The CSU, Chico Town Hall Meeting
“Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.”
The First-Year Experience Program sponsors a large-scale, student-led event once each semester. The CSU, Chico Town Hall brings students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members together in the BMU auditorium for reflection on questions of current public interest. In fall ’08, for instance, the Town Hall focused on the question: “What matters in the November 2008 election?”
Participants move from the auditorium to smaller break-out rooms where roundtable discussions on issues students have researched take center stage. Students and other interested participants share information, questions, concerns and insights about subjects as diverse as global warming, hate crimes, and the state of the economy.
Students conclude the evening in small discussion groups with members of the campus and community serving as consultants to help them take next steps in their research and in their plans for civic action.
Assessments of student learning and attitudes in classes that embed the Town Hall indicate that students become more engaged scholars and gain confidence about their capacity to do meaningful work at the university when they have this opportunity to share their research in public dialogues with interested others.
We wish to acknowledge that the CSU, Chico Town Hall was funded in part through a generous grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Charles Engelhard Foundation's “Bringing Theory to Practice” project from Fall 2007 to Spring 2009 and Fall 2010 to Spring 2012.