CSU Voices and Views

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Traveling Towards Graduation

By Laura Parada
San Francisco State Student

Laura Parada in Florence

Laura Parada in Florence

I boarded the plane to Italy fully aware that my life would be forever different. The decision to study abroad was quick, as I can imagine it is for most students. The hurdle was not the decision but actually transforming it into a reality.  My financial and academic plans needed to line up and I did not want my trip to prolong time to graduation.

After applying to study abroad, I waited for the letter that would tell me the fate of my third year at SFSU. Luckily, I was granted the opportunity to study in Florence, Italy, which was a location I had only dreamed of going to. With that I embarked on my first international trip and my first solitary travel experience. More …

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Today We Make History

By Curtis Lee Ortega, Jr.
Vice President, United Student Pride
Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, Class of 2014
Fresno State

Curtis Lee Ortega, Jr.

Curtis Lee Ortega, Jr.

Today, 17 Fresno State students will make history with our university’s inaugural Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Commencement Celebration.

I am the chairperson of the committee that made this event a reality. I am honored and proud to be among those first 17 participating in our celebration.

This milestone represents a major step in our personal lives and the broader community. Fresno State prides itself on discovery, diversity and distinction and the presence of an LGBTQ graduation ceremony fittingly underscores that.

This celebration is a dream I pursued based on my own personal history. With poor grades and delinquent behavior, I was almost a high school dropout. Fortunately, I was accepted to a school that offered independent studies and was able to graduate even though I was heckled throughout my high school years for being openly gay. There was even heckling when they announced my name at the graduation ceremony. More …

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Finding the Links through Linked Learning

By Felicia Anderson
Assistant Principal at David Starr Jordan High School
Doctoral Candidate at CSU Long Beach

Felicia Anderson with student in cap and gownEducation is about creating links – between facts, concepts, real world situations and people. I am so privileged for the links that I’ve been able to forge in my time as a doctoral candidate at Cal State Long Beach. The Doctor of Education program immediately combines the efforts of seasoned educators and researchers with new teachers who are earning a first-time credential. The result is a powerful blend of experience and energy. Foremost, results-based best practices and techniques are seamlessly introduced into teacher and administrator preparation. More …


A New Perspective

By Erin Enguero
CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement
Trustee William Hauck Scholar
Kinesiology Student at San José State

Erin Enguero at the Salzburg Global Seminar

Erin Enguero at the Salzburg Global Seminar

Every time one embarks upon a new adventure, the world changes: one’s perspective, knowledge, and most poignantly, identity. Whether a particular experience is a celebrated success, or the latest challenge overcome, every moment in our lives teaches a valuable lesson that will affect our future choices and decisions, especially in the quest for a higher education. After becoming the CSU trustees’ first hard of hearing awardee in 2012, I met many peers that helped me realize that human beings have an incredible capacity for resilience. Despite the drawbacks we must overcome, we still have the courage to move forward and go beyond expected boundaries to find meaning in our lives by making a difference.  More …

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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 …


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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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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Partnering for Our Children’s Future

By Nicole Trimble
Parent of CSUN Students
Member of Glory Christian Fellowship
Volunteer at Morningside High School

I met California State University, Chico’s President Paul Zingg at Glory Christian Fellowship in February, 2010. He was participating in a program called CSU Super Sunday, a partnership between the Cal State system and African American churches across the state. From the pulpit, President Zingg shared the message that college is an attainable dream, a catapult for success and he personally wants our students to be successful at his campus. I took the president at his word and, after talking to the president myself, passed on contact information for the assistant principal of my children’s high school, Morningside. The Assistant Principal was a little apprehensive because she had never heard of such a partnership, but took the information anyway. The next day, President Zingg called Morningside’s assistant principal and now Chico State administrators are in continuous contact with a high school 500 miles away in Inglewood.
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Training for Life

By Travis Fugate
CSU Monterey Bay student
Army Veteran of the Iraq War

Travis Fugate sits on a bench accompanied by his black Labrador service dog, Mr. Fess.

Travis Fugate sits on a bench accompanied by his black Labrador service dog, Mr. Fess.

I was able to see the world around me for most of my life.

At the age of most students at CSU Monterey Bay, I was driving cars and playing video games.  I had an experience of life that was similar to the one they know.  Then I made the fateful decision to serve in the Kentucky National Guard.  I expected that decision to change my life, but I had no idea how different things would become.

An ethos that defines the military experience is success through training.  A person is almost infinitely capable if they commit to train.  I believe this and face every day with the determination to learn.

This determination served me well as a soldier stateside and in Iraq.  Something often forgotten in discussions about the military is the level of responsibility entrusted to young people.  Soldiers who are still teenagers are making critical decisions in the field.  Training is key to making the right choice in the heat of the moment. More …


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