Virtual campus

As Chico State classes go online so to do university events

Author/scientist Lauren E. Oakes in a tent in Alaska researching for her book, In Search of the Canary Tree.

Last week, Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson announced that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university will hold a virtual graduation commencement ceremony (May 15) instead of an on-campus event. It’s the final nail in the coffin for an in-person spring semester, making the digital transition of the last two months of the 2019-2020 school year complete.

Despite the fact that all public events on campus have been canceled, Chico State has posted a decent amount of online events, meet-ups, talks and interactive experiences on the university’s calendar—everything from an Academic Parenthood Support Zoom meeting (Wednesday, April 22, 10 a.m.) to a Couch Concert on YouTube (Friday, April 24, 2-4 p.m.) presented by the Associated Students and featuring a variety of student musicians performing.

There are also a couple of arts-related events on this week’s calendar that ordinarily would fill up the stage of Laxson Auditorium this time of year. Wednesday (April 22) is Earth Day, and in recognition, Chico Performances will present a Zoom Q&A (starting at 3 p.m.) with scientist/educator/author Lauren E. Oakes, whose 2018 book, In Search of the Canary Tree, is this year’s Book in Common for Butte County.

A scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and a professor at Stanford University, Oakes journeyed to old-growth forests in Alaska to study the endangered yellow cedar, and discovered a community creating a different relationship with the land in a new emerging environment. As President Hutchinson noted, there are parallels with locals who are still recovering post-Camp Fire: “Oakes’ depiction of community resilience in the face of loss will resonate well with Butte County readers.” Visit the Chico Peformances event page for a registration link.

Also on Wednesday (at 1 p.m.), North State Symphony conductor/music director Scott Seaton will bring his popular Just Ask segment online. Normally, Seaton takes questions from the audience via text during intermission of symphony performances, but for the virtual version he’ll appear on Facebook Live alongside violinist Andrew Sords to answer questions about the symphony and how COVID-19 is affecting musicians. Just log into Facebook and click on the link to join the conversation.

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