Answering the Call

With the start of a new academic year and Labor Day weekend approaching, we want to gather information on efforts underway for answering the call to the Community Call to Action and University Commitment to Action summits.   We are aware that many efforts are in place based on the recommendations from those two summits.  The University is developing a website and will be listing these efforts in order to increase the level of awareness across the community of Chico and the campus.

Efforts such as Respect Chico http://www.respectchico.org/, initiated by local bar and restaurant owners, began almost immediately after the summits, and similar summit events were held at Chico and Pleasant Valley High Schools. Chico State implemented a new, stricter set of guidelines for its Greek community, which led to suspensions of some chapters but also the rededication to high ideals and community values by others. The Chico State student organization Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) gathered many student signatures on a petition pledging safe and healthy behavior, and hosted the Community Festival for Change May 10 in Downtown Plaza.

New student orientation commencing next week at Chico State, called Wildcat Welcome http://www.csuchico.edu/wildcatwelcome/index.shtml, now includes active bystander trainings to prevent alcohol poisoning and many alternative events to promote a safe and successful transition to college life. Staff and students organizing these events took suggestions made at the summits, such as introducing students to community resources, and implemented them; swimming and biking trips to Bidwell Park are planned, plus students will be joining forces with community members for a downtown trash clean-up.

The efforts of our state legislators, Glenn and Butte County officials and many other agencies and allies have led to alcohol being banned on the Sacramento River over Labor Day weekend, and coordinated efforts are well underway to reduce the number of people floating on the river those three days. The University, Associated Students and other partners are also planning healthy alternative Labor Day weekend events for young people. Chico State is fortunate to have a long-standing tradition of great student leadership, and that continues; most of the alternative Labor Day events were devised, and are being carried out by, current students. High expectations set for incoming students are met by the vast majority of freshmen and transfers. These students are in our community for the right reasons and make positive contributions to Chico’s quality of life.

Over the past few weeks, Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle has begun an important dialogue in the city regarding alcohol permits for new establishments, and the City Council is addressing these in a thoughtful manner. Other constructive conversations about reducing the impact of alcohol and substance abuse and related safety issues are taking place at the Chico Chamber of Commerce, Community Youth Alcohol Task Force, Downtown Chico Business Association and many other groups.

Even while acknowledging these activities listed above, we know there is more that is being accomplished. So let us hear from you! If you are involved in any such efforts and wish to share ongoing progress, please email answeringthecall@csuchico.edu  with detailed information to have those efforts included.  The website will be updated regularly as efforts develop, and this will allow us to share news from the University and community.   Of course, once launched, you will be notified of the web address.

We thank you for your participation and interest in working together as we translate the recommendations gathered at the summits into actions so that we are Answering the Call.

Paul J. Zingg, President, California State University, Chico
Drew Calandrella, Vice President for Student Affairs, CSU, Chico