“…time and time again, Seve finds truth and strength from their struggles and successfully transforms those into empowerment and inspiration for both themselves and others. Because of this, people flock to Seve for their support in times of need.”–Seve Christian’s staff-sponsored nomination

Severiano “Seve” Christian (junior, Comparative Religion and Multicultural and Gender Studies) was awarded the 2016 Chris Hilbert Outstanding Chico State Friend Award, the largest student financial award on campus totaling $3,500, at the University Awards Reception last week.

This award acknowledges a phenomenal friend on campus in honor of Christopher Edward Hilbert, a well-loved, down-to-earth young man who passed away at the age of 19 in 1994. During his short time at Chico State, Hilbert quickly appreciated and embodied the best aspects of the Chico Experience. His family generously endowed this award to honor Hilbert’s memory.

Ahmad Boura (left) presents Severiano Christian (right) with the Chris Hilbert Chico State Friend Award as students are honored at the 27th Annual University Awards Reception as part of Founders Week on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Ahmad Boura (left) presents Seve Christian with the Chris Hilbert Outstanding Chico State Friend Award  at the 27th Annual University Awards Reception on April 12, 2016.
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Christian, who identifies as a non-binary, queer, first-generation college student of color using they/them pronouns, has endured many hardships while growing up and attending Chico State. Despite this, they are a thriving example for others who experience similar adversities.

“Seve has been a friend to both the Chico State campus and community [at large]. As a coordinator at the AS Gender & Sexuality Equity Center, Seve planned and implemented the Third Annual Transgender Conference, the only conference of its kind in the north state.”–Ahmad Boura, Vice President for University Advancement

Christian was nominated by their friends and coworkers because they are “perceived by others as a trustworthy, credible source of wisdom and love.”

We sat down with Christian to get to know them a little better and explore their values regarding friendship.

What does this award mean to you?

This award means a lot to me. I really couldn’t accurately pinpoint it to one thing. If I had to try and summarize it all, it would mean support in general. I’m being recognized for things that I don’t always think about doing, and it shows that hard work pays off even for people who don’t feel that they deserve it. And overall, just stability—knowing that I have people that are watching what I’m doing and appreciating it.

What qualities do you think make a good friend?

I think the qualities that make a good friend are a combination of a few things. With friendship comes vulnerability, honesty, and being open to communication. With a friend, what I look for is the ability to see what makes them a person: what makes them keep going, what makes them want to continue doing what they’re doing, why they do the things that they do? Just to show me that they’re a real person. Overall, friendships have made my Chico Experience more pleasant than it ever could have been. It wasn’t until recently that I feel like I found my solid, tight-knit group of friends that really pay attention to my needs and to things that matter to me. It’s shown me that education can be a really collaborative thing. It doesn’t have to be as intimidating or competitive as we usually make it out to be.

What’s the best lesson a friend has taught you?

Forgiveness. That’s a really easy answer. I think that we, as friends, oftentimes we’re so young that we get angry at one another for not doing something in a way that we would like or expect them to do it. Forgiveness and compassion are the biggest lessons that I’ve learned from friendships over the years. Most of the time, if people are bugging you or trying to look out for your best interest (and you know they are, but it’s kind of pissing you off), then in all actuality they really care and are just trying to get you through to see you succeed. The best lesson is just extending yourself to help the growth of another person.

What’s the best way to make friends in college?

The best way to make friends in college is to be who you are, to stand up for what you believe in, and to try and surround yourself with people who feel the same way. You’d be surprised as to where they’re hiding. They might be in the most obvious spots like a club or organization, but they may just be in your class waiting for you to show something that they really appreciate or something that makes them want to be your friend. Overall, respect is the way to go.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to say thank you to everyone that nominated me, everybody that took the time to consider me an outstanding friend. It’s really gratifying to get recognized for just trying to be a good person. So, thank you to everyone who believed in me and continues to believe in me.

Seve Christian (right) holds up a sign that reads "Love is Love" as students speak back against persecution on campus from one man who only wanted to be identified as Ron (left), expressing the difference of opinions about religious views about Jesus Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Seve Christian stands up for LGBTQ+ rights during a campus protest.
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)