Taylor Herren

Major: Animal Science
Hometown: Pine Mountain Club, CA
Class: Junior
Program Position: Director of Community Connections | CAVE

Taylor didn’t know a soul when she came to Chico State, but a presentation about CAVE in her University 101 class changed that dramatically. “CAVE motivates me and gives me a purpose. I can make an impact and leave my mark at Chico State.” And that is exactly what Taylor has done for the last five semesters. She initially volunteered in two of CAVE’s weekend immersion programs and loved both experiences. CAVE staff knew a good prospect when they saw one, so Taylor was invited to be a group leader in the Outreach Program. For two semesters she focused on volunteer recruitment efforts, fund raising, staff service projects and special events. Then she had the opportunity to become the coordinator for CAVE’s newest grant funded program, Chico Homeless Ambassadors. As a grant representative, Taylor had the privilege of presenting at a national conference where she spoke about the operation of CAVE’s successful community service programs and their impact.

The next step for Taylor was a director position at CAVE. Her talents made her the best fit for the Community Connections program. As the director she has oversight for five different community based programs: Senior Circle, Adopted Grandparents, Adopt a Park, Chico Homeless Ambassadors, and Animal Connections. Taylor supervises 25 student staff and over 200 volunteers. She establishes and monitors a timeline for staff internships; checks on the progress of volunteers; and most importantly,  serves as liaison between community partners and CAVE. “My legacy to CAVE will be the positive relationships I’ve developed with our community partners. It’s important to keep our partners happy – to listen to their concerns and address any issues they may have. Ultimately, that’s what makes the program successful.” As a program director, Taylor also sits on the CAVE Steering committee where all directors and the professional staff take a team approach to managing such a huge and successful program. The key to their success, according to Taylor, lies in “developing meaningful objectives and reflection for good outcomes, and collaborating with other programs.”

As a director, Taylor feels she has a platform to make change. It gives her leverage to express her passion through advocacy efforts like the SAFE Campaign and Homeless Awareness. “CAVE provides structure and support but allows you the freedom to create and learn by your mistakes. We get great support from professional staff.” Taylor also credits CAVE with improving her communication and time management as well as increasing her self confidence. Her work with CAVE has also opened up the door to a variety of scholarship opportunities and she is the proud recipient of three such honors.

Taylor plans to attend veterinary school with an eye to becoming a food animal vet, and possibly get involved in research. She interns at the Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital each summer and has accumulated over a 1000 hours of on-site experience.

In Taylor’s words:
“CAVE has given me an insight to civic engagement in the sense that I have become more aware of local issues and have a desire to invest in the community, to take ownership of it. It’s important that students acknowledge that we don’t just go to school here. We are members of the community and should make meaningful contributions.”