How to Avoid Becoming a Boomerang Kid

By Stephanie Burke, Social Media Assistant and Account Executive
Recently, many of my friends have graduated and none of them are completely thrilled about it. When they come back to visit their friends still attending school, they say things like “Don’t leave Chico, stay here as long as you can!” 
My personal opinion about why they aren’t happy is because they are currently sleeping at their parent’s house in their old twin-size bed. No one wants to go from complete freedom to checking in with your parents before you leave the house. So why go back? Before you graduate, take some time to figure out how you can get a job and move into an apartment right after graduation. Here are some helpful tips to make it happen.
1. Make a Plan
Write down your goals. David Kohl, a professor at Virginia Tech University, says people who write down their goals on a regular basis can earn nine times more in their lifetime than people who don’t. Include in these goals where you would like to live, what job you would like to have, and what company you would like to work for. Writing down goals will help you realize what’s important to you in life and how you must allocate your time and money in order to succeed.
2. Internships, Internships, Internships
Not only do internships give you experience, but they also expand your network. Jeff McGuire of says, “In today’s competitive job market it’s not just what you know, it’s what you know and who you know that often makes the difference.” Having quality internships will help you get that dream job much faster.
3. Avoid Debt and Save Money
If you know you won’t be responsible with a credit card, don’t get one. Unfortunately, many college students already come out of college with a large amount of debt because of high tuition, living expenses, etc. Save money any way you can. Make coffee at home, eat out only when you’re celebrating special occasions, and if you can, get a part-time job. 
4. Calculate How Much You Owe for Student Loans
Like stated before, many students have student loans, but also aren’t quite sure how much it’s going to cost them to pay the money back. Figure it out now before you graduate so you know what type of expense you’re in for. 
And finally, the most important thing to remember as a student is, it’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Fall, the Best Season of All

By Mandie Niklowitz, Online Communications Director

It may be 95 degrees outside right now, but in a few weeks the weather will cool off, the leaves will start to change, and it will be my favorite season of all, fall!

Chico is beautiful in the fall. The city transforms as the trees become bright with red, orange and yellow leaves. The temperature finally drops and walking to class no longer feels like crossing the Sahara Desert. I can’t wait to wear leggings, a baggy sweater and a scarf to class everyday. It’s not just comfortable, but it’s cute too.
I can only think of one thing that makes crunching through the leaves on the walk to class better; a Pumpkin Spice Latte in a red holiday cup from Starbucks. It might sound cheesy, but there’s something about those red cups that make you feel cozy and at home.
If you’re a broke college student like me, trying to get your fix of Pumpkin Spice Lattes before the seasons change can get expensive. But now thanks to Pinterest, this has all changed. After seeing a recipe for a homemade Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino, I got curious and began searching for a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe.
The easiest recipe I found comes from the blog Confections of a Foodie Bride. Her recipe was very simple and didn’t require a fancy coffee machine. The final product was delicious, even if it wasn’t exactly like the one from Starbucks.
The latte took me about 30 minutes to make, which would be impossible during my rushed mornings. But I found if you double or triple the recipe, there’s enough to reheat and drink later.
Right now it feels like the temperature will never drop below 90 degrees, but believe it or not fall is just around the corner. So get your coffee pot ready, and keep an eye out for red holiday cups!


By Colby Smith, PR Director

Heartache, sadness, frustration. 

These are the emotions that flowed through my veins when I opened up the Chico Enterprise-Record article confirming Brett Olson’s death. 
The 20-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student had been missing since Sunday Sept. 2. He was last seen midafternoon at Beer Can Beach among the thousands of people who participated in the Labor Day float. His body was discovered a week later, Sept. 9, by fishermen downstream of Beer Can Beach.
All week people were posting to a Facebook group titled “Let’s Bring Brett Home”. Posts on the site included possible sightings of Brett, organized search parties of students and volunteers, and shared tweets from celebrities on Twitter using the hashtag  #findbrettolson. His brother and parents even posted on the page, thanking the Facebook community for all its support. 
It was a jaw-dropping experience to see people all over the nation come together on Facebook to do everything humanly possible to find him. The group reached 90,000 members in only five days, a perfect example of how powerful social media can be. 
It warmed my soul to see the Chico community respond to Brett’s disappearance with warmth, hope and action.
But for some reason, I feel personally responsible as a Chico State student. I feel like I should have prevented this from happening somehow. Even though I am not a float participant or advocate, I feel guilty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have personally done anything differently to prevent this tragedy. 
Chico State President Paul Zingg sent an email to students explaining that last year a bill was proposed to ban alcohol on the river for summer holidays, but was not passed by the needed four-fifths vote. He said that he believes this law should be looked at again, and I agree. 
A lot of people are blaming this tragedy on the fact Brett was not from Chico, implying visitors can’t handle Chico and so on. But what it comes down to, is that this could have happened to anyone on the river that day. Brett could have just as easily been your classmate, your friend, or your sibling.
Speaking from experience, it’s a horrible, deep, gut-wrenching, unfair, dark and indescribable feeling when a friend dies.  Now is the time to take action to protect our friends. 
Thousands of people, a strong river current, and alcohol have proven to be a fatal combination. We should do everything we can to ban alcohol from the river on Labor Day weekend to prevent a catastrophe like this from ever happening again. 
My heart goes out to friends and family of Brett Olson. Chico will forever be sending love your way. 
Video: Candlelight Vigil held in Brett’s hometown, Lafayette, CA 
Twitter: #rememberbrettolson

First Impressions

By Gregory Bloom, General Manager

Hello everyone and welcome back to a brand new semester. I hope the summer was either as action packed or uneventful as you desired.

Whatever the warm summer months might have brought you, a new school year is upon us as well as an opportunity to step up your game as a professional.

Whether you are a public relations student or a graduate taking your first step into the professional world, here are some important tips to keep in mind when meeting business clients for the first time.

Not to sound uptight, but first impressions mean everything in this business. Do your best to make the most positive first impression possible by dressing like a professional. For men, this means IRONED khakis, a button-up shirt, dress shoes, a good haircut and either be clean-shaven or have a well-trimmed beard. A sloppy appearance will make it difficult for a client to respect your abilities. If you can’t make yourself look good, how are you going to make your client look good? According to this survey conducted by, good looking bosses are considered more competent than their less attractive colleagues. Shallow? Maybe. But why shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to respect in the office?

It’s about your client, not necessarily you.
Remember this might be the first time your client has worked with a public relations team before. Make sure you get them comfortable communicating their needs with you.  Creating good rapport with your client will help you down the road when things get hectic. This article from lists some great ways to instantly create relationships with people you meet.

-Create a working relationship with your team
After meeting your client, discuss with your team how each team member will contribute. Be clear on each team member’s expectations and hold each other accountable.

With these tips in mind, your efforts to create a working relationship with your client will come easier.

You might well remember that nothing can bring you success but yourself.” – Napoleon Hill. 

Fun in the Sun

By Shelby Hudak, Assistant Account Executive

There is something about warm weather that brings out the best in everyone. Chico goes from temperature lows to temperature highs in a matter of days. Springtime is here and summer is just around the corner. We can finally put our pea coats and UGG boots in the back of our closets and bring forward the flip-flops and tank tops.

My all time favorite summer activities are boating and wakeboarding, whether it be at Folsom Lake in my hometown or Lake Oroville, which is just about a 30-minute drive from Chico. Boating is such a relaxing yet exhilarating activity. Hanging on to a rope attached to a boat while my feet are strapped into a wakeboard is one of the best feelings.

Another great thing about summertime approaching is that many towns, including Chico, have weekly markets. These markets include numerous vendors selling various items such as produce, art and handmade jewelry. Chico has the Thursday Night Market which helps bring the community together.

When I think of summer, one of the first things that comes to mind is barbecue. In the summer the days stay lighter for longer; It will still be light until at least around 8 p.m. This makes for great outdoor get-togethers with family and friends where people have fire pits and barbecue.

Camping is a popular family vacation in the summer. Students have around a two to three month break from school for summer, and many parents take their vacation time during the summer. This equals a recipe for family vacations.

I love warm weather and all the fun activities that warm weather brings. Summer is my favorite season and time of year.

My Favorite Time of Day

By Adam Prieto,

As the season shifts and the spring weather is in the air, I usually have to wait for my favorite time of the day. Once 7 p.m. hits you can usually find me out and about in my own little world. The sun has about another hour left in its day until it proceeds to its slow diminishing act. This is the time of the day that I’m usually waiting for. The lighting is low and warm, and the deep shadows create abstract objects. Everything in sight is slightly more beautiful. One of my most favorite things about photography is how easy you can get up and just go.  I pop in my headphones and captivate my ear canals with soft, relaxing music. All of a sudden, things in front of me become still. External noises are eliminated and I’m in a therapeutic sense of meditation. 


The most fascinating thing about going out and just shooting is you never know what that thing is going to be that draws you in. You just let it happen. It seems odd, but it’s almost like letting your self be seduced a little bit every day. This is the real joy of it. To go out and be part of the world you’re in. To see it, to keep your eyes open, to really relate and react to what you’re seeing. I don’t think, “is this in the moment enough or beautiful enough?” I’m just reacting, reacting to the moment. Life is a series of moments, and photography allows me to capture and share them – to capture a little piece of the universe and sustain it one picture at a time.  It is now 7:35 p.m. 

“For the world is movement, and you cannot be stationary in your attitude toward something that is moving. Sometimes you light upon the picture in seconds; it may also require hours or days. But there is no standard plan, no pattern from which to work. You must be on the alert with the brain, the eye; and have a suppleness of body.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Truth-Room Sessions & Frenemies

By Christina Rafael, Photographer/Videographer

In elementary school she ditched you at recess. In junior high she stole your boyfriend. And in high school she blamed you when the teacher caught her cheating. As an adult, well, she’s the friend that you’ve been in a silent fight with for the last three months.
Back in easier times one could choose to just find new friends, move on and better yourself. In the adult world, one where you must network constantly, you’ll need better tactics.
So what do you do when a fight that has been simmering blows up in your face? Well, ladies, you handle your words like a PR professional.
When journalism Professor Morris Brown taught “Introduction to Public Relations,” he gave a simple list of question to answer when introduced to a PR crisis.
What is the problem?
Why is there a problem?
What are the probable causes of the problem?
How serious is the problem?
Who is affected by the problem?
What has been done to solve the problem?
This situation analysis is useful when identifying issues, figuring out if they’re worth fighting over and assessing how you’ve done so far. When dealing with women, it’s best to choose your battles and often admit wrong doing for problems not worth an escalation.
If there is a problem which you’ve personally caused, it’s best to own up to said problem by following a basic to-do list from
Confess. State what you did. Own up to it. Be clear and candid. Give enough details.
Apologize. Say, “I apologize” — not just, “I’m sorry” — for whatever it is you did.
Rectify. How will you make the current situation better? What are the short-term and reactive measures?
What are the long-term and preemptive steps that will assure this doesn’t happen again — ever?
Seek forgiveness. This is important. Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness from those impacted.
If a situation is not your fault yet becomes thrust upon you, it’s best to tread lightly but stand your ground. Remember that every word can be like stepping in a minefield; you never know what will cause an explosion.
It’s best to approach the offender in a neutral space, like a coffee shop, where things have less ability to reach epic proportions. Once you are able to sit down, have what the industry calls a “truth-room session” with the friend.
During a traditional truth-room session, a consultant tells a client something that’s probably true, but not flattering. In a frenemy truth-room session, you’ll need to lay all cards on the table and confront with as little assumptions as possible.
Although these tips help solve most arguments, there comes a time when a friendship has run its course and you must cut ties with the friend. As a PR professional, cutting ties and rebranding is part of the industry and sometimes the best solution after a crisis has been addressed.
Dealing with your frenemy as a PR professional is the best way to keep arguments as classy as possible, leave little backlash to you and the best way to take the high road.
Below are some helpful articles about handling professional or personal crisis management situations.

Music in Visual Media: More than Meets the Ear

By Kayla Noriega, Social Media Assistant and Editorial Assistant

There are few things in my life that come close to matching the love I have for music. Film is one of those things that come close, and I think the two go hand in hand. 

The thing that I love most about music is its ability to have a real emotional impact on people; there are songs that take me right back to certain memories and remind of people, places and events. Since music can have such a lasting effect, the songs that make up a movie soundtrack, in my opinion, are just as important as the movie itself. 

Music supervisors can really influence viewers and prompt certain reactions by having the right music play during the right scene. A great soundtrack definitely doesn’t go unnoticed by viewers and can sometimes generate more popularity for a film. Soundtracks have now evolved even more with different artists and groups creating original songs for movies. Some examples are movies like “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” which garnered their own popularity and stayed at the top of the charts on iTunes before the movies were even released.

Whether it’s a musical score or a compilation of different songs, some film music becomes iconic and is recognizable around the world and across generations. 
Here are some examples of well-received soundtracks and well-known composers.
  • The “Garden State” soundtrack, which was compiled by Zach Braff who also starred in the film. The soundtrack won a Grammy award.
  • The “Almost Famous” soundtrack: It won a Grammy award.
  • The “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack: It won a Grammy award.
  • Eddie Vedder’s song “Guaranteed” for the movie “Into the Wild” won a Golden Globe and a Grammy award.
  • A.R. Rahman’s song “Jai Ho” for the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” won an Academy Award.
  • “Titanic”: It won multiple Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Grammy Awards for the score by composer James Horner and for the song “My Heart Will Go On,” performed by Celine Dion, who also won an award.
  • John Williams: Composer for films like the “Star Wars” series, “Jaws,” the Indiana Jones series, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Superman,” “Jurassic Park,” and three of the Harry Potter films, to name just a few.My dream job is to one day become a music supervisor; I want to have a career that I love and I think working with music is the key to that. I want to contribute to a soundtrack and help create meaningful moments for viewers that I have experienced as a viewer myself. 

Summer Improvement

By Greg Bloom, Online Communications Director

One of the great benefits of the modern age is the ability to access wisdom and knowledge that others have gathered and apply that knowledge to our own lives. Countless brilliant authors, poets and sages have contributed to an endless plethora of useful knowledge that, once understood, can add immeasurable value to our life experiences.  Personally, I really enjoy reading or listening to audiobooks that can have the effect of improved efficiency, creativity, health or spiritual satisfaction in my life. These are a few of the books that I have embraced as key influencers on my perception of the world.

1.Napoleon Hill, “The Law of Success”
 Of all the great thinkers and books I have consumed, I must admit that Napoleon Hill has proven to be the cornerstone of my appreciation for the self-improvement
genre. Nowhere else can you find a more comprehensive volume of hidden-in-plain-sight knowledge that can greatly benefit your life. With critical lessons such as “the habit of doing more than paid for,” “the art of pleasing personality” and “concentration,” this book is a must-have for any person pursuing the self-improvement arts.

2. Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Often considered the greatest self-improvement book of all time, this book lets us in on the master key of success in our relationships with other people. The secret, this book says, is that arguing to prove your point-of-view is useless. The trick is to understand that your opponent thinks what they do for a reason. The trick is that one must show the person that they validate their opinion for a legitimate reason. The role then is to tell let them that they must understand how that their experience may be an expanded view of reality that incorporates their own opinion. Again, this is a cornerstone book for anyone seeking a path of dramatic self improvement.

3.Daniel Goleman, “Social Intelligence”
Daniel Goleman, whom some consider created the modern self-improvement genre with his groundbreaking work, “Emotional Intelligence,” has recently released a book that is sure to have just as much of a revolutionary impact in the self-improvement world as its predecessor. The key idea it presents is that the mental interaction between two individuals  is not only an abstract process but a physical one; our brains are creating a physical connection among neurons between two individuals across space and possibly time. This book is a profound, groundbreaking work in the exciting new field of social neurology.

4.Robert Greene, “The 48 Laws of Power,”
Dubbing himself a “hyper-realist,” Greene has often been called hedonistic, Machiavellian or even plain evil. This book nonetheless provides invaluable knowledge. The knowledge I gained from this
book is that it provides colorful historical anecdotes for all lessons it advises. Citing such historical figures as Napoleon, Galileo and Sun Tzu, this work is a manifesto of the opaque laws of material power.

These are a few of the many outstanding books to get you started in the world of the self-improvement genre. All can be found in both print and audio book formats. I personally like to listen to all of them successfully and re-listen as often as possible. 
I also suggest reading the print versions as often as possible to enhance recollection using visual mind-recall tactics.