California State University, Chico traces its history to 1887, when a benefactor donated an eight-acre cherry orchard for the establishment of a school. Today, its main campus covers 132 acres, and the university also manages 800 acres of farmland, as well as more than 4,000 acres of ecological reserves.
The school's eco-friendly spirit has thrust it into the national spotlight. Chico State, as it’s commonly called, is ranked by many organizations as one of the country's greenest campuses, thanks in large part to the undergraduates who host the country's largest student-run sustainability conference.
Chico State, an Education Department-designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, has a six-year graduation rate of 74%, and 62% of students receive grants. The diverse student body (made up of about 14,000 undergrads) is a globally minded one, with study abroad programs available in over 200 locations around the globe, including Cuba, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy and many others.
Chico’s Division II athletics program also keeps students active, offering 13 intercollegiate sports. A party atmosphere is known to take over on the weekends, but classes held outside among the trees and lunches by the campus creek provide tranquility during the rest of the week. The campus, which is home to more than 200 species of plants, was officially dedicated as an arboretum in 1982.