Dispatches from the Future
Climate and Chico State Athletics
Luke Dennison was hired as the new athletic director at Chico State over the summer of 2031. Luke was a student athlete who played soccer and graduated with a degree in public relations and environmental studies in 2018. Luke went on to play soccer for Ireland’s national soccer team and helped them qualify for the 2022 and 2026 world cup. He also had an incredible career for the Shamrock Rovers in the Irish Premiership.
Throughout his time away from Chico, Luke kept in touch with his family, close friends and his mentors. Luke and his mentors would speak every few months, They would update him on any news at the school, but every time they spoke it seemed like there was some sort of environmental disaster going on. Whether it was the extreme heat that never seemed to decline, or huge fires and massive floods that came out of nowhere. The Chico community never seemed ready.
They explained how athletics was being drastically affected. The historically great cross country and track team was not allowed to compete, and with that, other outdoor sports started to fold. Luke was devastated to hear that both the men and women’s soccer programs were denied funding as the extreme heat caused hospitalizations in the preseason for four consecutive years. It left one young women in a coma for over a week, she recovered but did not return to play for Chico’s program. In 2025, Chico State Athletics dropped all sports but except men and women’s basketball.
The summer of 2031 completely changed the lives of the people at Chico State and those involved in the community. Upon assuming the duties of Athletic Director, Luke paved the way for Chico States return to athletics, by signing a contract with ESPN to do a television series on the return of Chico State's Athletics despite the changing climate.
The fall of 2031 was all about rebuilding and allowing for renovations outdoor sports facilities. The soccer, softball, baseball and track fields were all leveled within a month from the new advanced construction vehicles. Luke envisioned the track team and soccer teams sharing a field, gym and track all located within an electrically powered air-conditioned dome that collected rainwater to reuse. Construction began in January of 2032. While construction echoed through the halls of the school and gymnasium, Luke was continuing to work on creating the wildcat family bond that he remembered feeling when he was on the campus. Torrential rainfall and extreme heat still banged the campus from time to time, and also delayed construction, but Chico State’s climate action preparedness plans helped keep the campus, students and faculty safe.
In May 2037, five years since construction had began, the entire community was engaged in the rebuilding process. Everyone seemed to understand Luke’s goal for the campus. May 18, 2037 was a beautiful day. Chico hosted its annual indoor graduation ceremony in the BMU at 10 am and noon. Later that same day, Luke led the banner cutting for all new athletic facilities.
May 18, 2037. 7 p.m. Thousands from the Chico community gathered outside of what seemed to be the biggest arena in the nation. The arena housed a baseball/softball diamond, track and field, two soccer fields snack bars and two multi personal bathrooms.
After some loving words from former athletes who had just walked across the stage and current students and faculty, Luke and about 20 others grabbed massive 6-foot scissors, and cut the ribbon. The climate damage may not be reversed, but Chico State will always be one step ahead.
-- Luke Dennison