Briefly Noted

Briefly Noted

Big Honors for Tiny House

Chico State Tiny House project The Chico State Tiny House Club earned three awards at the Tiny House Competition held at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento in October. The first of its kind nationwide, the competition was hosted by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and attracted over 20,000 visitors on its final day.

Schools were required to enter houses on wheels, ranging from 100 to 400 square feet that feature energy-smart appliances, green building techniques, and renewable energy sources, creating innovative homes that consume no more energy than they produce. Teams were judged in the major categories of architecture, communications, energy, and home life.

Chico State’s student-run Tiny House Club brought home top honors in advanced controls, best flooring, and best home technology. Among the space- and energy-saving features in Chico State’s tiny house are a Murphy bed; 15-gallon water heater; six solar panels installed on the roof, with three auxiliary and moveable solar panels outside; repurposed flooring; a battery that lasts a full day and a half; a fully functional bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet; and kitchen cabinets, sink, and working washing machine.

Chico State’s tiny house took more than a year to construct, and the University competed against nine other California colleges and universities. The house has since been donated to Habitat for Humanity, to be used as a model home in a tiny house neighborhood in Yuba City.

Chico State Leads Effort to End Food Insecurity

In an effort to reduce food insecurity among students throughout the California State University system, Chico State’s Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) has partnered with the Office of the Chancellor in a systemwide effort to conduct CalFresh Outreach with students on college campuses.

With CHC serving as lead contractor, the CalFresh Outreach program will operate at 11 campuses to develop resources to increase awareness about this important nutrition assistance program, help eligible students apply for CalFresh, and partner with county social service offices to identify and reduce barriers associated with student enrollment.

In 2016, an Office of the Chancellor report indicated that 21 percent of CSU students are classified as food insecure by USDA criteria. The USDA defines food insecurity as having problems or anxiety about consistently accessing adequate food, with impacts to the quality, variety, and desirability of a diet, and the potential for disrupted eating patterns or reduced food intake.

“There is much evidence to show that not getting adequate nutrient-dense calories has an impact on performance in school and the ability to process and retain information in the classroom,” said CHC Associate Director Stephanie Bianco. “And when students are food insecure, you add another layer of stress. Instead of worrying about a test, they are worrying about where they will get their next meal or how they can balance paying for food with paying for rent or utilities.”

CalFresh is the name given in California for the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides funding to low-income individuals or households for nutritious foods at participating stores and farmers’ markets.

Stand-Out Recognition for Study Abroad

Recognition for Study Abroad program

The Institute of International Education, a leading nonprofit educational and cultural exchange group, reported that Chico State was ranked second among master’s degree-level colleges and universities for the number of students that study abroad for at least one year.

The latest accolade comes as more students at Chico State are taking advantage of study abroad opportunities.

Chico State reported that 113 students studied abroad for a full academic year in 2014–2015, the most recent year national data is available. That’s up from the 109 students who studied abroad for a full academic year in 2013–14 and the 76 students who studied abroad for a full academic year in 2012–13.

A total of 409 Chico State students studied abroad during the 2014–15 academic year, including those doing shorter stays.

Of master’s degree-level institutions with students who study abroad for at least a year, Chico State has been ranked in the top three schools during eight of the last nine years, an accomplishment that study abroad coordinator Jennifer Gruber attributes to the University’s commitment to providing opportunities for students that may not be offered at other universities.

New Provost Named

Chico State has named Debra Larson as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs, following a three-month nationwide search. Larson began her position March 1.

Larson has served with distinction at two institutions of higher education. She comes to Chico State from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she has been the dean of the College of Engineering since 2011.

Prior to that appointment, she served as chair, associate dean, and associate vice provost during her 17 years of service at Northern Arizona University (NAU). She also worked as a civil engineer in the private sector for more than a decade before her work at NAU.

Larson holds a PhD in civil engineering from Arizona State University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University. She has received significant recognition during her career, most notably the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Leadership Award from the American Society of Civil Engineering.

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Alum Notes



('08) was promoted to assistant superintendent of Calcrete Construction.

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(’12) runs his own sustainable furniture business.

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('88) received a distinguished service award from the Boy Scouts.

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