Whether they have enjoyed a University-sponsored rafting or camping trip, volunteered within their community or requested on-campus accessibility, California State University, Chico students are already well aware of the excellent on-campus services. Now, the University is enjoying national recognition.

The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) handed out its annual NASPA Excellence Awards, and three CSU, Chico programs were named to this prestigious list.

Adventure Outings (AO) was the Gold Winner for its Get Outdoors Fund Scholarship Program in the Athletics, Recreation, Physical Fitness, Non-Varsity Sports, and related Excellence Award category. In the International, Multicultural, Gender, LGBTQ, Spirituality, Disability and related Excellence Award category, CSU, Chico’s Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) was named the Silver Winner for its Academic Coaching for Students with Disabilities. And Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) was the Bronze Winner in NASPA’s Civic Learning, Democratic Engagement, Service-Learning and related Excellence Award category.

NASPA is an international organization committed to the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession, providing high-quality professional development, advocacy and research for 15,000 members nationwide, 25 countries, and eight U.S. territories.

AO offers more than 50 trips every academic year, ranging from stand-up paddleboarding and backpacking to hiking and kayaking. Program director Jenna Walker said the program’s mission is to expose everyone to the outdoors, from the thrill of paddling through whitewater rapids, basking in a mountain sunset, or enjoying the quiet darkness under a star-filled sky while camping. The reality, though, is that for an increasing number of University students, affording an outdoor trip can be a financial hardship.

“AO’s Get Outdoors Fund Scholarship Program has helped reduce this barrier to participation for hundreds of Chico State students and introduced them to the joys – and challenges – of outdoor adventure that they might not have otherwise experienced, created connections to the outdoors, and helped form bonds and friendships with their peers,” Walker said.

ARC’s Academic Coaching program is a student-driven individualized service that goes beyond what is required by the American Disabilities Act or Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, said ARC advisor Charlene Corder. It mitigates achievement gaps not otherwise addressed by required accommodations or other campus resources, and is designed to support the participating students so they achieve better grades, maintain an achievable course load, transition from military service, transition from high school to university life, develop self-advocacy skills, improve communication skills, create opportunities for healthy lifestyles, and increase resiliency.

“The Academic Coaching program’s core practice is to enhance and work toward the students’ goals and achieve self-sufficiency, thereby giving them the skills they need in order to graduate,” said Corder. “The program also aligns with several specific components of the CSU Graduation Initiative.”

When CAVE was founded by students in 1966, the idea was for students to gain hands-on experience though programs fostering social change. Today, students, staff and faculty maintain the spirit of CAVE’s founders through collaborations transcending the divisions of student affairs and academic affairs. And with 67,878 hours of volunteer service logged in 2017-18 and a dozen programs to choose from throughout the academic year (including ’Cats in the Community, an annual day of service on Cesar Chavez Day), students have ample opportunity to make a difference in their community.

“This award recognizes CAVE’s long-standing achievements in developing civic-minded graduates, the nexus where a student’s academic learning, community experiences, and identity overlap,” said CAVE director Ann Schwab. “This mark of distinction verifies CAVE’s motto, ‘Life is for Learning,’ by recognizing our program’s accomplishments in transforming our philosophy that the community is a classroom for hands-on learning into action.”

  • For information about Adventure Outings and its Get Outdoors Fund Scholarship Program, contact Jenna Walker at 530-898-3546 or jbwalker@csuchico.edu.
  • For information about CAVE, contact Ann Schwab at 530-898-5940 or aschwab@csuchico.edu.
  • For more information about the University’s Accessibility Resource Center, contact Charlene Corder at 530-898-5075 or cfcorder@csuchico.edu.