Archive Opinion The Orion

Beautiful campus, squirmy squirrels are among Chico’s greatest perks

January 1, 2007

Wild parties, crazy Greeks and dead students.

Talk to anyone about Chico State and eventually one of those three stereotypes will pop up. The reputation this school has isn’t pretty, and it’s wrong for the most part.

People party here just like on any other campus. People do stupid things here just like on any other campus.

But when you dig a little further past the superficial stereotypes people commonly bring up when they think of Chico State, you find something a little different.

While you can’t find a parking space, there’s not much of a reason to do so. The shaded neighborhoods around campus provide beautiful scenery and a relaxing walk or bike ride to campus.

Try to follow the creek that runs through campus some time, and you’ll be in for an alluring look at nature. There are paths that go around it, across it, under bridges, through trees. Every which way there’s a new part of nature waiting to be discovered by a careful eye.

As a photographer, I’m always looking for a good challenge and beautiful scenery, and I can find both around campus.

One thing in my six semesters on staff at The Orion that I’ve been known for is my interest in squirrels. Not because they’re fluffy, gray rodents with fluffy, gray tails, but more because of the way they act.

They run in and out of shadows and sunlight, making it hard to see where they are and where they will go next. A quick moving squirrel by the creek can be hard to catch on camera, and not just because of its speed. Those cute dark eyes turn into something out of a horror movie when the flash bounces off of them.

If there’s one thing I could recommend doing in your four or five years at Chico, it would be to try to get a good photo of a squirrel.

And yet that is what makes Chico different. In a flashing glance, Chico could look like a rabid rat waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting victim. But when you take the time to get to know it, you see a kinder and cuddlier side munching on a nut by the creek.