Winter wonderland event recognizes CAVE students and volunteers

Diego Martinez, junior organizational communication major, at CAVE's Winter Wonderland recognition event. Photo credit: Taylor Sinclair

Walking into the Bell Memorial Union auditorium, CAVE members were greeted with the smell of food, an array of Christmas lights, 19 decorated tables and blue and white balloons. They came here for one thing: to be recognized for all their hard work this semester.

CAVE, a nonprofit organization held for the past 48 years on campus, had a record-breaking 520 volunteers and 94 staff members this semester.

The recognition event has been going on for the past three years at Chico State. This year, the Winter Wonderland event drew around 300 student volunteers.

Diego Martinez, a junior organizational communication major and one of CAVE’s six service learning directors, said the high number of volunteers this semester came from students wanting to be a part of a great service.

“Students know we provide such a great service to the community,” Martinez said. “We facilitate those opportunities to learn and get involved in the community. Especially those people who first come up to Chico, they are seeking to get involved.”

Students receive three credits for joining CAVE. This, however, means putting in 30 or more hours of community service per student. Students are placed within a branch or group within CAVE, where they will focus their attention.

“Our main focus is to provide service to our community,” Martinez said. “Within that there are branches, so we have our homeless, adopt a grandparent, or kids programs. Depending on what group you are a part of, that will be your main focus.”

“We maxed out on all our programs and all our volunteers have been amazing,” Martinez said. “We’ve heard nothing bad from our community partners. It’s just a bunch of people coming together with the same goal.”

Martinez hopes students realize there are people and populations out there who need help and it is okay to reach out.

“Our goal is to keep maxing out all our programs and providing those students who come to our program with an amazing experience,” Martinez said.

Taylor Sinclair can be reached at [email protected] or @TaySinclair17 on Twitter.