Office of Civic Engagement


How did the concept of North State Roots get started?

In 2019, the Faculty Fellow for Rural Partnerships in the Office of Civic Engagement had been meeting with faculty on campus to discuss regional collaborations. In order to engage more student voices, several regional students were invited to meet with the Faculty Fellow to discuss how they might support the faculty collaborations and contribute to their home communities using the professional skills they had gained in college. It was this group of students that came up with the name for themselves and their work. “North State Roots” suggests that students who come from the north state may have deep connections to their communities and as one of the founding students said, “professional success and living rurally do not have to be mutually exclusive.”

Why is it important to support students in maintaining a connection to their rural roots?

Nelson (2019) found that when rural college students maintain connections to their home communities, those relationships provide an “indelible sense of place that plays a role in their college-going and persistence behaviors” (p. 107). Regional collaborations with students in the forefront provide them an opportunity to advocate for connections to their home contexts and increase the relevancy of university programs to rural communities. This programming can also help all Chico State students to make connections between what they are learning in their major and how that might contribute to vitality in our region.

Nelson, I. (2019). Starting over on campus or sustaining existing ties? Social capital during college among rural and non-rural college graduates. Qualitative Sociology, 42, 93-116.

What is considered “the North State”

This definition has been debated by many, but for our purpose, it is primarily the 12 counties that make up the Chico State Service Region.

Chico State service area

How can I get involved with this work?

Visit the community engagement database Collaboratory, to find out who is already involved in north state collaborations.  Search Collaboratory using the term North State Roots or any county or organization you are interested to partner with to learn more.

Please contact the Director of Civic Engagement for more information.