To Infinity and Beyond!

photo 1aBy Adrienne Scott

To boldly go where no man has gone before. Who doesn’t know the opening line of Star Trek? But let’s face it, we are 12 years into the 21st century, and unless you have $20 million to spare on an hour trip to zero gravity, most of us earthlings are not leaving the home planet anytime soon. Warp speed or TARDIS travel aside, what’s a student to do?photo 1

Well, the CSU, Chico museum studies students of fall 2012 took up the Star Trek mission and boldly built an exhibition that pays tribute to the brave voyagers and stunning beauty of our solar system. The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology’s Infinity and Beyond: Humanity’s Quest to Explore Space takes visitors on a virtual journey from the earliest celestial observations of ancient civilizations to the most recent NASA success, landing Curiosity on Mars.

photo 2bThe exhibit asks, will humans colonize space? What obstacles are left to overcome? Who will those bold, intrepid astronauts be? Do you have the right stuff? Should we even go before we clean up our own planet?

Come see sights that are literally out of this world. Join the conversation about humanity’s future beyond Earth. Unlike true intergalactic travel, on this museum trip, you can be to infinity and back again in just under an hour, for free. Journeys take off all semester Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Museum portal located in the Meriam Library complex across from the library’s main entrance. Have a nice flight!

Upcoming events in conjunction with this exhibit include:
Heavy Construction Made Weightless: Building the International Space Station, a talk by NASA photo 4Astronaut Dr. Stephen K. Robinson

Dr. Robinson will describe and show spectacular photos of his 4th mission to space, which was the final construction task for the International Space Station in 2010.

Thursday, February 7 in the Performing Arts Center 144 from 4 – 5 p.m. This is a free, public event. 

Lunchtime Space Flicks

Voyage back in time to see the vintage sci-films and TV shows that shape our perceptions of outer space every Wednesday at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology from 12:00-1:00 pm in our museum lobby.

View the movie schedule:

For more information about museum events, call 530-898-5397 or email

CNAP: Building a Strong Future Starts Today

Gina SimsBy Gina Sims, Health Education Specialist

It was the trees that first brought me to Chico, when I was 17 years old. I fell in love with the tree-lined streets that reminded me of my hometown of Chicago. I spent my undergrad years biking and swimming in beautiful Bidwell Park, studying at the Meriam library and downtown coffee shops, and enjoying the local music and art scene with friends.

As I near 40, Chico is so much more than just a college town to me. This is my home.  The strong sense of community here nourishes me. Chico is the place where I met my husband, gave birth to my children, and found my career as a health educator. My strong network of friends—along with the local farmers, artists, and community members—inspires me. Someone asked me recently if I’d ever leave Chico, and all I could say in response was “Why would I?”

As a health education specialist at CSU, Chico’s Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion (CNAP, pronounced “snap”), I am able to positively impact the health of many Chicoans.  CNAP works in collaboration with over 150 school and community partners to meet the health and nutrition needs of over 100,000 residents in rural Northern California. 

CNAP provides pre-professional practice, service learning, and research opportunities for more than 120 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Our students and staff come from a variety of academic departments, including nutrition and food science, kinesiology, social work, health and community services, sociology, education, communications, and business, just to name a few. CNAP helps needy families access healthy foods, and we promote the consumption of whole foods, daily physical activity, and garden-based learning to reduce hunger and obesity rates.

CNAP staff and students engage in a plethora of service-learning activities throughout the year.“CNAPers” can be seen in the North State leading cooking lessons, teaching children how to grow fruits and vegetables, helping families access nutrition assistance programs, conducting research to evaluate program effectiveness, engaging people of all ages in physical activity, assisting with playground renovations, preparing local foods for tastings, and connecting with local organizations and media outlets. These Chico State students are empowered by giving back to their college town in a meaningful way, and the children they work with adore them and are inspired to make healthier choices.

One of CNAP’s core programs is Harvest of the Month (HOTM). Each month, we provide over 30,000 fruit or vegetable samples from local farms to children and their families. We produce Farmer of the Month newsletters and videos to showcase the farming history and activities on each farm.

kids playingYoung kids now see the growers at our farmers’ markets as rock stars. They’ve seen them on TV. They speak up and ask their families to take them to the market to find “the carrot man,” and I’ve even seen them ask farmers for autographs. That, to me, speaks volumes about the effectiveness of our programs.

We also have research results to show we are making a difference. In fact, evaluation of CNAP’s HOTM program found that students participating in the program are almost three times more likely to select fruits and vegetables every day from school salad bars.

I am proud to call Chico my home. Though I wasn’t born here, a big part of me knows that I have grown up here. I have chosen to raise my family here, and I have built a successful career working to teach children how to grow, harvest, cook, and enjoy healthful food. I work closely with our dynamic Chico State faculty and students, dedicated farmers, engaged community members, and families to celebrate the bounty of agriculture that surrounds us and take pride in feeding our community’s children well.

Planning Events and Honoring Heroes

Alison HealeyBy Alison Healey, senior
Business- Marketing, and Recreation Management Major

“Recreation… So you’re majoring in playing?”

This is what statement I hear from many people when I tell them I am majoring in recreation. Most people don’t realize the recreation major encompasses many fields, including event planning, parks management, hospitality, and tourism.

veterans logo

Through my Recreation 474 class, Association Operations and Events, I was able to plan an event from start to finish. Throughout the semester my classmates and I helped plan Honoring Our Veterans event, campus event held on November 10, 2012.I am focusing on the event planning side of recreation and have become more passionate about it as I take higher level classes. This is because these courses actually let you get hands-on experience within your field of choice.

This was an event in honor of all veterans, but it focused specifically those that were associated with Chico State or the Chico Community. Chico State has been recognized as a veteran-friendly school by a number of publications, and this year the university wanted to take it a step further by hosting a special day for veterans. This is where my class came in.

displays at the veterans eventMy class was “hired” by Chico State to put on the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event. We were given a budget and a venue that we had to work with. Besides those two points we were on our own.

Throughout the semester, we had to come up with the marketing plan, the menu, the entertainment, the decorations, and the program. I knew event planning was very detail oriented, but I never fully comprehended it until I was in this class. Details such as picking colors for the decorations that wouldn’t offend the veterans and following military protocol were not things we considered in our initial planning.

veterans in attendanceAlthough this was not my first time planning an event, it was beneficial to have my instructor, Polly Crabtree, mentor me through the process. She made us think about what many would consider the basics in event planning in a new way.

For example, inviting the guests seemed like it would be one of the easiest parts of the event. But, we were wrong. Because of the wide age range of our guests,  simple e-mail to everyone would most likely not reach the older population, but a letter in the mail might not reach the younger population. Professor Crabtree guided us through figuring out how to reach our target audience in multiple ways in order to reach everyone.

veteran flags
Student event planners from the Recreation 474 class at the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event on November 10, 2012.

In the end, the Chico State Honoring Our Veterans event was a hit among the veterans and community members. As people left the event, I was thanked numerous times for my efforts. At times this class was challenging, but it was all worth it once I saw how happy and honored all the veterans looked after our event.

The Orion’s Going #DigitalFirst

Ben Mullin - Journalism and English Literature major, and Managing Editor, The OrionBy Ben Mullin, Journalism and English Literature major
Managing Editor, The Orion

When The Orion news team convened for the first meeting of the semester, I told them all to take a deep breath and close their eyes.

Some raised their eyebrows. Some cracked hesitant smiles. But they humored me while I began my speech:

“I want you to imagine you’re all big shot reporters for the New York Times,” I said, eliciting genuine smiles from the group. “Suddenly, you get the call: the Empire State Building is on fire. You rush over to the scene and talk to the police, who tell you the building could collapse at any minute.”

I paused for dramatic effect. It’s possible one of them yawned.

screen cap of daily newscast
Daily Newscasts posted to YouTube now fill the gap between print issues.

“Suddenly, you’re confronted by a mother who’s out of her mind with worry because her baby’s stuck on one of the floors. When she asks you about the situation, what do you do? Tell her everything you know right away, or ask her to wait until tomorrow morning for the print edition?”

It may sound like a no-brainer, but there are still a few news organizations who operate using the latter method: they report the news all day and put their stories into the next day’s newspaper, just in time for it to be outdated and irrelevant.

Up until about last year, The Orion, Chico State’s student-run newspaper did just that, even though we’ve had a website since the late ’90s. A few stories inevitably found their way online between weekly editions, but the majority was posted Tuesday night, right before our print edition came out on Wednesday.

orion twitter feed
@TheOrion_News Twitter account posts stories as they break throughout the week.

This semester was different. The majority of news writers made Twitter accounts for The Orion and posted brief bulletins whenever they noticed something interesting or newsworthy happening on campus. When we were notified that Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Brett Olson went missing during the annual Labor Day float, we posted it to Twitter immediately. When we heard that Governor Brown was visiting campus to promote Proposition 30, it was online within the hour. And when Chico State president Paul Zingg suspended the Greek system, we had a videographer, a reporter, and two photographers on the scene, with coverage to match.

On Halloween weekend, reporters and photographers stayed out until 2 a.m. capturing images and stories for publication the next day. I would routinely get called at O’Dark Thirty from staff writer Pedro Quintana, who slept during the day so he could listen to the police scanner at night.

The Orion isn’t the first collegiate newspaper to attempt to bolster its online presence through Facebook, Twitter, and a neverending stream of online stories. In many ways, we’re behind the times. But this year, the Associated Collegiate Press acknowledged our efforts by naming The Orion as a finalist for an online Pacemaker award, widely regarded as the Pulitzer Prize of digital college journalism.

orion app screen cap
Screen shot of The Orion app, now available for Apple and Android devices.

When the awards were announced last semester, The Orion wasn’t among the winners. But most of the editors saw our failure to clinch the award as inspiration to try again next semester, with a focus on delivering news to Chico State’s students in real time, with text, photos, and video. We’re also launching an app which students can use to get their Chico State news from their smartphones.

Chico State, welcome to the future of journalism. We’ll see you all on the other side.


Visit The Orion online at,, or

Winter Break Plans? Zzzz…

  1. In the midst of fall final exams last month, we asked our Facebook and Twitter community what they were looking forward to the most during winter break. Aside from graduation and travel, it seems like most Wildcats are hoping to catch up on their sleep!

    Check out the responses below:
  2. Suzi Bailey
    Relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and cleaning my apartment
  3. Greg Bloom
    the arrival of the next solar maximum, an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or Earth’s collision with a planet called “Nibiru”.
  4. gregoriardz
    @chicostate gonna be glad to get outta the #crazystorms we’ve been having lately! I’ll be back for #Januaryintercession though! #2weekbreak
  5. Well, we hope you are all resting up and enjoying your time off.  Tell us how you’re spending your break in the comments section below! See you back in classes January 28!
    Want to stay in the loop with campus news and events?
    Follow @ChicoState on Twitter.