‘Cats in the Community give back


Nicole Beal, sophomore pre-nursing major, and Jenna Fletcher, junior health science administration major, are full of excitement as they prepare to head to Bidwell Park. Photo credit: Dominique Diaz

Watch video at end of story for student involvement.

“We’re helping the community!” could be heard throughout downtown Chico as several students yelled at passers-by on their way to lower Bidwell Park.

Hundreds of students gathered at the Wildcat Recreation Center March 31 to participate in ‘Cats in the Community.

The event was a way for students to donate their time on Cesar Chavez Day. They were split into groups and sent to places throughout Chico, including the Boys and Girls Club, Bidwell Park and the Jesus Center.

Over 40 student volunteers make their way into Bidwell Park, ready to give back. Photo credit: Dominique Diaz


The students gathered as a way to honor Cesar Chavez and all he did for the community.

Ann Schwab, Chico City Council member, spoke in front of the students and thanked them for showing up.

“(It’s) a huge community service project to show who Wildcats are,” Schwab said. “That’s what you’re doing today.”

She then asked everyone in attendance to say the phrase, “Si se puede,” which translates to “Yes you can” in English.

Dominick Mattoni, sophomore business major, is one of many students who proved he can.

Dominick Mattoni, sophomore business major, and Joshua Franco, business administration management major, work together to remove an invasive plant. Photo credit: Dominique Diaz


“I know everyone out there is partying but I want to be here and help out the community first,” Mattoni said. “I know we love to party, but we also love to help out the community.”

Jenna Fletcher, CAVE operations director and junior health science administration major, has a passion for doing just that.

“Today is special because it’s Cesar Chavez Day,” Fletcher said. “And instead of just having the day off to perpetuate the social stigma of students just partying, we took our day off to help out the community.”

Joshua Franco, junior business administration management major, was full of excitement as he waited to get started.

Joshua Franco, junior business administration management major, holds his hands up in excitement as he prepares to volunteer. Photo credit: Dominique Diaz


“We like helping people, that’s why we’re here,” Franco said. “We’re volunteering.”

Franco was part of the Bidwell Park group, which consisted of approximately 40 students and volunteers.

Mike Boyd, the park’s volunteer coordinator, advised students on their duties for the day.

“The park is all natural and invasive plants tend to grow up the trees in the summer,” Boyd said.

Mike Boyd, the park’s volunteer coordinator, explains safety rules to volunteers. Photo credit: Dominique Diaz


Soon after, student volunteers split into even smaller groups and went to work on removing weeds and other invasive plants.

Will Powers, first-year mechanical engineering major, showed up because he just felt like volunteering.

“I figured I could do that before I go and hang out with friends afterward,” Powers said. “Pulling out weeds, cleaning up Bidwell — it should be fun.”

With looks of determination, gloves, tarps and tools, he and his fellow Wildcats went straight to work.

Dominique Diaz can be reached at [email protected] or @dominiquelaura on Twitter.