Oct 7, 2022

Butte College and Rebuilding Communities

I spent the past two days on the Butte College campus in Oroville, California. It is a mid-sized community college of roughly 7500 students situated just south of Chico in Northern California. The campus rests on a wildlife refuge, and has been recognized as a national community college leader in sustainability, winning the grand prize 2008 National Wildlife Federation’s Chill Out Contest and the 2009 National Campus Sustainability Leadership Award. It is a stunning and serene setting to bring together students from the throughout the region for training in applied learning programs.

But, you might know the region from the Camp Fire, the wildfire that burned in November 2018. The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California‘s history and the most expensive natural disaster in the world in 2018 in terms of insured losses. It completely burned down multiple communities, destroying towns such as Paradise, California.

I am amazed by the resilience demonstrated by people in this community. Environmental disruption has been their recent five year history, from the Camp Fire to the pandemic, as the region tries to rebuild and reemerge stronger. Throughout Butte County, you see commemorations to the destruction around this time of year. And, community colleges such as Butte College are an integral part of that rebuilding process. Situated in the heart of the county, Butte College is among the most integral components of workforce development, creating career pathways in areas such as law enforcement, fire fighting, healthcare professionals that literally rebuild the region. I’m feeling grateful and inspired today after watching this resilient organization literally lift and elevate a community.

Leave a Comment