11:30 am and 12:00 pm, as well as in the afternoon between 1:30 pm and 2:00 pm. Please plan your bookings in advance using the link below. In addition, there will be Walk-in Tours between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm for the general campus and community.

Note: Tours will be scheduled in 30-minute increments.

Book Your VIP Tour

Planning Committee for the Grand Opening

  • Dr. Marcellene Watson-Derbigny, Associate Vice President, Student Retention and Academic Success (Program Planning)
  • Dr. Chao Vang, Assistant Vice President, Educational Equity Programs and Student Success (Program Planning and Sponsorships)
  • Rena Horse, Native Success Coordinator and Counselor for the Esaktima Center (Lead Planner)
  • Jose Mejia, EOP Senior Lead, Admissions and Transitional Programs (Outreach)
  • Anne Cheng, Budget Analyst, SASEEP (Budget and Logistics)
  • Kevin Nguyen, SASEEP Lead Administrative Support Coordinator (Logistics)
  • Alejandra Avina (Logistics and Volunteer Coordination)
  • Nicole Fowler (Photographer and Videographer)
  • Phong Tran (Lead Student Designer)

Esaktima Committee (Native Success Planning Team)

Sacramento State

  • Dr. Annette Reed, Ethnic Studies Dept. Chair
  • Dr. Brian Baker, ETHN-Faculty
  • Amber Bill, ETHN-Faculty
  • Anthony Burris, ETHN-Faculty
  • Nia Gregory, ETHN-Faculty
  • Dr. Rose Soza War-Soldier, ETHN-Faculty
  • Dr. Boatamo Mosupyoe, Assoc. Dean - SSIS
  • Dr. Dianne Hyson, Dean of SSIS
  • Dr. Sue Hobbs, Dept. Chair, Undergraduate Studies in Education
  • Dr. Tamara Cheshire, ANTH-Lecturer
  • Jose Martinez, Graduate Studies
  • Dr. Ed Mills, VP, Student Affairs Chief Enrollment Officer
  • Dr. Marcellene Watson-Derbigny, AVP - Student Retention & Academic Success
  • Rena Horse, ‘Esaḱtima Center/SASEEP
  • Jose Mejia, EOP/NSP/SASEEP
  • Stella Cuevas, ‘Esaḱtima Center/SASEEP
  • Pauline Ghost, Student- ENIT Pres.
  • Maria Elena Pulido-Sepulveda, Student- ENIT Secretary
  • Amanda Croteau, Student/SASEEP
  • Juliet Marie Maestas, Student

Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California

  • Ivan Senock

Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians

  • James Sarmento
  • Sigrid Benson
  • Jonathan Geary
  • Adam Tejada
  • Jacky Calanchini

Ione Band of Miwok Indians

  • Anthony Burris

United Auburn Indian Community

  • Crystal Blue
  • Anthony Ruiz
  • Derrick Goodwin

Wilton Rancheria, California

  • Anthony Wilson
  • Joshua Martinez

Volunteer Opportunities

The Center Grand Opening will include an opportunity to give back through volunteering in support of the event. We have a variety of volunteer shifts and opportunities. A volunteer training will be held on February 28th, 2024 at 2 pm to review the elements of the program via Zoom and logistical needs in preparation for the program will be covered during that time. If you are unable to attend a Zoom recording will be provided. Upon signing up to volunteer the Zoom link will be sent to you.

Use the button below to determine how best to serve and support the Grand Openings to help assure program success.

Volunteer Opportunities

Thank you in advance for your support to help with the Center Grand Opening as we unveil the new Native Center to support and guide the work of helping educational equity students.

Faculty Engagement in the Center Grand Opening

We are excited to host you and your classes for the Esaktima Center Grand Opening. We are honored to have you and your classes participate in this endeavor. The Grand Opening will celebrate the theme of “Honoring Our Native Students” We have several components that you are able to bring your class to in order to foster engagement and celebration on Friday, March 8th. Here is a summary of components that are great options for your class:

10:00 – 11:30 am
Celebratory Breakfast
University Union Ballroom, 1st Floor

2:00 – 4:00 pm
Center Tours and Celebration Activities
Lassen Hall, 1st Floor

Please register your class using the button below. Thanks for supporting the Center Grand Openings.

Class Registration

Accommodation Services

Thank you for your interest in attending the Grand Opening on Friday, March 8th from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. If you need accommodation services to access this event, please email with your request. Thanks for your support and we look forward to serving you.