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Chico State

Sustainability to be the Focus of CSU, Chico’s Sixth Annual Sense of Place Symposium

Students walk past ginkgo trees in front of the Student Services Center
Jason Halley / University Photographer

The fall colors of the ginkgo trees shine in front of the Student Services Center (SSC) on Monday, December 3, 2018 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico)

Over 500 students are expected to discuss important local and regional environmental issues and policies at the sixth annual Sense of Place Symposium on Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Colusa Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and is part of California State University, Chico’s First-Year Experience (FYE) program.

Following the success of FYE’s Town Hall Meeting, the founders of Sense of Place looked to create a public sphere event that involved different courses and community members to build projects around the idea of making the University and the Chico community more sustainable. Thanks to its popularity among students and faculty, Sense of Place happens in both fall and spring semesters.

“Sense of Place offers students the opportunity to engage in public dialog around issues of place, as it relates to sustainability, identity, and civic engagement,” said Ellie Clifford Ertle, director of First-Year Experience. “All of these are core tenets of the University and support students’ sense of academic self and connection to University life at Chico State.”

Climate change, the future of food, and the sustainability of Whitney Hall will be among the sustainability-themed topics, and students will have the opportunity to discuss environmental policies with sustainability-minded organizations, such as Adventure Outings and Associated Students Sustainability, as well as local vendors, like the Chico Natural Foods Cooperative. Free samples and brochures will be available, and those who participate in discussions will be placed in a raffle drawing for a #ButteStrong T-shirt.

Participants will be able to visit a variety of stations and view student presentations. Cocoa and Conversation give students a chance to engage in important conversations about climate change with FYE staff, while enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.

At the Community Resource Exhibit, students will have the opportunity to view student-created websites on iconic places in Chico, like Bidwell Mansion, further explaining the importance these sites play to Chico’s identity as a whole.

Sense of Place has established itself as a platform for students to express themselves and present on sustainable actions, while sharing narratives of their identities rooted in place. As an incoming freshman at CSU, Chico, student Bianca Cervantes said she wasn’t sure her opinions would be welcomed or if her voice would be heard. Her participation in Sense of Place provided her with the stage to advocate for her beliefs and herself, increasing her confidence.

“Presenting my group project at Sense of Place was an experience that gave me an opportunity to express my beliefs and stand out around my colleagues,” said Cervantes, now a junior majoring in computer science.

For more information on the Sense of Place Symposium, visit the event’s website at or call 530-898-3705. The event does not have a formal program, so guests are invited to come at any time. Those who require an accommodation in order to participate in Sense of Place or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.