College of Communication & Education

BS in Recreation, Hospitality, & Parks Management

Program Highlights

Nationally Accredited

Council on Accreditation Parks, lRecreation, Tourism and Related ProfessionsAccredited by a CHEA-recognized accrediting organization

CSU, Chico’s Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT). The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada, and Mexico.

Forest Service Partner of the Year
Emilyn Sheffield, selected as the 2017 “Partner of the Year” by the Pacific Southwest Region of the USDA Forest Service, is an enduring leader in connecting the urban public with America’s public lands. The Field School she created at CSU Chico sends students out to work with public land managers and recreation departments to expose them to possible careers. Recently, she has worked closely with the Mendocino National Forest to establish a forest-campus stewardship program, changing the lives of her students and strengthening the Forest Service with new employees and volunteers.

Field School Rocks
Through Field School, the department’s community based stewardship program, nearly 500 students offer their time and talents to California’s national and state forests, parks and trails. Students staff events, restore habitat, conduct field research, inventory natural and cultural resources, and much more. Redwood Rescue and Career Camp, two of the most popular programs, generate thousands of volunteer hours annually. Field School consistently and positively attracts first time visitors to state and national parks, forests, and trails; encourages students to explore the great outdoors; stimulates interest and intent to spend more time outdoors; and increases awareness of career opportunities in natural and cultural heritage preservation.

Field SchoolField School workers

Getting Every Kid to a Park
Working in partnership with Latinas in Action and the Forest Service, more than 4000 Every Kid in a Park passes were distributed to youth and their families in the summer of 2017. Through a network of community festivals, summer science camps, youth-serving organizations, and hometown schools and libraries, these dynamic women provided conservation education programs and distributed free passes for 4th graders and their families to visit their federal lands, lakes and trails for the entire school year! LIA will hit the road again in 2018 with this popular “Every Kid” program.

Latinas in Action and the Forest ServiceLatinas in Action and the Forest Service

Chico Students, Alums and Faculty Raise Funds and Friends for Lassen Volcanic National Park
Faculty, staff and students from the department help the Lassen Park Foundation raise funds for Lassen Volcanic National Park by staffing events like the annual auction and Reach-the-Peak Hike-a-Thon. Department alumna Nikki Stadler managed the inaugural Reach the Peak Hike-a-Thon and a network of faculty, staff, alums and students volunteered to help make the event a success. Alli Hodgdon Anderson and Team Chico (pictured here) Reached the Peak last August. Meet us in the park on August 11, 2018 to help raise funds to send youth to the park’s Volcano Adventure Camp.

Reach the Peak Hike-a-Thon participants

National Forest Survey
Through a cooperating agreement with the USDA Forest Service and the CSU, Chico Research Foundation, Chico students and alums are staffing a survey of visitors to four of California’s northwestern national forests. Interviewers learn more about visitors’ patterns and preferences and collect data about customer service standards and visitor spending. These data support a national effort to develop profiles of national forest visitors and estimates of the economic impact of outdoor recreation on national forests.

National Forest Survey

California State University Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Alliance (HTMEA)/California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF) are looking to expand the 'Experience Hospitality' brand and create a new program under the same umbrella called 'Experience the CSU.” Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management has hosted more than 100 high school ProStart students in Northern California. High School students toured the campus, sat in on college classes, had lunch with the college students majoring in recreation, hospitality & parks management and learned more about the opportunities Chico State has to offer. There were more than 30 volunteer students from Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management Department and all those high school students were very impressed with what our students did. Here is one of the comments from the educators: “Wow! What a great day we had. Thank you so much for making this day happen. Most of my students don’t get out of Redding much and this gave them a great opportunity to see College life up close. The staff and students of Chico State were fantastic! It was also great to see you and my colleagues. I am writing a special thank you to accessibility department for providing an interpreter for my student. He is very happy and planning on attending Chico State. I now have many students interested and many talked about the Hospitality Management pathway. Great job, see you soon!”

Round Robin Session:Round Robin Session

Field Trips, Outreach, and Professional Development

Hyatt Regency Sacramento
Students in RHPM 354: Resort and Lodging Management visited Hyatt Regency Sacramento and toured the hotel and had an opportunity to meet hoeliers

Resort and Lodging Management students

Sacramento Convention Center
Students in RHPM 354: Resort and Lodging Management visited Sacramento Convention Center and toured the center

Resort and Lodging Management students

Northern California Hospitality Career Expo, San Francisco
Students attended Northern California Hospitality Career Expo and had an opportunity to meet hospitality professionals and our alumni who represented hotels, country clubs, and event management companies

students at Northern California Hospitality Career Expostudents at Northern California Hospitality Career Expo

Hospitality venues in Chico area
Students in RHPM 558: Senior Seminar visited local hospitality venues including Canyon Oaks Country Club, Goodman House B&B, Chapelle de L'Artiste, Oxford Suites, Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, Hotel James, The Palms, Best Western Hotels, ...

Senior Seminar studentsSenior Seminar students

Senior Seminar studentsSenior Seminar students

Career Expos for High School Students, Willows and Sacramento
Students represented our department and spoke to 8th grade students and high school students

Career Expo for high school students

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Boot Camp for Chico State students
Students who committed to work at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe participated Hyatt Boot Camp

Clift Hotel, San Francisco
Students in RHPM 558 stayed a night at Clift Hotel in SF and toured the hotel Students had an opportunity to speak to all department managers, including GM

Hilton Hotel San Francisco
Students in RHPM 558 visited Hilton Hotel in SF and toured the hotel and had an opportunity to speak to managers

Golden1 Center in Sacramento
Students in RHPM 354 visited Golden1 Center and GM spoke to students about the center

High School Outreach, Stockton
Students were invited to speak to high school hospitality students. Our students had an opportunity to speak to judge student made dishes.

high school outreachhigh school outreach

Annual FCCLA State Leadership Conference, Fresno, CA
Students attended annual conference and able to speak to high school students

FCCLA State Leadership Conference

RHPM 444 Interpretive trips: Survey of BCCER's extant interpretive materials, trip to the Smith Anthropology Museum, analysis of the self-guided Chico State Arboretum tour, solo analysis of a local, self-selected field site.

One series of class assignments asks them to select a field site that they believe needs interpretation, justify that choice using relevant research, use our interpretive and communications theory to create an appropriate research-based interpretation that provokes, relates, and reveals a whole using a unified message, AND (finally) write a grant proposal according to California's OEEF grant that seeks funding to implement their interpretation. That requires them to think about budgets, materials, timelines, following specific directions, and use evidence to write persuasively on a technical subject.


Internship Update and Redesign (PDF)

Our capstone internship has been designed cooperatively by educators and field professionals to provide an experience that is mutually beneficial to both the intern and the internship site. The intern, as a pre-professional, also becomes a linking factor between the University department and the professional disciplines. The ideas and theories of the academician, fired by the enthusiasm and idealism of the pre-professional, are tempered, shaped and refined by the demands and lessons of the internship experience under the guidance of the agency professionals.

A redesign of the internship course series (RHPM 586 – 589) is underway to update and better align the internship program with current workplace practices.  Students desire more flexibility and opportunity for creative placements and internship partner sites require students who are thoroughly prepared to succeed in a fast-paced, technology-laden environment. Our redesign seeks to improve learning outcomes related to Global Knowledge, Self-Direction, Adaptability, Self-Knowledge, Social Responsibility and Ethical Judgment (Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP)) while retaining our historic emphasis on disciplinary knowledge, skills and abilities.

For decades, our graduates have secured some of the most unique jobs in America. From event specialists and recreation therapists to hotel managers and forest rangers, serving others links all of these unique career paths into the department core. A selected list of recent internship placements includes:

Guest Speakers in classes include:
Mike Wear (Owner, 5th Street Steakhouse); Barry Miller (Assistant General Manager, Holiday Inn Sacramento); Heather Quilici (Conference Planner, Chico State); Katie Simmons (President & CEO, Chico Chamber of Commerce); Shelley Blanshei (Owner, TBar); Mark Sorenson (CEO & Founder, Social High Rise); Robin Rinehart (Rinehart Design & Consulting; MPI Sierra Nevada Chapter meeting planner of the year)

Campus Visits, Guest Lectures & Recruitment: 
Marriott International, Marriott Vacations Club, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe

Unique Activities:
Co-sponsor of Terry Jones visit to campus in 2018.  Terry Jones is founder of and founding CEO of

Examples of positions of recent graduates:

Anthony Almaguer ('15)
Assistant Executive Housekeeper at Hyatt Regency Orange County
Kyle Brunson ('17)
Sales Representative/Merchandiser at Young's Market Company
Aubry Horne ('16)
Sales Manager at Oxford Suites Sonoma County
Casey Berrios ('16)
Event Management Voyager at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk
Delphine Winter
Co-owner & Senior Planner at The 530 Bride
Heather Menne ('17)
Guest Relations Coordinator at Carmel Valley Ranch
Megan (McCay) Moss ('16)
Event Specialist at Wine & Roses Hotel. Restaurant. Spa
Paulina Belmontes ('15)
Marketing and Communications Specialist at Livermore Area Recreation and Parks District

Ability First Sports
Since 1986, Ability First Sports has offered a wheelchair sports program to young athletes with physical disabilities on the CSUC campus. Instructional and recreational sport opportunities are provided to youth by world and nationally-ranked Paralympians and coaches. Students studying recreation therapy, adaptive physical education, and child development are hired as staff and volunteers. Local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley, Elks, and Rotary participate each year as volunteers.

Ability First Sports program

Adapted Sports Night
Each semester, faculty from recreation therapy and adaptive physical education, host an Adaptive Sports Night on the CSUC campus. The purpose of the event is to introduce students to adaptive sports and meet professional athletes. Participants include students enrolled in “Recreation Therapy and Inclusion” and “Introduction to Adapted Physical Education.” World and nationally-ranked Paralympians and coaches provide instruction for a variety of sports including rugby, beeper baseball (blind folded players), basketball, and seated volleyball. Attendees gain opportunities to participate in several sports as well as hear personal stories from the professional athletes and coaches.

Field School: Corrections Tour
Each semester, the department of RHPM offers a field school to tour a state prison. Students interested in learning more about prison operations, career opportunities, and how recreation services are implemented, are invited to attend a day trip to either Sacramento or Mule Creek State Prison. Students are provided with an extensive tour followed by a question and answer period.

Saveur Event
For decades, the Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management Department has educated students to enter the workforce in some of the most unique jobs in the market. From event specialists and recreation therapists to hotel managers and forest rangers, the Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management (RHPM) Department has some of the most diverse graduates from CSU, Chico. Serving others in the pursuit of leisure bond all of these unique career paths into the department core.

One of the goals of the department is to enable students to get real-world experience. To that end, students in the “Special Event Planning and Operation” class (RHPM 523) are planning this event. Saveur (a French word pronounced “sah-vuhr”) is an annual event that highlights the Chico area and other Northern California cities, regions, national forests, etc. as leisure and recreation destinations. In addition, it supports our Department goals and objectives, which include diversity and inclusive recreation for all people regardless of race, age, gender, socioeconomic status, and ability level.

The third annual Saveur gala was held April 28, 2018, from 6 to 10 PM at Chapelle de L’Artiste in Paradise, California. In preparation for the event, students have been learning/demonstrating how to book venues and vendors, prepare and serve a formal meal, create a theme/décor, create publicity materials, update a website, use social media to promote and event, create invitations and promotional videos, tackle transportation and infrastructure issues, sustainable practices, recruit and manage volunteers, work with audio equipment, book entertainment, manage a budget, and everything else that goes into a successful event.