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Chico State

We Are Different. We Are Together. #WeAreChico

Students pose to be photographed for #WeAreChico on the Chico State campus.
Photos by Jason Halley / University Photographer

(Photos by Jason Halley / University Photographer)

Everybody has a story to tell.

Collectively, Chico State’s story is one of excellence and togetherness. It’s also one of diverse life experiences, created by the many faces and narratives that form our community. Above all else, these people are our story.

Nearly 20,000 students, faculty, and staff constitute this campus, with nearly 20,000 individual stories to tell. As we celebrate all of these unique stories, they converge to form a campus kinship and the Chico Experience.

That is the purpose of #WeAreChico. Our goal is to share our lives with each other, one anecdote at a time, to highlight the personalities that make our community what it is. And we want to share it with the world. Every week, Public Affairs and Publications is randomly selecting one person at Chico State and asking them to share what’s on their mind, which we then share on Instagram and Facebook. In highlighting their story, we hope to learn something new, find common ground, develop empathy, or perhaps gain a different perspective.

It is our pleasure to introduce our wonderful community, one human at a time. We may be different, but we are together. #WeAreChico

Meet the people we’ve met in the first month of our project, which will continue through the rest of the 2017-18 academic year.

Juan Guzman, senior, criminal justice

Juan Guzman in the BMU

“I wanted to get away from home. I’m from the San Fernando Valley. It is a bit of a concrete jungle there—no green, no trees—and that’s obviously different compared to Chico. I wanted to experience something different and see if I can make it on my own.

“It’s been a learning experience and a journey. I’ve been able to learn a lot, and make mistakes and learn from them as well, and I’ve been able to grow more as an individual.”


Derrick Shepherd, senior, psychology

Derrick Shepherd, outside of Sutter Hall

“The Chico experience is not all fun and games. I came here, above all else, to get an education. Of course, there’s some fun, some parties here and there. And what I really fell in love with at this school is the campus.

“I’m from Pasadena, and a lot of people here are from the Bay, NorCal. There’s been some degree of culture shock, but not just ethnicity. You know, I’m black, a lot of people here aren’t black. But more than that, it’s different being from SoCal, being around people with different experiences, who have been exposed to different things.

“I love the people, the sense of family that’s all around the city. And that’s what the Chico Experience has been for me: a good education, and meeting really great people.”


Alissa Lopez, freshman, pre-nursing

Alissa Lopez outside of the WREC

“What I’m most proud of right now is getting to where I am, getting to college. It was a struggle deciding where I wanted to go, or if I even wanted to move. I’m a very family-oriented person and I didn’t know if I wanted to go away from them. But, I’m adjusting and I feel like I can do this.

“It’s a proud accomplishment, getting this far. My parents didn’t go to college, so me coming here is a big step for our family.”


Victor Lopez, junior, health administration

Victor Lopez outside the Chico State Arts & Humanities building

“In the back of my mind recently, I just feel that there’s been a lot of violence. People can’t agree on the most important issues in our country, which really is bad for everyone. If we were to have more of a discussion without being called names, I think we’d get somewhere, but that’s not happening at the moment.

“I don’t even see protesting getting anywhere. It’s not working anymore. It used to be such an effective measure, but now with so much technology and social media around it, nothing happens. Protests now, people just yell at each other and get violent and they don’t get anywhere.”


Bethany Cook, junior, psychology

Bethany Cook outside of the Performing Arts Center

“I really like the community. I’m able to talk to my professors whenever I need to, and even outside of campus, I’m able to find people my age and hang out with the people around me. The social aspect of Chico is what I like the most.”