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A magazine from California State University, Chico -- On-line Edition  
Summer 2007
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  Paul Zingg and museum advisory board president Judy Sitton.
Paul Zingg and museum advisory board president Judy Sitton.

Something Wonderful

Each campus in the California State University has a “service” region, that is, a particular geographic area that is assigned as a focus of their outreach efforts. Chico State’s is the largest by far in the CSU.

Although less than 3 percent of the state’s population lives in our region, their needs cover the full range of any modern society and underscore why we are a “comprehensive” university. We are expected to contribute to the well-being of a region with needs including everything from work force development and economic growth, to health care and human services, to a clean environment and sustainable energy practices, to natural resources management and recreation opportunities, to teacher preparation and agricultural education, to promoting civic engagement and supporting the arts.

It is a great responsibility and one that the University embraces. And, though we go about our mission every day in ways that are more steady than spectacular, often there are moments when our work truly shines. This issue of Chico Statements highlights three such efforts.

The Gateway Science Museum is the culmination of nearly two decades of advocacy and hard work to bring a facility to Chico that would celebrate the natural history of our region and inspire a love for science, especially in children. Its grand opening in February, attended by several thousand friends, supporters, and visitors, brought the vision to reality. That vision matured over the years, but it never lost sight of the goal of filling visitors with a sense of wonder or from the task of demonstrating what dedicated partners in such an inspired and generous enterprise could accomplish.

The January Blitz Build project, for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in Chico, involved building two 840-square-foot houses to serve as transitional living homes for the victims of domestic violence. This project was just the latest expression of community service led by our students, alumni, and faculty, primarily from the construction management department.

The Passages Adult Resource Center is the oldest of these outreach efforts. Founded in 1979, the center offers free services to seniors, persons with disabilities, and caregivers throughout a five-county region. Each year, about 250 volunteers work with the center’s professional staff to help make life easier for the population it serves and to strengthen the ability of family members and care providers to assist their loved ones and clients.

What connects these three examples of service is that they each will make a difference in the lives they touch. That powerful lesson applies not just to those who are the beneficiaries of a service rendered, but also to those who provide the service. For each act of service strengthens those habits of the heart that can enrich an individual and define an institution. When individuals find within a community expressions of the values they cherish, and vice versa, something wonderful occurs. It is called Chico State.

—Paul J. Zingg, President