Tag Archives: chico experience

Student Finds Community—and Himself—at Chico State

By Kory Masen, Junior, Sociology and Women’s Studies

I have experienced Chico State from the point of view of several identities, all of which come together to form the person I am. I came to this campus as a Mexican, first-generation, low-income, pansexual, freshwoman; since then, some of my identities have changed and evolved as I continued to educate myself, and I now identify as a feminist, queer, transgender man.


Most of my education on feminism and activism came from the many experiences and opportunities offered to me through my internships with the AS Gender and Sexuality Equity Center (GSEC). There I found my identity as a transgender man and a feminist; I will forever be indebted and grateful to this amazing organization for changing my life for the better. It offered a safe space and community for me to learn and grow, and in a short amount of time, the people there became the family and support system I was lacking in my personal life.

As a sociology and women’s studies double major, I find myself surrounded by like-minded people in the classroom—the same is true for the clubs and organizations I am a member of. As a transgender queer person of color on this campus, I can confidently say I have found a community. But, in regards to my relationship with the campus at large outside of those communities, I can’t say I feel the same safety and support. I have experienced discrimination at various levels that are clearly based around ignorance and lack of education.


I have brought several of the issues I’ve faced on campus to the administration, and I’ve been amazed at the response in a very positive way. At Chico State, we pride ourselves on the value of diversity, and the administration is willing to take action to uphold that value. And organizations such as GSEC and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion bring diverse events to campus, educating the community about issues surrounding the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups.

 I was fortunate to be a part of the Queer People of Color Society (QPOCS!) panel that allowed a space for our experiences to be heard and seen as people of color within the queer community. We have ties to mend within the queer community itself, but an even greater challenge in creating bonds with the campus and local community.I recently attended the GSEC’s sixth annual LGBTQ+ Conference, and it was a great example of the work GSEC does to advocate for the queer community. There were speakers from San Francisco talking about how we construct gender in our society and how gender was imposed on us as children. Also, local leaders from our Chico State queer community took us on a journey that spoke to the experience of being tokenized and “othered” as an LGBTQ+ person.


All in all, this is what our campus needs more of. If there is anything I would ask for from any institution, it is education. Respect, validation, and safety all derive from educating our communities. I am proud to say I am an activist and advocate in this institution that is trying to service the marginalized communities that form my identity.

Nobody is perfect, especially within a college setting, but we can try our best to educate as many people as we can in order to create socially responsible and respectable individuals. After all, that is what being a Wildcat is all about.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Upward Bound: “Once a UB’er, always a UB’er.”

ImageBy Humberto Ramos, Senior, Journalism and Spanish major

If you ask me if I work, the answer is “yes.” But explaining what I do? That is tougher—it depends on the time of the year or even the season.

I work for the Upward Bound Projects at Chico State. This is an academic program that helps low-income, first-generation high school students who are college bound but don’t have the necessary financial resources or family background to help them take that next step.

I have done everything from participating in the program during high school to volunteering for the summer program hosted at Chico State and tutoring during the school year to serving as president of the Upward Bound Alumni Association.

As a new participant of the program, I never really realized how much hard work and effort it took to apply to college. I also never realized that I was preparing for college years before I would actually start thinking about applying. The tutoring, summer program classes, and advising that I received were all necessary for me to stay on the path to college. I would have had no clue about how to deal with applications and requirements if it weren’t for the help of Upward Bound.

As a participant of the program, I also started to make a lot of friends. And those Upward Bound friends started to become family. One of the greatest Upward Bound catchphrases is, “Once a UB’er, always a UB’er.” I run into UB friends I haven’t seen for years, and we greet each other like we had never said goodbye.

I also spent time as a residential advisor for the summer program. The position requires rigorous courses during the spring semester and then six weeks of living in the dorms with the students. In those six weeks, the students take classes and have jobs on or around campus during the day. In the evenings, they study at the dorms.

This was a great experience because I had a chance to make such a great difference in student lives. Participants have told me that they look up to me as a big brother because of the help I have given them not only in school, but also in their lives in general. I was up late at night answering questions are about college and how I had to go through obstacles myself growing up. I shared the experience of growing up with parents that understood only Spanish, being part of a low-income family, and other challenges that I had to overcome growing up.

Most of the students also come from tough backgrounds, and I tell them that if I made it this far, they can go much further. Giving each other feedback and support is the main reason we consider Upward Bound a family. So you could say I have a lot of siblings in the program—in addition my biological brother and sister!

I never realized that making a positive impact in young people’s lives could be so rewarding. I always tell the members of the program that they should give back to the program in whatever way they possibly can because of the many great things that the program gave to us as we were growing up. They are things that I can use in the future and I will never regret spending my time on. This is truly the greatest reward of being part of the Upward Bound family.

Growing from “Like” to “Love”

By Katheryn Robichaud, Communication Studies, ’13

When I came to Chico State as a freshman, I was hesitant: How would the transition be? Is this the right school for me?

Katherine H blog picFor the first time, I was moving away from my home in Pleasanton, and I knew I would face some homesickness. I decided to dedicate freshman year to learning how to balance my time, studying for my classes, and becoming familiar with my new world. That year, I explored Chico, the downtown area, and Bidwell Park and made new friends living in the residence hall. By the end of my freshman year, I knew that I liked Chico, but I didn’t yet feel a strong connection to the campus and community.

Since orientation people had been telling me, “Make sure you get involved,” but I didn’t quite know how. I was unsure of what to do to feel more connected. My sophomore year, I decided to make joining a club a priority and ended up joining one within my communication studies major. The club helped me to meet people within my own area of interest and become friends with people in my classes.

At the same time, I became more familiar with the Chico area, learned all the streets around campus, and had got to know more of my professors and classmates. By the end of my sophomore year, I knew I really liked Chico.

Katherine H blog pic 2

But it was the third year that changed my entire college experience. My junior year, I became a Summer Orientation peer advisor, and it was one of the best opportunities I could have found.

As a Summer O leader, I trained for six months to become a Chico expert, and throughout the summer I got to welcome all the new freshmen and transfer students, orient them to campus, tell them the ins and outs of being a Chico State student, introduce them to graduation requirements, and help them pick out appropriate classes for their first semester. I got to share my own experiences with these students, and it felt great helping to kick-start their Chico Experience.

Meanwhile, I became friends with the other 28 incredible students who were hired as Summer Orientation leaders. Along with making connections with faculty on campus, I improved my teamwork skills, public speaking, and ability to interact with a different group of people every day. At the end of my third year, I loved Chico.

Katherine H blog pic 3

In my senior year, I continued with the Summer Orientation program as one of four senior staff members, meaning I got to help select the new members for the 2013 Summer Orientation, train them, and put on workshops to help the team bond. I concurrently had an on-campus internship, making it my busiest but most rewarding year. I now felt the strong connection to the campus and community that people had told me about when I first came to Chico. I finally fully understood that “getting involved” was the key to a well-rounded experience at Chico State.

I graduated this spring, and it is very hard to accept that this chapter of my life has come to an end. By graduation, I loved Chico State so much that I wished I could have stayed longer! After getting involved with Summer Orientation, making countless friends and connections on campus, and making an impact on new students, I can look back and say that coming to Chico State was the best decision I ever made.

My No.1 Piece of Advice: Get Involved!

By Layton Piver, Senior, Mathematics Education

Layton working for the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs office during Wildcat Welcome

Being a Chico State student is a way of life. We take great pride in our campus, great pride in our community, and great pride in our education. Chico State is a true college town—the opportunities available to students are unparalleled by any other university.

But when I came to Chico in the fall of 2010, I didn’t know that yet. I was just nervous, excited, worried, anxious, and everything in between. I knew only three people coming to Chico for college, and my biggest fears were not being able to meet people, not making friends, not fitting in—all the typical worries and anticipations of an incoming student.

But it took no longer than five minutes for me to meet all of my neighbors in the residence halls, make friends in class, meet others in the dining hall, and make connections with my peers. The big fear of meeting people flew out the window when I realized that everyone else was in the same position as I was.

Challenging myself to meet somebody new every day made me feel welcomed in this new environment. I met a lot of new people and shook a lot of hands, but I still didn’t feel like I had made many deep, personal connections with others. That all changed when I finally got involved on campus and committed myself to others.

By the spring of 2011, I had found my bearings, and this was the semester that Chico became my home. I wanted to get involved on campus, feel connected to the University, and not be just another student. I challenged myself to get involved with as many student organizations as possible and take on as many leadership roles as possible. I knew that when I looked back on my Chico Experience, I would want to know that I got the most out of it.

At the pasta Olympics for the Italian club, C.I.A.O.

This attitude has carried me through the past few years and has opened up countless opportunities that I would have never thought were possible before coming here. During my stay at Chico State, I’ve been the activities coordinator and treasurer for the Italian club (C.I.A.O.), student mentor and tutor through Project M.A.T.H., donations chair for Up ’til Dawn, social media and outreach chair for Be Chico: Day of Service and Wildcat Way Weekend (Aug. 30–Sept. 2), co-founder of the Wildcat Way, Greek Life paraprofessional, and recruitment chair and president of Alpha Sigma Phi. All of this involvement has helped shape my Chico Experience and has truly made Chico my home.

Summer Orientation 2013 Peer Advisor group photo

The most memorable experience of all was working for the Summer Orientation program as a peer advisor. I was able to help incoming students get acquainted, share my experience and knowledge with them, and bring my collegiate career full circle. Seeing the excitement and anticipation of these new students makes me wish I had another four years left.

I shared with these new students my No.1 piece of advice: GET INVOLVED!  Don’t wait for your friend or roommate to get involved, don’t wait for a professor to tell you to join a club—get out there and get involved! With over 200 student organizations , there is guaranteed to be something that will spark your interest. I challenge you, as a leader on this campus, to go out there and find that organization. By getting involved in clubs, sports, Greek life, whatever it may be, you’ll find your home and begin to create your own Chico Experience.

My Summer Checklist

By Shyna Deepak, Chico State Social Media Intern

Hello again! I’m back, and this time with a mission. It’s my first summer in Chico, and when I am not attending to my duties as Chico State’s social media intern, I’m out exploring. By the time I graduate, I want to have accomplished everything there is to do in Chico.

Part of this is just an effortless piece of the Chico Experience—in this college town, I can step off campus and be downtown.

But to challenge myself to take advantage of my time in Chico even more, I’m starting a summer to-do list. The season is coming to an end in a few weeks, and I want to make the most of it.

summer checklist

Keep checking our blog for more updates as I try to complete this list.


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!: http://www.csuchico.edu/admissions/choose_chico.shtml

Follow us on Twitter @ChicoState.

Facebook Cover Photo Challenge!

We want to put your photo here!
We want to put your photo here!

Help us choose CSU, Chico’s Facebook cover photo! Share your photos, and then help select from our favorites to be the next California State University, Chico Facebook page cover photo.

Photos should show off the best of Chico State and the Chico experience. Take photos of our beautiful campus in all its spring glory or your student club hard at work—or make a creative collage of campus scenes. All photos should represent your own work, be in good taste, and comply with the Chico State Social Media Comment Policy.

Photos need to be large enough to work for a Facebook cover photo (851p x 315p, file sizes of 1 to 2MB work well). Most current smartphone camera photos are OK. (Sorry, Instagramers—most Instagram images won’t have high enough resolution when cropped and enlarged to Facebook cover size.)

You may submit up to three photos.

How to Enter:
Share your photo(s) with us in one of three easy ways!

  1. Post it to our Facebook Timeline. Put “cover challenge” or “photo challenge” in the comment
  2. Tweet it to us by tagging @ChicoState and including #coverchallenge or #photochallenge.
  3. Email your photo as an attachment to PAintern1[at]csuchico.edu. Include “cover challenge” or “photo challenge” in the subject line.

Selection Process:
Share your photos with us by Monday, April 15, 2013, at 5 p.m. The Chico State social media team will select up to 10 photos to be featured in a photo album posted on our page Wednesday, April 17. The photographers’ names will accompany the photos, so feel free to brag to your friends if you’re featured. The photo within the album with the most “likes” by Wednesday, April 24, at 5 p.m. will become the next CSU, Chico Facebook cover photo!

Note: This challenge is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Facebook Inc. Any and all information provided with your submission is to California State University, Chico and not to Facebook.