Language Program Takes Students Around the Globe

ByLeah Veldhuisen ’19

CC’s language-focused study abroad programs are numerous and cover a wide variety of regions and languages. Available languages range from romance languages such as French, Spanish and Portuguese to less-learned ones like Russian and Mandarin. Programs also vary in length, with some lasting an entire semester and others one or two blocks during the school year or summer.

CC’s semester programs take place in France, Germany, and Latin America—an interdisciplinary program that allows students to study in two different countries, which vary year to year, offer the opportunity to spend the whole semester abroad or just two blocks. In France, students live with host families in Tours and take two blocks of French language classes at Institut de Touraine with French professors, and two blocks focusing on culture, food, politics and other topics with CC professors. Laura Santi ’19 did the France program in Spring 2017, and says “studying in France allowed me to expand my language skills through the full-immersion aspect of the program. By living with a host family and taking classes alongside international students at a French University I had to rely on my French as my sole means of communication.”

The Latin America program through the Spanish department is similar with homestays, and two language blocks and two other classes, although all four blocks are taught by CC professors. Students split their time between two countries. Previous trips have spent time in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, and Peru; the 2019 program will spend two blocks in Argentina and two in Chile. David Eik ’19 participated in the full semester in the spring of 2018, and says “I not only learned a lot about the history and culture of Argentina and Chile by living in their capital cities, but I developed an understanding for the dynamics of day-to-day life by living with host families.”

CC’s other full-semester program takes place in Luneburg, Germany, over two blocks of German language at Leuphana University and two blocks of German culture classes with CC faculty. Assistant Professor of German Christiane Steckenbiller says students’ time at the university “allows them to experience different teaching styles, learn more about German culture in an immersive setting, and get to know other students from different countries all over the world.”

For students who are unable or not interested in spending a full semester abroad, CC’s summer or short school year programs offer an alternative. Programs take place in Brazil, Japan, China, Russia, Spain, as well as other countries.

The Russia programtakes places in blocks 7 and 8 each year, and has been running since 1996. Claire Derry ’19 participated in the program in 2017 says that the program helped her to immensely improve her Russian language skills. “We attended Russian institutes where we spent up to 5 hours a day in language practice with Russian professors; our professors also helped foster lots of meaningful interactions with the Russian student so we got to we got to speak Russian with problem our age and learn about student/youth culture,” she explains.

The other two-block program during the academic year is China, while blocks in Brazil, Spain, and Japan happen during the summer. The China program occurs blocks 7 and 8 and includes one block of Mandarin language at Fudan University in Shanghai and one block covering history and culture of China.

The CC in Spain program is a popular summer option, as is provides two blocks of Spanish language and fulfills CC’s language requirement.  Students live with host families in Soria, and have the option to take 100, 200, or 300-level Spanish classes. Associate Professor of Spanish Carrie Ruiz says students “acknowledge that being in Soria forces them to implement Spanish much more than in other more touristy locations, and to learn the language at a faster pace.”

Similarly, the Brazil program is two blocks and provides Portuguese language lessons, as well as a class on Afro-Brazilian cultures. Students again stay with families, and live in Salvador. Professor Naomi Wood says “this program is uniquely focused on language and Afro-diasporic cultures and is one of very few programs that takes students to Latin America.”

Last but not least, CC offers the one block course “Studying in Japan” in Japan that will take place during Block B in the summer of 2019. There are no pre-requisites for Japanese language, but Professor Japanese Joan Ericson says students are encouraged to have some familiarity with the language for living with their host families, interacting with Japanese students and other activities. Students are based in Tokyo, Fujiyoshida, Hamamatsu, and Omi Hachiman, and the program focuses on Japanese dynamics through the lens of debates in the Asian Studies.

Check out more information on these programs, as well as CC’s other study abroad opportunities.

History Course Examines CC’s Spatial Transformation Over Time

By Miriam Brown ’21

Although Colorado College has been co-ed since its founding, its dormitories were a different story. Archived campus master plans show separate female and male dorms were initially located on opposite ends of campus.

“Who were the voices to say, ‘This is not coeducation if we are engaged in dialogue and discussion during the classes but isolated during our co-curriculars?’” Jane Murphy, professor of history, asks.

A course that will be co-taught by Murphy and Jennifer Golightly, the Information Technology Services department academic applications specialist, in Block 5 is hoping to answer that questions and more. Some other examples Murphy gave were: “What was this land before it was a college?” and “Who owned it before it was colonized?”

The course, titled “Digital History/Public History Practicum: Space, Place, and Belonging at Colorado College” aims to engage students in ongoing, independent projects that will examine the institution’s transformation over time.

Last year during Block 5, professor Tip Ragan and Golightly co-taught the college’s first digital history course, as a part of the Digital Liberal Arts Exploration, funded by a Mellon grant. They are hoping that this coming sequel will be an impetus for more public history courses—courses that engage with local resources to examine the contemporary debates of Colorado Springs.

The course will include a number of partnerships with both local and digital resources, including field trips to the History of Colorado Museum in Denver, Special Collections on campus, and the Pioneers Museum in Colorado Springs. Using archives, students will learn how to develop research questions and how to use technology to help answer those questions by charting data patterns.

“More broadly, how do we understand an institution’s coming to being and its transformation over time? Who has been here, not been here, and what experiences in what context?” Murphy says. “All of these threads from the past are still with us in humans living in this area.”

Frankenreads: CC Celebrates “Frankenstein” With Marathon Reading

CC Frankenreads

By Miriam Brown ’21

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” turned 200 this year, and Colorado College was one of almost 700 institutions around the world to participate in its anniversary celebration.

A couple of years ago, members of the Keats-Shelley Association of America created an organization called “Frankenreads” in anticipation of the novel’s bicentennial. The central event was a Halloween marathon reading of “Frankenstein” at the Library of Congress; people in 44 different states and 41 different countries joined in, honoring Shelley’s work with speeches, film screenings, exhibits, discussions, and even musicals.

CC sponsored multiple events this year as a part of the international celebration. The first-year common read this year was “Frankenstein,” so first-year students gathered to listen and participate in discussions about the novel during New Student Orientation. Additionally, there have already been multiple on-campus screenings of various film adaptations.

The star of the celebration was CC’s own read-a-thon event, hosted Wednesday, Oct. 31, in Tutt Library starting at 10 a.m. About 40 different volunteers each read 10-minute sections of the novel aloud, until they completed it cover-to-cover later in the day.

Associate Professor of English Jared Richman, who is currently teaching a course on the novel, hopes that this event taught people more about Shelley and her novel’s legacy.

“It is a novel that takes on a lot of really difficult questions about the nature of creation and power and authority,” Richman says. “And so I hope that folks will use it as a jumping-off place to discuss some very challenging questions and issues that are really still relevant to us today.”

Fitness Center Welcomes Alumni with Special Program

By Ritik Shrestha ’22

As members of the campus community, CC students, faculty, and staff can take advantage of the Adam F. Press Fitness Center. Renovated in 2013, the two-floor building overlooking the sports fields was designed to provide CC Tigers with everything needed to “live our best lives.” And while there’s a steady flow of students and employees using the facilities, one area that the fitness center is trying to improve is engaging with alumni and retirees.

Between the hours of 9 a.m.-noon, when most students are in class, alumni and retirees in the community have a golden opportunity to come in and take advantage of everything the fitness center has to offer.

On the last Saturday of each block, interested alumni and retirees can come to the fitness center from 9-noon for a special open house where they can meet the staff, tour the facilities, participate in a self-defense class hosted by Campus Safety, or just try out the equipment. All attendees will receive a free one-month trial membership; if they like what they see, a membership is available at a discounted rate.

In addition to the equipment, alumni and retirees can also use personalized strength training planners, the outdoor track, other sports facilities, and the saunas. Alumni and retirees will also receive a Gold Card which grants them access to CC games, school events, restaurants, and many other benefits as members of the CC community.

Becoming a part of the Adam F. Press Fitness Center isn’t a typical gym membership; it’s a way for alumni and retirees to get back into the community and rediscover their love for CC. This new fitness initiative is a way to revitalize this bond and strengthen it in the happiest and healthiest way possible. If you know a CC graduate, invite them to visit the fitness center webpage for additional membership details.

Brendan Young ’14 Releases Film

By Leah Veldhuisen’19

CC graduate Brendan Young ’14 recently finished his film “Junction,” which focuses on basketball on the Navajo reservation. The inspiration for the film came when Young visited Chinle, Arizona, at the suggestion of a CC friend, Isaac Salay ’16, who was born there. Salay mentioned that Young should check out a basketball game in Chinle, and Young says he indeed was blown away by the love and passion for basketball he found there.

After the first visit, Young made five two-week trips to work on the film, which he finished editing last December. “Junction” has since been an official selection at five film festivals, including the Portland Film Festival and the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. In Santa Fe, the main character, Baa, and her family were fortunately able to attend the showing.

Young credits CC with his understanding the importance of acknowledging coexisting perspectives, which he explains “is crucial to telling empathetic stories.” He adds that Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies Clay Haskell emphasized the importance of trusting the process.

“Filmmaking takes total commitment, and projects or visions can work out really well or they can tank, but if you stay true to your purpose, the process leads to great filmmaking,” Young explains. The film will be playing at Doc NYC from Nov. 8-15, and Young hopes it will be at more film festivals this winter. You can watch it on Vimeo. Although he works on commercial filmmaking as well, Young has a future project in the works with another CC alumnus.


Justice Watch: CC Students Look for Bias at Local Courthouse

By Miriam Brown ’21

Judges in the El Paso County Courthouse are supposed to be fair and impartial, but if they aren’t, Anna Grigsby ’19 and other Colorado College students are there to document it.

Grigsby is one of the leaders of Justice Watch, a student organization whose mission is to hold attorneys and judges accountable for fair treatment by observing trials and collecting data.

Associate Professor of Sociology Gail Murphy-Geiss introduced Grigsby and co-leader Key Duckworth ’19 to the organization through her sociology course Law and Society, in which students collect data at the courthouse. Justice Watch used to be a community-based group, but after it dissolved, Murphy-Geiss stepped in to revive it on CC’s campus.

“One of our goals is to normalize going to the courthouse because it’s public, and a lot of people don’t really understand that,” Grigsby says. “While we’re going to class, people’s futures are at risk.”

On the second and third Monday of every block, students ride with Grigsby and Duckworth to the courthouse, where they pair off to separate courtrooms. The pairs follow the trials with a pre-made worksheet, which asks questions like, “Do you think the judge treated both sides fairly?” If enough data is collected, they can present a report to the chief justice, which in the past has resulted in the removal of judges for inappropriate behavior.

Duckworth explains that with newspapers losing funding, reporters who were responsible for reporting on court events are often cut. Because of this, she says that organizations like Justice Watch are more important now than ever.

“This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done at CC,” says Duckworth. “I hope people can feel empowered to get more politically active and just realize that they can actually change things if they go out and try.”

Student-athletes Start Academic Year at Wildlife Refuge

Baca Wildlife Refuge

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Every student who comes to CC participates in a Priddy Trip and individual trips engage in a wide variety of service work, ranging from trail construction to working with animals. This year, the early athlete Priddy Trip worked with the Baca National Wildlife Refuge to lower and remove barbed wire fences. Our group, which included incoming freshmen on the volleyball, men’s soccer, and men’s and women’s cross-country teams, camped at the North Crestone campground and worked at the wildlife refuge for three days.

Although working on the fences was tiring, it was also quite rewarding for everyone on the trip. On the first day of work, Ron Garcia, who works at the wildlife refuge, explained that the fences are too high for deer and other animals to jump over. The top wire of the fence ensnares their legs, and the animals go into shock and usually die before anyone can free them. Because of this, Garcia instructed us on how to lower the top wire and attach it to the lower wires to make the fences passable for wildlife. We spent most of one day walking along a fence and leap-frogging from post to post while lowering the wires. The second day, while also working with fences, was slightly different work.

Lots of the fence in the refuge is considered historical, so we were instructed to leave the wooden posts intact while removing and rolling the barbed wire to allow wildlife to pass through. Cross-country athlete and first-year Ben Gellman says, “I really enjoyed getting to work with the Baca Wildlife Refuge because I believed in the importance of the service work we were doing. When we drove down the road and saw the quantity of fencing that was now safer for antelopes and other animals it hit home how important the work was.” Many first-year students echoed this sentiment as we drove by the fences we worked on. Gellman adds that he appreciates the connections made during NSO, and feels like he is now more likely to cheer on other athletes he got to know while fixing fences.


Day of Service Morphs Into Week of Action

By Miriam Brown ’21

 What do creek clean-ups, blood drives, and anti-racism workshops have in common?

 They are all ways for Colorado College students, faculty, and staff to engage with the local community during CC’s recent Week of Action.

 Historically, the events focused on cleaning up local creeks during CC’s annual Day of Service. The annual Creek Week Clean-Up is a community-wide effort of the Pikes Peak region to clean creek and watershed fronts across the area. In the past, CCstudents and members of the campus community have done their part by trekking to Monument Creek to pick up trash along the bank. Duringthe 2016 event, theypicked up 3,140 pounds of trash intwo miles.

 This year, Niki Sosa, community partnership development coordinator for the Collaborative for Community Engagement, wanted to provide more opportunities to join in on the fun. Because of the fast-paced nature of the Block Plan, the CCE settled on a full week of action.

 “We thought with the week, we would have multiple afternoons where we could have diverse opportunities and showcase different ways that our CC community can be engaging in the greater Colorado Springs community,” Sosa says.

 The Week of Action, which took place from Sept. 29, to Oct. 6, featured nine intercampus groups and 11 community partners.On Monday, 18community organizations set up tables in Worner Campus Center for an engagement fair to show students the myriad ways they could participate.

 “Big change happens on the local level, and we are helping to create pathways so that students can get connected to that,” says Sosa.

 The week included events like an anti-racist agenda workshop, a discussion with city council members Jill Gaebler and Don Knight, a Bonfil Blood Drive, and a day exploring Colorado Springs with Leadership Pikes Peak.

 “It’s just hopefully the beginning,” says Anthony Siracusa, the CCE’s engaged learning specialist. 

Professor Richman Shares Insight at Union College Conference

Prof Richman presenting

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Last week, Associate Professor of English Jared Richman returned to his alma mater, Union College, to be the closing speaker at their Blake@Union exhibition on English poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake. Richman has been studying Blake since his time at Union as an undergraduate, and continued the work throughout his master’s and doctorate programs.

He is also still engaged in studying William Blake, as he is currently researching and writing about a project on Blake’s visionary works. The talk, Richman explains, “explored Blake’s concept of America, which he used strategically over several decades as a political symbol in his poetry and printmaking.”

Richman specifically focused on “Blake’s conception of art in politically volatile times, the notion of republican art generally, and Blake’s enduring belief that art and poetry are vital components for a free and just society.” He continues, “I situated Blake’s work alongside British radicals and reformers such as Thomas Paine and Richard Price and artists such as James Barry and James Gillray.”

CC students who know Richman will recognize his Blake expertise, as he teaches a class called Blake and the Idea of the Book with Printer of the Press Aaron Cohick. The class studies Blake’s poetry, printmaking and painting, and spends time in the CC Print Shop.

Max Pil ’20 Climbs eSports Top 500 Leaderboards

Max Pil, eSports

By Miriam Brown ’21

 In the virtual world, Max Pil ’20 is a world-class hamster. In Overwatch, a video game in which heroes must come together to control global conflict, Pil regularly plays as Hammond, a hamster nicknamed “Wrecking Ball” for his ability to crush people with his mechanical ball.

Pil plays Hammond so well that he ranks in the top 30 in the world for the position and in the top 500 players overall in North America.

Pil is a member of Colorado College’s eSports team, which was founded last year. The team has around 18 students who play video games, specifically League of Legends and Overwatch, competitively against other collegiate eSports teams.

Despite being new to the team this year, Pil is already teaching the team’s private coach how to play his position.

“He’s doing things that people have never even thought of before,” eSports manager and co-founder Lilly Chen ’19 said. “For the team, there’s a noticeable difference when he’s in the game.”

After Pil posted to a Reddit forum about his play, so many people had questions that he started streaming to explain while he played. Now, in addition to Pil’s regular games and practices with CC’s team, he plays in matches alongside Overwatch paid professionals.

“I think it’s really fun, having grown up playing video games, to finally reach a point where you’re really good,” Pil said. “It’s really cool to get into matches and be at a very high level of competition for something that I always thought was kind of a stupid hobby.”

Chen says that in CC’s future matches, the team just needs to keep starting Pil. “It’s like [in basketball], he’s dunking on kids, and you just have to give him the ball,” Chen said.

TheCC eSports Overwatch team plays its first official games in the collegiate gaming organization Tespa Fall season this Sunday, Sept. 30. Game 1 vs. Purdue University Indianapolis, is at 6 p.m., Game 2 vs. University of South Carolina is at 7:30 p.m. Tune in at, or view the broadcast directly on the CC eSports homepage