From the Editor

Chico Cares

Because that’s what we do. This campus community supports its own.

When Martin Morales arrived at Chico State in 2015, he had three suitcases to his name.  

He had been bumped, unwanted, from family member to family member throughout high school, until he had no place left to go.His high school helped him secure status as an unaccompanied youth and Morales connected with Student Affairs at Chico State—one of several colleges where the promising student had been accepted. By the time he arrived, the University lined him up with emergency housing in Whitney Hall and a job in Student Affairs.  

It was the first time the University would help him, but not the last. A staff member took him to buy a fork, a spoon, a bowl, and a can opener. Another introduced him to the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry, where students can get food they need, no questions asked. Another took him into their home for holiday meals so he would not spend them alone.  

A first-generation student with no familial support, he struggled emotionally and financially his first year, yet continued succeeding in the classroom. But without anyone to advise him, he didn’t realize he’d need a deposit and a cosigner for an apartment—both of which he lacked.  

As he realized he could become homeless, his champions in Student Affairs came to his aid again, securing another year of housing.  

As students like Martin Morales (right) rise to face their challenges, so too should we.

As students like Martin Morales (right) rise to face their challenges, so too should we.

 

After working multiple jobs and relying on the pantry for help with food, he built his savings and moved this fall into his first apartment—one he can call his very own.  

Not surprisingly, Chico State had a hand in that, too. A rental agency worked to accommodate his needs, trusting University connections who spoke on the student’s behalf that he would be a good tenant.  

Because that’s what we do. This campus community supports its own. And, as we see more every day, ensuring the success of all our students means we first must meet their most basic needs—helping them with food and housing so they can focus on their education.  

When I interviewed students like Morales for the story on the Chico State Basic Needs Project, it both broke my heart and made it burst with pride. Hearing their somber tone as they explain wanting more for their future children than their parents could provide, witnessing the spark in their eyes as they describe their dreams, and watching their smiles grow as they explain how the University is a partner on their journey— it’s an incredible testament to their dedication and ours.  

“There are still good people out there. This is a prime example of it. ... I don’t know what I want to do, but I do know I want to help people,” the sociology major told me, as he considers his future. “I know what it feels like, and it makes a difference.”  

As students like Morales rise to face their challenges, so too should we. We’ve set an ambitious goal—raise $50,000 for the Chico State Basic Needs Project by Giving Day, November 28. 

 Together, I know we can reach it. Why? Because Chico cares.  

—Ashley Gebb (’08), Publications Editor

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Alum Notes

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LILIANA OCHOA-SPRINGER

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CHARLES HINTZ

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