CSU Voices and Views

Incredible Dreamers

By Dr. Terry Jones
Professor Emeritus of Social Work
Cal State East Bay

Dr. Terry Jones in commencement regalia

Dr. Terry Jones in commencement regalia

I can count on one hand the commencements missed in my 40 years at Cal State East Bay. It isn’t difficult to imagine being on a walker in my 90s and still attending commencement in full academic regalia. Even semi-retired, it is hard to stop participating in something that is both a rite of passage and reaffirmation of society’s highest principles.

There is this overwhelming feeling of joy at commencement. Yes, some of that is the relief of graduates who finished final tests or papers to earn their degrees – but, what I see is the lights turn on for kids in the audience as they watch a mother, brother or cousin cheered across the stage. The university is no longer abstract or distant. It is a place explored by the familiar footsteps of today’s graduates. First-generation college students dream not just for themselves, but for the family and friends that will follow. More …

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A Solid Foundation

By Nancy Yoho
VP of Geographic Information Systems, Rand McNally (retired)
Alumna of CSU Long Beach
 

Commencement 2013 at CSU Long Beach – from left to right: Steve, Nancy, Alison and Dan Yoho

Commencement 2013 at CSU Long Beach – from left to right: Steve, Nancy, Alison and Dan Yoho

The view from the commencement platform is extraordinary. A sea of black bachelor’s robes with gold lined stoles stretches out for the length of a sports field. In the front are the faculty and master’s graduates with their colorful hoods. Punctuating the view of square mortar boards is the occasional splash of neon and glitter. The messages on the caps are always positive – a celebration of effort, family, mentors and friends mixed with aspirations for the future. Surrounding this core of faculty and graduates are thousands of supporters here to cheer on their grad.
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Life’s Transitions

By Ian Ruddell
Chico State 2013 Graduate
CSU Student Trustee, 2011-2013
Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Scholar, 2010

Commencement at Chico State – from left to right: CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bob Linscheid

Commencement at Chico State – from left to right: CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bob Linscheid

Embracing Tim White and Bob Linscheid after receiving my bachelor’s degree, it hit me that this commencement at Chico State was my last official event as a California State University student and as a trustee. This was the end of an extraordinary experience and the beginning of a new journey.

Transitions always involve emotional reflection on growth, change, relationships lost and friends gained. My time at Chico State and in the CSU captured a period of personal realization, growth and change. I am leaving a lot of who I once was behind, including an identity and name.

Coming out to the CSU Board of Trustees as transgender, undergoing transition from female to male, was nerve-racking. In retrospect, their embracing support was a natural extension of the welcome they had extended me since my appointment. I also knew I had an ally in Chancellor White.

As an activist advocating for gender and sexual equity at Chico State and in systemwide student government, publicly sharing this life-changing moment was the logical decision as well as an educational opportunity for those around me. More …

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The Campus at Its Best

By Toby A. Bushee
Director, Events and Donor Stewardship
CSU Dominguez Hills

Toby Bushee with Public Administration graduates Samantha Hernandez (left) and Felicia Hernandez (right)

Bushee with Public Administration graduates Samantha Hernandez (left) and Felicia Hernandez (right)

Commencement at CSU Dominguez Hills is not one event. It isn’t even the five distinct culmination ceremonies with more than 3,000 graduates in cap and gown crossing the platform to shake the president’s hand and the nearly 30,000 guests who cheer them on as their names are called. Commencement is 37 events in 30 days – a hive of activity that covers the entire campus.

And it takes nearly the entire campus to pull it off each year. Staff members keep order in the midst of that activity, many committing countless hours of their own time because they understand the importance of this occasion for our graduates. From cleaning buildings and grounds to setting up rooms and arranging chairs, from managing technology and printing programs to directing traffic and redirecting lost guests, and making sure graduates know exactly what they need to do when they enter the stadium, they ensure a perfect experience, because while this is each graduate’s big moment, it is our big moment too. It is our chance to show the campus at its best and to provide a send-off for our graduates that is positive and meaningful, a memory held for a lifetime. More …

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Student Voices Echo Through the Halls of Government

By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs

In April, the California State Student Association filled the halls of government in Sacramento with hundreds of student voices. The California Higher Education Student Summit is dedicated to equipping students with the tools to be strong leaders and advocates for their peers. Last month’s CHESS was the 18th time students gathered in the state capitol for this purpose.
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Learn by Doing

By Rebecca Mieliwocki
Seventh Grade English Teacher
at Luther Burbank Middle School
National Teacher of the Year, 2012
Alumna of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and CSU Northridge

Mieliwocki is honored by the CSU Alumni Council and Board of Trustees on March 20, 2013. From left to right: Alumni Council President Guy Heston, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, CSU Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison, Rebecca Mieliwocki and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

Mieliwocki is honored by the CSU Alumni Council and Board of Trustees on March 20, 2013. From left to right: Alumni Council President Guy Heston, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, CSU Northridge President Dianne F. Harrison, Rebecca Mieliwocki and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

The central premise of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is “learn by doing.” This principle permeates every academic course and every student activity. It has also become my motto in life.

In high school, I wanted to attend Cal Poly to become an architect. That program was highly impacted, so I went into Speech Communication instead. It turns out that was a perfect major for me and I loved the program. I went from earning a Speech Communication bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly to completing a credential program at CSU Northridge.

As many do, I found a different path forward in life than what I planned as a child. I am thankful that the education I received in those early years and at the university prepared me to go in many different directions. I try to keep that in mind when I’m preparing my own students. More …

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Student Power (Save)

By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs

Student power is leading the way on saving power on California State University campuses. CSU Chico, CSU Fullerton, Humboldt State, CSU Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU San Bernardino, San Diego State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo each host PowerSave Green Campus Programs dedicated to student-driven energy efficiency education. The programs are supported by the Alliance to Save Energy – a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency worldwide through research, education and advocacy. Currently, PowerSave Green Campus Programs employ more than 100 interns each year.

Joining the League

A little friendly competition goes a long way. Two CSU Chico residence halls (Shasta and Lassen) competed against each other in Wildcat Sustainability Showdown – an effort to reduce energy use. Simultaneously, the halls advanced their campus bid in a competition against ten other campuses as a league in the Campus Conservation Nationals. PowerSave Green Campus interns and their network of volunteers informed and encouraged their peers throughout the competition. CSU Chico residence halls cut energy consumption by nearly 13 percent and walked away as league champions.

“Competing in Campus Conservation Nationals was a great learning experience. We feel very lucky to have been able to compete in such an amazing project,” said PowerSave Green Campus team manager Kayla Mahoney. “Our team learned valuable lessons regarding student behavior, outreach tools, and incentives. We built a foundation for the future competitions on our campus and we hope to win again next year.”

Shasta Hall residents celebrate their win in the Wildcat Sustainability Showdown. Students gather in the sustainability photo booth to take photos with the green competition trophy and reaffirm their sustainability commitments. More …

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This Way for a Healthier Planet

By Erik Fallis
CSU Public Affairs

Chico State students are thinking through the consequences of collective human actions. Much of the evidence is that our species is making poor decisions, utilizing record levels of the earth’s productive capacity while choking that productive pipeline for future generations.

A coalition of students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs and activists are striving for a better path, a healthier path. This Way to Sustainability is an enormous undertaking – a student-run conference that hosts more than 100 speakers and 1,400 participants. This conference brings together those who dare to question the decisions we make today. In so doing, they find many answers about how we might move toward a sustainable future.

Decked out in an elaborate dress of plastic bags, Health Education major Alexandria Gipson (center) quizzes and informs students with trivia about the impact of plastics in the environment. More …

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Lifting Up Communities

By Timothy P. White
California State University Chancellor
Alumnus of Fresno State and CSU East Bay

At West Angeles Cathedral, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White meets with the actors who portrayed the story of Autherine Lucy, the first African American student to enroll at the University of Alabama.

At West Angeles Cathedral, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White (right) meets with the actors who portrayed the story of Autherine Lucy, the first African American student to enroll at the University of Alabama.

It is an amazing thing to be welcomed into someone’s home, treated as a member of the family and given a place of honor.  More amazing is to know that the visit preludes a long future of close partnership, that we have formed a family of common interest with shared plans for the future and hopes for our children.  This is how I feel along every step of the journey that we call CSU Super Sunday and the CSU African American Initiative.

Pastor Antonio Alfred of St. John Missionary Baptist Church used the apt analogy of rising up on the wings of eagles.  It is true that the church and university working together can create lift for our youth to fly.  It is right that we support each other in lifting our communities out of poverty and despair.  It is profound that we have all recognized that it takes a village to love, support and guide our children every day to a better future. More …

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Voices Unite for Access, Part 2

Throughout the months of February and March, many voices will carry the CSU Super Sunday message of college access.  Below are just a few images from Feb. 24.  CSU Super Sunday events continue with the schedule available online.

CSU Trustee Hugo N. Morales rejoins the Saints Community Church of God in Christ congregation after his remarks.  The trustee and Harvard graduate, who grew up in a Central Valley family of farm workers, related the struggles of his own educational journey to those barriers faced by many youth.

Between services at West Angeles Cathedral, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White (left) and Bishop Charles E. Blake (right) share thoughts on equipping students with the tools to achieve a college education. More …

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