CSU, Chico Hosts Prestigious National Geographers Conference This Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 10-23-2017

Sean Murphy, Public Affairs
TEL: 530-898-6492
Mark Stemen
TEL: 530-898-5428

California State University, Chico’s Department of Geography and Planning (GEOP) and Alumni Advisory Board will host the 80th annual Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG) conference from Oct. 25-28. Guests from 13 different states will speak, panel and provide insight regarding geographical education, research and knowledge throughout the four-day conference, which will focus on sustainable communities.

Giving the conference keynote address is David Little, editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record and a CSU, Chico graduate. Little will address the February failure of the Oroville Dam spillway with, “Why Locals Are So Dam Mad: The Crumbling Oroville Spillway.”

Wednesday’s welcome activities begin at 6 p.m. in Colusa Hall, Room 100 on the CSU, Chico campus and are free and open to the public.

Following an opening blessing by Kyle McHendry of the Mechoopda Tribal Council, GEOP department chair Dean Fairbanks will welcome attendees. Little (BA, English, ’85) will then take the podium to discuss the spillway collapse from the perspective of the Chico Enterprise-Record, including how the newspaper covered the Lake Oroville project’s past and future, and whether the issues that resulted in the evacuation of more than 180,000 people could have been anticipated.

“In my 38-year career at daily newspapers, I’ve never been a part of a story with such legs,” Little said. “After the spillway started crumbling in February, stories about the spillway, its aftermath and its effect on the community were on the front page 80 of the next 100 days. It continues to be front-page news frequently.”

After considering hydrology and engineering experts for the keynote address, Mark Stemen, a GEOP professor and one of the conference organizers, said the decision was made to select someone who could speak to a more general audience, and “nobody has had more thoughtful words on the dam than David Little.”

The conference will also include field trips Thursday to the Gray Lodge Pacific Flyway, Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, and Feather River Hatchery and Oroville Dam. Stemen remarked that the Oroville Dam tour is the only sold-out tour of the conference.

Presentations and discussions around the CSU, Chico campus highlight Friday and Saturday’s activities to round out the conference.

CSU, Chico has a long legacy of involvement with the APCG, which was founded in 1935 by prominent cultural geographer and University of California, Berkeley professor Carl Sauer and other colleagues. CSU, Chico geography professor Pervil Meigs followed as the APCG’s second president from 1938-1940.

Additionally, this will be the third time CSU, Chico has hosted the event (1968 and 1989). Fairbanks noted that the University has had a geography professor actively engaged in the discipline and contributing to the statewide, regional and national associations since 1887.

“Hosting the APCG conference showcases our department’s and Chico State’s commitment to furthering teaching and scholarship in the geographical sciences,” Fairbanks said.

For a full conference schedule, visit: http://www.csuchico.edu/geop/apcg/index.shtml.

###

About California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico is the second-oldest campus in the 23-member CSU system, the nation’s largest public university system. Founded in 1887, Chico State enrolls approximately 17,500 students and offers more than 230 undergraduate and graduate programs through its seven colleges and five schools. The campus is consistently ranked as one of the best regional public universities in the Western United States, and is the only CSU campus to have earned a favorable rating in all five categories of the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scoreboard, which rates universities on affordability and value. Its mission includes a broad commitment to environmental sustainability, public service and community engagement throughout the 12-county North State region where the campus is located. The University became a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2015.