Category Archives: Programs


We all know selecting a college is a tough choice. Here at Chico State, we want new students to be sure. That is why we offer an open house and day of activities that will help prospective students decide if Chico is the place for them.

In anticipation of this year’s Choose Chico! event (April 6, 2013), we asked our current students and alumni on Twitter to share why they chose Chico State. The response was overwhelming; Chico is a special place.

Many based their decision on our program offerings:

Several students/alumni mentioned our small class sizes:

Some even chose Chico because of a personal connection:

And, of course, almost everyone mentioned the overall atmosphere of Chico including downtown, Bidwell Park, friendly folks, and our beautiful campus:

Have another reason to share? Leave a comment and tell us why you choose Chico.

Admitted students, visit us this Saturday, April 6 for Choose Chico!:

Follow us on Twitter @ChicoState.

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

Model United Nations: Best Experience of My College Career

By Chelsey Korman, Senior, Journalism

The Model United Nations is extremely difficult to describe in only 250 words, but here is my attempt. When I first started taking the class, the officers raved about how close we would all become and what a great experience Model United Nations is. To be honest, it just sounded like a whole lot of work to me. Turns out they were telling the truth.

We spend most of our time together, laughing, telling jokes, making fun of each other—you know, typical things you do with your friends. Then there is the other part of the class, the more personal level where you study a chosen country for an entire semester. You come to the realization that you can have an entire conversation with someone about a certain country, its political views, its problems, and its standing in the international world.

It is at that moment during the conversation that you realize how much you have learned from one class and the fact that you gathered and interpreted all of that knowledge on your own. Nobody put the notes on the board, and nobody emailed a PowerPoint. Hours upon hours of web searching, finding the information, and turning it into a speech to prepare for the position that you defended in conference.

There’s no doubt that Model United Nations is a lot of work. It’s stressful and there were quite a few times when I thought “what on earth have I done taking this class?” But when you are standing in front of a room of 400 people speaking about human trafficking, dressed in a shield of confidence because you know exactly what you are talking about because you taught it to yourself, that’s when it’s all worth it.

Model United Nations gives you the opportunity to see where your talents and passions lie, whether it is international relations, politics, public speaking, or a combination of those skills. I can honestly say that Model UN has been the best experience of my college career, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (no pun intended).

Take a Hike!

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) fulfills a variety of important functions: it provides numerous opportunities for graduate student research projects from archaeology to zoology; it serves as an outdoor classroom for third and fourth grade students who learn about its flora and fauna within the framework of California State Science Standards and California E.E.I.; and it provides a setting for the general public, students and non-students, to learn the nuances of its ecology from a number of exceptional naturalists in our area.

Beginning March 17 students and the public will have the chance to experience some of the remote and beautiful treasures of the BCCER as we offer the first of our 2012 Spring Hikes. Thematic  hikes take place almost every weekend through May and range from general natural history hikes to more specific topic such as orienteering, soils and bird song. These hikes are offered only in the spring of each year and provide a rare opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge from experts in their respective fields.

Come hike through the spring colors and pack a lunch to enjoy along the creek. These hikes will vary in difficulty allowing an opportunity for everyone.

March Hikes 

•March 17th – Wildflowers, Geology, and Natural History (Strenuous)

•March 25th – Orienteering: Finding your Place in the BCCER (Strenuous)

•March 31st – Outdoor Survival Skills 1 (Moderate)

April Hikes 

•April 8th – Flower Identification (Moderate)

•April 14th – Wildflowers, Geology, and Natural History (Strenuous)

•April 22nd – Spring Bird Identification (Moderate)

•April 28th – Identifying Spring Bird Song (Moderate)

May Hikes 

•May 5th – Outdoor Survival Skills 2 (Moderate)

•May 19th – Soils, Landforms and Vegetation of the BCCER (Moderate)

June Hikes 

•June 1st – BCCER and BCEP Annual Butterfly Survey (Moderate)

A maximum of 15 people per hike unless otherwise indicated.  Trips are free to the public but charitable donations are gladly accepted. For more information and to sign up call the BCCER office at 530-898-5010 or email them at

Photos courtesy of BCCER.

Let’s Do Some Dancin’!

By Rory Miller, Assistant Sports Information Director

Re-posted from Chico State Athletics.

For fans, coaches and players assembled upstairs Sunday night at Madison Bear Garden, the atmosphere was one of anxiousness for the Chico State women’s basketball team, as the Wildcats waited to see if their late-season heroics were enough to earn a berth into the NCAA Championship Tournament.

Senior Jay Flores has earned All-Tournament team recognition this season and will be storming the court at the NCAA Championship Tournament this weekend in La Jolla, Ca.

For the Chico State men, there was more of an air of confidence, as the Wildcats, knowing they had locked up an NCAA West Region berth, awaited word of their seed, first round opponent and where the ’Cats would be playing. It turned out to be a great night to be a Wildcat, as the NCAA Selection Show included both the Chico State men’s and women’s teams in their respective fields of 64 for a chance to play for the national title.

The Chico State women grabbed the No. 8 seed in the West, and will travel to San Diego to take on the region’s top seed, UC San Diego, on Friday. On the men’s side, the Wildcat men earned the fifth seed in the West Region, and will head to Bellingham, Wash. Friday for a rematch with No. 4 Humboldt State – the team which beat the ’Cats Saturday in the CCAA Championship Tournament final – in opening round NCAA Championship Tournament action.

Most seasons, the NCAA Selection Show waits until the very end to announce the West Region teams, but this year the announcement came in the first five minutes, and when the women’s bracket revealed Chico State among the eight selections, a huge cheer erupted at The Bear. Players hugged, coaches wiped their brows in relief and received well wishes from fans, as the excitement of more March basketball was at last a reality.

Senior Natasha Smith gained the title of All-CCAA Second Team for the 2011-12 season.

“I’m extremely excited for the team, and especially for fifth-year senior Natasha Smith,” Head Coach Brian Fogel said following Sunday’s announcement. “The team kept improving week-to-week, and we’re playing our best basketball of the season right now. We’re a confident group, and we’re planning on making some noise this week in San Diego.”

The Wildcat women, 18-10 overall, closed out the regular season with five straight wins, then knocked off Humboldt State 62-60 in the CCAA Championship Tournament before bowing Saturday to eventual tourney champion Cal State Monterey Bay. Friday’s NCAA West Region opener will mark the third time Chico State and UC San Diego have met this season, with the Tritons – ranked No. 1 in the country starting the week – winning both contests, though they needed double overtime to down the ’Cats Jan. 7 at Acker Gym.

The cheers at The Bear were just as loud for the Chico State men, as the Selection Show announcement officially gave the program its first NCAA Championship Tournament appearance since the 2004-05 season.

The Wildcats, 24-7 overall, are also heading into the West Regional on an impressive roll, having won 10 of their last 12 contests. Friday’s first round match-up with Humboldt State will be the fourth time this season the ’Cats and Lumberjacks have gone head-to-head, with Chico State winning two of the first three.

March 9-12, 2012
La Jolla, Calif.

Friday, March 9  – First Round
No. 1 UC San Diego (28-2) vs. No. 8 Chico State (18-10)
No. 2 Alaska-Anchorage (27-4) vs. No. 7 Cal State L.A. (18-11)
No. 3 Grand Canyon (23-3) vs. No. 6 Cal Poly Pomona (19-8)
No. 4 Western Washington (21-7) vs. No. 5 Cal State Monterey Bay (21-8)

Saturday, March 10 – Second Round
Regional Semifinal No. 1
Regional Semifinal No. 2

Monday, March 12 – Third Round
Regional Championship Game

March 9-12, 2012
Bellingham, Wash.

Friday, March 9 – First Round
No. 1 Western Washington (25-5) vs. No. 8 Grand Canyon (19-7)
No. 2 Alaska-Anchorage (22-6) vs. No. 7 Montana State-Billings (18-11)
No. 3 Seattle Pacific (21-7) vs. No. 6 Dixie State (20-6)
No. 4 Humboldt State (22-7) vs. No. 5 Chico State (24-7)

Saturday, March 10 – Second Round
Regional Semifinal No. 1
Regional Semifinal No. 2

Monday, March 12 – Third Round
Regional Championship Game

Why Our Ag Majors Are Growing

By Jennifer Ryder Fox, dean of the College of Agriculture

After reading the January 19, 2012 Yahoo Education article “College Majors That Are Useless,” one might be led to believe that the author, Terence Loose, has something against eating, wearing clothes, enjoying a natural landscape, or smelling a bouquet of roses. What other reason could he have for singling out Agriculture, Animal Science, and Horticulture as three of the five most useless degrees? Mr. Loose’s rationale and indeed the original ranking mentioned in the article are certainly not based on fact.

In contrast to the Yahoo article, a Purdue University study funded by the USDA projected an estimated 54,400 annual openings for college graduates in food, renewable energy, and the environment between 2010 and 2015. The study projected only 53,500 qualified graduates will be available each year and stated that employers have expressed a preference for graduates from colleges of agriculture and life sciences that tend to have more relevant work experience and greater affinity for those careers.

Further demonstrating the need for educated agriculturalists, the November 2009 Monthly Labor Review projected particularly strong (double-digit) growth in certain agricultural careers such as agricultural inspectors, animal scientists, food scientists and technologists, natural sciences managers, pest control workers, soil and plant scientists, and veterinarians. A mere two weeks ago, the Washington Post printed the results of a Georgetown University study showing that recent college graduates with degrees in agriculture and natural resources were among those with the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 7 percent, surpassed only by graduates with degrees in health (5.4 percent) and education (5.4 percent).

Across the country state support of public universities is dwindling, and the consequence of budgetary decreases is seen with some universities making choices about programs to reduce or eliminate. In a few states, agricultural programs have been targeted for reduction or even elimination. State supported universities in California have also been affected by reduced state budgets, but there’s no talk of eliminating any of the universities’ agricultural programs, as agriculture is the top economic driver in California and generates over $33 billion in revenue for the state while producing over 350 products. Rather, the effect of reduced state support has been to tighten our belts and look to external grants and contracts and other funding sources so that we can serve our increasing number of students.

The California Community College Centers for Excellence recently completed an environmental scan of the agriculture value chain in California and found that there are currently 2.5 million individuals employed in more than 800 job titles within the agriculture value chain in the state. The average annual salary for agricultural value chain workers is $50,000. While the number of production jobs is expected to decrease in the next five years, a net increase of 181,000 jobs is expected throughout the entire agricultural value chain, which includes support, research, technology, production, processing/packaging, marketing, and sales and distribution. No one disputes that with advanced technology and mechanization, skilled production jobs in agriculture (or any field for that matter) have decreased and will most likely continue to give way to mechanization.

Here at CSU, Chico, the optimism for agricultural careers can be seen in the 50 percent enrollment growth in programs offered through the College of Agriculture during the past five years. And across the country, agriculture programs are seeing a surge in student interest. Clearly, our students and those in other ag programs are seeing the tremendous career opportunities available in agriculture and are jumping at the opportunity to pursue them, Mr. Loose’s puzzling attack on their choice of major notwithstanding.