Chico Great Debate Focuses on Bringing Campus and Community Together

Date: 10-26-2017

CONTACT: Sean Murphy, Public Affairs
TEL: 530-898-6492
Gini Tigri, First-Year Experience Program
TEL: 530-898-3705

More than 2,000 students are expected to take part in this year’s Chico Great Debate on Friday, Oct. 27, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Chico City Council Chambers, 421 Main St. 

The topic for this year’s Chico Great Debate, which is free and open to the public, is “Issues in Public Health.” Events will continue throughout the day at multiple locations in downtown Chico.

Each semester, CSU, Chico, Butte College and the City of Chico collaborate on the Chico Great Debate with the aim of creating a public space for civil discourse. Through work in their classes, students select an issue or topic to research and eventually debate or make a presentation on the topic.

Following welcoming remarks in the City Council Chambers at 10 a.m., students will give speeches, engage in debates and provide presentations every hour on the hour, both in the City Council Chambers and in the City Plaza.

The Chico Great Debate is a twice-a-year component of CSU, Chico’s First-Year Experience Program, with the goal of teaching new students how to become active citizens through thoughtful discussions and civic engagement.

Noemi Casillas, a business major graduating in 2018, participated in the Chico Great Debate as a student. Though she was anxious leading up to the event, she was welcomed into an environment where other first-year students were well-prepared in their speeches and presentations.

“I learned so much from several different topics due to the fact that the presenters were also students,” Casillas said. “There was a different teaching space in the Chico Great Debate that encouraged and enabled us as students to put our best work forward.”

Debate topics in years past have included higher education, technology and, last fall, politics and elections.

Since beginning in 2010, the program has become a model for other colleges and universities. Butte College joined the program in 2012, placing students from the community college’s speech courses alongside students from CSU, Chico’s communication classes.

More information on the Great Debate may be found on its website at


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.