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Chico State

CSU, Chico to Host Camp Fire Memorial Ceremony ‘Remembering the Ridge’

A digital graphic featuring a sun rising over foothills announces the Remembering the Ridge event.
Digital Graphic Illustration by Christian Burke / University Senior Graphic Designer

In an observance of recovery, resilience and community after last November’s devastating Camp Fire, California State University, Chico will host an event combining music, guest reflections and an interactive art installation.

Remembering the Ridge,” a space for the University, the Chico community and those affected by the fire to share their creative expressions, will take place on Monday, April 8 at 5:30 p.m. in the Meriam Library breezeway. The event is free and open to the public, and those affected by the Camp Fire in any way are encouraged to attend and add photographs, poetry, drawings or narratives to the exhibit either in person or by uploading their work online.

Following Monday’s event, the art installation will remain on campus until April 26. Digital images of the installation will become part of the Meriam Library’s permanent archival collection documenting the Camp Fire.

Event Co-organizer and Interim Dean of Undergraduate Education Kate McCarthy said that as those affected by the fire continue to recover in different ways and at their own pace, it is important to come together to mark the impact of the fire on the campus community.

“We hope the power of a simple ceremony and the opportunity to create something beautiful together will have a healing effect for all,” she said.

The evening’s program will open with a welcome from McCarthy, followed by a moment of silence and the performance of an original composition by local musicians John-Michael Sun and Susan Dobra. CSU, Chico President Gayle Hutchinson will share her own reflections on the Camp Fire and recovery. Joe Wills, a retired staff member and current marriage and family therapist in Chico, will then facilitate participants’ contributions to an interactive “memory fence” and invite them to call out what they have lost or are missing as a result of the Camp Fire, as well as what they have learned or gained back.

After McCarthy delivers closing remarks, attendees are invited to share refreshments.

Any media covering the event are asked to be aware of the sensitivity some attendees have related to the Camp Fire and to be respectful with coverage of any element of this event, whether speaking to, photographing, or interacting with participants. Event co-organizers McCarthy and Sarah Pike—from the Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities—will be available for comment.

Those who require an accommodation in order to attend “Remembering the Ridge” or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.