2019 NASPA Excellence Awards: Congratulations to the Region VI Honrees!

Natalie Betancourt Arellano, Webmaster

February 1, 2019

The NASPA Excellence Awards recognize the contributions of members who are transforming higher education through outstanding programs, innovative services, and effective administration. Celebrating our successes inspires evolution across the field that benefits students, improves institutions, and sustains our profession. Gold honorees in each of the eleven Excellence Award categories are selected by committees of volunteers. The eleven Gold honorees are then further reviewed, and three Grand Medals are awarded. Each Gold honoree is invited to present their program or initiative as a poster session during the Annual Conference, which this year will take place in Los Angeles March 10-13. Please join us in celebrating the impactful and innovative work of this year’s NASPA Excellence Awardees. Below are featured honrees from Region VI.

Athletics, Recreation, Physical Fitness, Non-Varsity Sports, and related Excellence Award

Get Outdoors Fund Scholarship Program - California State University, Chico

The Get Outdoors Fund at California State University, Chico provides scholarships for outdoor adventure trips. Students at CSUC have been facing increasing financial barriers to participation in Adventure Outings (AO) trips, as indicated by qualification for federal financial need, evaluation data, and feedback. The Get Outdoors Fund provides scholarships that help engage individuals of all backgrounds in outdoor pursuits, regardless of socioeconomic status. To generate revenue for the Get Outdoors Fund, Adventure Outings works in tandem with the Bike Cart, a bicycle repair program that serves the Chico State community. Revenue for scholarship funds is primarily generated through a used bicycle auction. At the end of each semester, abandoned bicycles on campus are collected by the Chico State University Police Department. Bikes that remain unclaimed after 6 months are then released to the Bike Cart. Staff sort through the bikes to determine value, strip usable parts, and recycle unusable bikes and parts as scrap metal through Associated Students CSU, Chico Recycling. Usable parts stripped from these scrap bikes are repurposed and utilized to replace parts on bikes to be sold. Bikes are repaired as needed and sold at a semi-annual auction ran by Bike Cart staff. A small fee from each bike sale goes back to the Bike Cart to cover the cost of labor and new parts, and the remainder transfers into a scholarship program, the Get Outdoors Fund, for students to attend an Adventure Outings trip. Since its inception in 2007, the bike auctions have generated over $50,000 for the Get Outdoors Fund, and over 1000 used bikes have been repurposed and sold to provide the campus community with an environmentally-responsible transportation option. In order to apply for a scholarship, students complete an application through OrgSync, the university’s online engagement platform. The application gauges financial need through various questions including FAFSA financial aid qualification, description of the student’s financial situation, and the need for the scholarship in order to participate in an Adventure Outings trip. In the last 3 years, 438 scholarship applications have been received via OrgSync, and 385 of those applicants (approximately 89%) have received scholarship offers. Scholarship awards from the Get Outdoors Fund then provide support for students to be able to enroll in outdoor adventure offerings through Adventure Outings. These offerings include student-led outdoor adventure trips such as backpacking, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing, taking place throughout the academic year as well as summer wilderness orientation programs. As evidenced by the data presented in the Student Learning and Success section, participation in Adventure Outings trips has a positive effect on students. Involvement positively impacts student success. Retention rates increase as students build connections on and off campus and sense of belonging strengthens. To conclude, the Get Outdoors Fund contributes to the overall college experience of Chico State students. Synergy between Adventure Outings, Bike Cart, and campus collaborators breaks down financial barriers to student engagement in outdoor adventures and creates opportunities for involvement that enhance the holistic well-being of students.

Housing, Residence Life, Contracted Services, Judicial, and related Excellence Award

yakʔitʸutʸu: A student-centered housing community - California Polytechnic State University

Cal Poly’s new first-year housing community, yak?it?ut?u, opened its doors to residents in Fall 2018. The housing complex — which includes a Welcome Center, an Administrative Building, and seven residence halls — is home to nearly 1,500 first-year students (roughly one-third of Cal Poly’s first-year population). The project, which broke ground in late 2015, is part of the university’s master plan to offer more on-campus housing for students. yak?it?ut?u was named in honor of and in partnership with the Indigenous Peoples of San Luis Obispo County. The name means “our community” in the yak tit?u tit?u yak ti?hini, Northern Chumash language. The community’s residential buildings were named after seven Northern Chumash villages in San Luis Obispo County. More than just names on a building, the community will host programs and events in partnership with the yak tit?u tit?u yak ti?hini tribe to educate future generations of students and local residents about the Indigenous People of San Luis Obispo County. Constructing a new complex, literally, from the ground up offered University Housing a unique opportunity to design an inclusive, student-centered, community-focused facility and pair it with student programming that matches residents’ needs. The complex was intentionally designed to facilitate a sense a community. The relationships and connections that students make in their first-year at college are incredibly important to their mental wellness, to their sense of belonging, and even to their academic success. To that end, yak?it?ut?u is designed with abundant common spaces for students to gather and make connections — like community kitchens, living rooms, group study areas, an outdoor amphitheater, a central lawn, a beach volleyball court, and an outdoor game area. For residents who need a little time to focus on self-care, yak?it?ut?u also features serenity rooms in each residence hall — for meditation, prayer, yoga, reflection, or reading. yak?it?ut?u was also intentionally designed to be an inclusive space for residents. All bedroom doors and bathroom stalls are wide enough to admit wheelchairs, all buildings are equipped with elevators, and all rooms on the first-floor are ADA-compliant. In addition, all the restrooms in yak?it?ut?u are all-gender, so all students can use the facilities the same way — without having to declare their gender identities at the door. yak?it?ut?u was also programmatically designed to promote student success — both in terms of academics and wellbeing. Residents of yak?it?ut?u live within a Residential Learning Community that matches their interests, academic focus, or needs. A new Faculty-in-Residence program at yak?it?ut?u offers students an opportunity to continue their academic journey right in their residence halls. University Housing also offers satellite services for students in yak?it?ut?u, which means students have access to academic support and even wellness counseling within their living community.

International, Multicultural, Cultural, Gender, LGBTQ, Spirituality, Disability, and related Excellence Award

The Q Clothing Closet - California State University, Fresno

The Q Clothing Closet was founded in 2018 by Fresno State’s LGBTQ+ Programs and Services of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center in partnership with the Career Development Center. The closet exists to provide free clothing, shoes, and accessories primarily for transgender and gender nonconforming students. However, the closet also serves anyone who might need safe and easy access to free clothing. We acknowledge the hardship that transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals experience when shopping for clothing, so we strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for all people browsing the closet. Our mission is to promote awareness of clothing insecurity at Fresno State, with a specific focus on transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals on campus. The closet opens during scheduled pop-up shops once a month during the semester. Fresno State’s mission proclaims that the campus believes in, “fostering personal passion, potential and a sense of belonging” and that “effective solutions come from inclusiveness, openness and respect.” The Q Clothing Closet was born from students’ personal passion to serve a marginalized community on campus who had little to no resources in order to provide them a sense of belonging, a safe place to be their authentic selves, and meet their most basic needs. We believe that all students deserve an equal opportunity for success, so it was important that the Q Clothing Closet was born to help level the playing field for all students attending Fresno State. Furthermore, Fresno State has progressively increased services and resources for our LGBTQ+ student population. However, the city of Fresno has yet to keep up. As of September 2018, Fresno State has the only clothing closet that specifically caters to the trans and gender- nonconforming community in the Fresno area. With that said, we opened our doors to community members that identify as transgender as well in order to broaden our services to the larger community. Recently, the city of Fresno also closed its doors to the only LGBTQ+ Resource Center making it even more difficult to access LGBTQ+ Resources such as free clothing. Although there have been many efforts in the Fresno community to centralize and increase transgender resources, Fresno State has paved the way in an effort to create more inclusive and brave spaces for transgender individuals. Fresno State’s Q Clothing Closet is a model that folks in the community are hoping to follow in years to come as they begin to revitalize the transgender and gender-nonconforming resources in Fresno, CA.

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