Student body officers like to say, “This is not your high-school student government.” They’re right. That’s largely because the Associated Students has a lot more power than similar organizations on other campuses. The A.S. owns and runs the Bookstore and food services, making it a $24 million corporation.
Students elect their leaders, or, more accurately, the 20-some percent of students who bother to turn out to vote do so. The A.S. president (for 2004-05 it’s Adam Dondro) and other officers represent student interests to university administration, faculty, alumni and the community at large. Officers also travel to Sacramento and CSU headquarters in Long Beach to lobby for or against legislation and make the students’ wishes known on fee increases.
Historically, some student leaders have gotten along better with the administration than others, but in recent years they’ve sought to maintain a balance between becoming adversaries and letting Chico State brass walk all over them.
A.S. leaders welcome visitors at their offices in Room 203 of the Bell Memorial Union (financed and built by students, by the way).
In 1957, George F. Petersen, an avid horticulturalist, wanted to work on a gardening project on a larger scale than his own back yard would allow. To accomplish this, Petersen proposed the construction of a rose garden on the Chico State campus, in a large clearing where an old cafeteria had once been.
When the project was given clearance to go ahead, Petersen donated 400 rose bushes to be placed in the garden designed by then-groundskeeper Richard Pessner. Today, the garden is known as the George Petersen Rose Garden and is considered by many one of the most enjoyable, and certainly most fragrant, spots on campus to sit and enjoy a sunny spring day.
Those with some background in botany will recognize that the majority of the roses in the garden are of the hybrid tea variety, with some grandfloras and floribundas thrown in. A great deal of work goes into protecting the flowers from insects, mildew and fungi, and the harsh elements. Also, to protect the roses from amorous students, anyone who is caught picking or cutting the blooms faces a stiff fine.
Adventure Outings is the Associated Students organization that addresses the students’ (and the public’s) need to get outside and explore the environment. Located in the basement of the BMU, A.O. organizes trips all over California, the United States and the world.
Programs include backpacking, canoeing, day hikes, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, rafting and other activities. The programs are fun and are a good experience for students, said Steven Wildhaber, a student staff member.
Students benefit from a discounted price, since they pay an A.S. fee. For example, a backpacking tour to Yosemite costs students $60, but the price for the general public is $70.
A huge variety of activities is offered, from the major two-week trip for skiing in Australia ($1,500) to the one-day rafting trip down the Feather River (only $28).
For intermediate-level adventurers, A.O. provides more challenging programs that in turn require more than an entry-level knowledge of the task at hand.
Wildhaber said the organization is proud to have an opportunity to teach outdoors to the participants, adding, “We are extremely friendly and unique.”
Are you eager to play sports but not interested in trying out for one of the university teams? If so, Chico State has a well-developed intramurals program offering team competition in a range of sports, from volleyball and field hockey to softball and basketball, depending on the semester. And it’s free to Chico State students. (Non-students can participate for $50 per semester, which also provides access to all Chico State phys-ed facilities.)
You have a choice in how you can participate. The first step is to go by the Recreation Sports office, Acker Gym 126, and pick up a brochure. Then you and some friends can either form a complete team and sign up for a league, or you can sign up as an individual free agent willing to be placed on a team. It’s a good way to have fun, make friends and stay in shape at the same time.
Tucked into the courtyard at the north end of the Warner Street side of the library is a mysterious cylindrical building. It’s been said that a secret club escorts groups of schoolchildren in for regular lessons in charting the planets, but who’s ever seen them?
In fact, the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences does use this facility for astronomy study.
To get inside the Roth Planetarium, you have to corkscrew down a ramp till you come out at the basement level of the library, where you can then enter the bunker-like facility. Inside, a projector can project 1,000 stellar images, creating a variety of simulated skies on its domed ceiling.
Presentations are given by student interns to “third- to sixth-grade students” on field trips only, so unless you are 8, 9 or 10 years old, you’ll have to enroll in the astronomy class to get inside. Or find that secret club.
If there’s one thing that new students learn quickly, it’s that being away from home and getting sick sucks. Gone are the days when Mom would pamper you with hot soup and reruns of The Simpsons. But fortunately for those at Chico State, quality health care can be found right on campus.
Staffed by five physicians and seven nurses, the Student Health Service center provides medical services ranging from simple walk-in care to advanced x-ray and laboratory work. The laboratory facilities are located on site, and most lab work is provided free of charge to students. Also in the Student Health Service is a licensed pharmacy, where most prescription and some over-the-counter medicines are available. The pharmacy offers many of these medicines at a reduced rate as well.
If you plan to visit the Health Center (though admittedly most visits are unplanned), those not in need of immediate medical attention are advised to make an appointment three to five business days ahead of when they would like to be seen.
A.S. Women’s Center
Just what is it about the word “feminism” that scares people so much? You would think from some people’s reaction that feminism is a nefarious plot to overthrow the government and emasculate every living male. But at the Associated Students Women’s Center, feminism is not a dirty word. Rather, it’s a guiding philosophy that teaches a doctrine of respect and nonviolence toward all people, regardless of race, gender or creed.
To further those goals, the center organizes dozens of workshops, conferences, symposiums and protests every year that try to get both women and men thinking about the many ways so-called “women’s issues” affect all of us.
The Women’s Center is also a great campus resource for those who need help finding family-planning options, domestic-violence counseling and plenty of other services.
For a good introduction to the center, which is located in the BMU basement, check out one of its events, such as Women’s Bodies Week (Oct. 5-7), the Red Tent (Oct. 9), Take Back the Night (Oct. 28), or the Women’s Studies Conference (April 16). For more information, visit http://www.csuchico.edu/womyn/ or call (530) 898-5724.
With the exception of the Whitney Hall dormitory, which isn’t open to the public, this seven-story structure is the tallest building on campus. It houses mostly offices for faculty in such disciplines as political science, economics, geography and planning, health and human services, sociology and social work. But even if you don’t have classes in any of these subjects, there’s a good reason to visit Butte Hall—the views.
It’s easily the best place for getting the big picture when it comes to the campus, especially that part of campus visible from the large window on the east side of the seventh floor. You can see much of the campus from there, as well as buildings downtown and farther to the east.
If you walk back down via the stairwell next to the window, you can also enjoy one of the best echo chambers in Chico. Just clap your hands: The sound will roll up and down the stairwell. It’s especially fun for children.