In 2016, Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) marked 50 years of service-learning and volunteerism, and alumni say they have a lot to celebrate. Since CAVE’s founding in 1966, more than 50,000 students have donated almost 3 million hours in 93 programs, enriching the lives of nearly 1 million individuals in the North State. CAVE’s mission is to provide Chico State students with meaningful volunteer opportunities, develop student leaders, and serve a broad base of community needs. Currently, 15 student-run programs serve children, older adults, and people with special needs, as well as animals, the environment, and other worthy causes.
Chico State added civic engagement to its top priorities in the Strategic Plan for the Future, the document that expresses the institution’s mission, vision, and values. The priority commits to engaging students, faculty, staff, and community members through curricular and cocurricular experiences that actively involve them with the communities and issues of the North State and beyond to serve the public good.
The staff-run University Needy Children Program, which supports families in need during the holidays, celebrated its 25th anniversary by providing gifts to nearly 150 children in December. Sixty-five campus departments supported 76 families and 147 children with toys, clothes, grocery gift cards, and other important items.
Student interns and employees at the Center for Healthy Communities reach and serve more than 100,000 North State residents each year—including 20,000 K–12 students in 15 counties. Their endeavors embrace farm-to-school, food safety, food security, nutrition education, and physical activity programs to meet a multitude of critical needs.
For the sixth year, the student-led Volunteer Income-Tax Assistance (VITA) tax return program partnered with the International Revenue Service to provide free tax preparation to low-income community members. With more than 45 student volunteers putting in 800-plus hours, 1,575 returns were filed, generating $809,319 in refunds. Those refunds, in addition to an estimated $201,492 in tax-preparation savings, means VITA’s impact surpassed the program’s $1 million goal.
Ten members of the campus community partnered with Chico Unified School District to create a new courtyard at Sierra View Elementary School, putting in 12 days of work and more than 300 hours of labor. Program Coordinator Feraidon Ataie estimates that the value of the team’s contribution to the project was $30,000.
For the eighth time, Chico State was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
In 2015, the Greeks’ annual “Can”struction food drive collected 1,200 cans of donated food in two weeks to support the Jesus Center homeless services provider and address community food insecurity. Members of Chico State’s 24 fraternities and sororities make up approximately 15 percent of our student population and volunteer more than 30,000 hours each year.