Five Minutes with a Chico State Tour Guide

Sarah Wood leads a tour of the Chico Sate campus on January 11.

Sarah Wood leads a tour of the Chico Sate campus on January 11. (Photo by Ernesto Rivera)

Tour guides at Chico State play an important role in introducing future Wildcats to the campus they’ll call home for years.

Sarah Wood.

Sarah Wood

They’re armed with information about the University’s history and programs, fun facts about our unique campus, and their own personal Chico Experience.

Sarah Wood, a junior social science major, has been a tour guide since August and loves to showcase her favorite things about Chico State. Aside from being a tour guide, she’s been a part of the Freshmen Leadership Opportunity program, Community Action Volunteers in Education, AS Sustainability, and the Sustainability Affairs Council.

We chatted with Wood about why she chose Chico State, her favorite spots on campus, and the unique sense of community Chico State gives her.

What made you want to come to Chico State?

“I had no intention of really coming to Chico, but I just applied anyway. When I came here to visit with my parents for Choose Chico!, it was just perfect. It was beautiful and everyone was really friendly. A lady came up to me and my parents, she was jogging down the street, and she saw us and shook our hands and said, ‘Welcome to Chico.’ It was a feeling you don’t really get anywhere else. I just loved it.”

What stuck out to you on your first tour?

“I really didn’t know what to expect of Chico State and I just saw how beautiful it was. It was cloudy that day but it was still so beautiful. The creek was amazing. I loved the brick, it gave it a traditional collegiate feel.”

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

“There’s a spot along the creek across from Holt Hall where there’s a really beautiful tree. Sometimes, last semester, I would just sit there between classes. There’s a bunch of pink flowers and a bench. It’s really pretty and scenic. You can hear the creek flowing and squirrels climbing trees. It’s just a really nice spot.”

Big Chico Creek flows from the Sierra Nevada foothills, through Bidwell Park and the Chico State campus.

Big Chico Creek flows from the Sierra Nevada foothills through Bidwell Park and the Chico State campus.

What are some of the most common questions people ask you on a tour?

“People really like to ask why I chose Chico State. It really helps them make a connection with the campus by hearing someone else’s personal story. When I came to Chico, it helped me to hear people say how they joined clubs and how it changed their lives or how they remember living in the residence halls and making so many friends. Things like that give you hope and make you feel like people are having fun here and are doing things that they love. It sets up that experience for them.”

What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

“I’ve never had a really strange question but one time a parent stumped me. He asked me, ‘What is something that you wish you would’ve been told when you took the tour?’ and I didn’t know what to say. There’s so much about the college experience and college life that it’s hard to tell it all in a tour and it’s not something you can even explain. It’s something you have to experience for yourself.”

What’s your favorite thing to talk about on the tour?

“I like telling all the myths on campus. Like, the Volkswagen Beetle being buried somewhere on campus as part of a time capsule or the Three Sisters statues having cameras in their eyes to watch over the rose garden. That stuff is always fun, it makes people laugh even though they’re kind of dorky little myths. They’re fun and it gives the campus some character. I just read recently that Laxson is haunted, so now I’ve been telling that myth on the tour.”

What are some favorite stops on the tour?

“People really like the WREC because it’s new and really nice and updated. Another spot is along the creek. I really like to emphasize how unique it is to our campus. It’s something that students get to utilize in classes and that’s been really beneficial to me, so I really like to point it out and people really like it.”

The Wildcat Recreation center opened in fall 2009.

The Wildcat Recreation center opened in fall 2009.

If you could sum up the Chico Experience in one word, what would it be? Why?

“I would say ‘unity,’ because Chico State students are really connected, whether it be through different organizations, programs, clubs, or through majors. If you walk across campus, you’ll see people you know and that’s a really nice feeling. At the store, or out to eat, or at a walk in Bidwell, you’ll see people that you know. It’s just really unique.”