Cate Stetson Shares Post-Inauguration Insight

Stetson_Catheri_H00478

The U.S. Supreme Court is experiencing an unprecedented moment. With an anticipated vacancy on the bench on Inauguration Day, the stage is set for a historic change to the judicial landscape.

Cate Stetson, co-chair of the appellate practice and partner at Hogan Lovells, will address the current issues before the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential impact of the Trump Administration. Join Stetson for a post-inauguration discussion Wednesday, Jan. 25, 4 p.m. in Celeste Theatre.

While on campus, Stetson will also connect with political science students. “Having students interact with someone like Stetson brings the material alive,” says Dana Wolfe, assistant professor of political science. “It allows them to consider the real-world consequences of elections and Supreme Court appointments.”

Wolfe says it’s also a timely opportunity to connect course material to the current political climate. “I am excited to have Stetson to campus so that we can consider some of the most important consequences of the election,” she says. “Specifically, it will be wonderful to hear her perspective about the future of the Supreme Court.”

Stetson handles high-stakes and complex appeals in federal and state courts across the country. She has argued nearly 75 cases, including before the U.S. Supreme Court, in federal courts of appeals, and in multi-state appellate courts.

Embracing the “Roma Experience”

Vatican Hall of Maps Students 1480

If education is all about breaking boundaries and surpassing limits, studying abroad may be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to learn, at least according to Davide Bolognesi, former visiting professor of Italian.

“I was particularly impressed by the students,” he says of his time teaching at CC during the Spring 2014 semester. “They all were eager, talented, and curious about Italian culture. We conducted excellent projects together.” Though he’d taught in the U.S. previously, this was his first experience on the Block Plan. Bolognesi says the format lends itself specifically to foreign languages by providing students with an immersive experience, citing the “transformational power of travel.”

Incorporating a variety of projects related to Italy and Italian culture in his Ph.D. work, from educational movie production to travel, led Bolognesi to his current role. He is applying his extensive knowledge of Italian culture to a new venture, working with Roma Experience, an organization that promotes knowledge of Italy, and of Rome in particular, through experiential itineraries designed to provide a cultural context, in-depth information about the history of the visited sites, and powerful storytelling presented by talented guides.

“Roma Experience takes the interaction with Italian culture and its great beauty one step further by offering authentic experiences to curious and eager non-Italians. It feels like a continuation of my teaching because I am providing an introduction to Italy and Italian culture through my work,” he says. From private Vatican tours, to intimate group tours through Rome, to Italian cuisine tours and shore excursions to Rome and Florence for cruise passengers, Bologesi says Roma Experience customizes itineraries to meet the desires of visitors.

Heather Powell Browne, assistant director of off-campus study, had the opportunity to experience Rome firsthand while in Italy visiting CC’s partner study abroad programs. She was able to take additional time to visit some of the lesser-known sites and “hidden gems” of the city by connecting with Bolognesi and Roma Experience.

“It was very cool to have the ‘academic experience’ of learning in-depth cultural and historical information when I was there. I really enjoyed connecting with our former visiting professor Davide, and seeing how he is still sharing his knowledge and passion for Italian history and culture. This art history undergrad learned things I’d never heard on my own study abroad program!”

As he guides visitors – Bolognesi notes that his work with Roma Experience caters to travelers more than tourists – moments of silence can be just as important as the dialogue about various locales. “In a guided tour, people need time to admire and feel in awe, and to stand before incredible art masterpieces that represent some of the greatest achievements of history’s greatest men and women. The experience is something they would never forget. Something that changed them.”

Guiding tours to the less-frequented, though still extraordinary, cultural sites, reminds Bolognesi of his time guiding students through their educational experiences. “When I witness somebody with their eyes wet with tears and mouth opened in awe, it reminds me of my time teaching at CC where I got to see students light up about Dante, Caravaggio, and Italian culture and literature. It is a pleasure to watch them grow excited about all the things we Italians grew up with which have been so important in our lives. These moments reinforce the feeling that I am doing the right thing, and making my time and energy worthwhile.”

Bolognesi is a sincere advocate for inter-cultural and experiential learning – a value from his time at CC that extends to his work with Roma Experience. “There cannot be personal, cultural, or intellectual growth without experience and there is no experience unless we leave our comfort zones,” he says. “We must travel abroad and immerse ourselves in new cultures to evolve. Perhaps this does not come without risk, but I believe it is a greater risk not to try — especially in a globalized world like the one in which we now live.”

Bolognesi welcomes collaboration with members of the CC community traveling or studying abroad.

Finding (and Folding) Gratitude on Campus

Origami Cranes

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

A shift in perspective can go a long way. That’s the thinking behind the Gratitude Project coordinated by the CC Wellness Resource Center. The project involves programming aimed at helping individuals and the campus community connect with feelings of gratitude for positive aspects of their lives.

To wrap up Block 4, the Gratitude Project invited students, faculty, and staff to fold origami paper cranes that will be made into an art installation. They were also able to find out what makes members of the campus community feel grateful. During Block 3, there was a display of sticky notes on a window of the Worner Campus Center and members of the CC community were encouraged to write what they were grateful for and put their own sticky note on the window. The origami paper for the cranes is printed with the many things people wrote on their sticky notes.

In the second week of Block 5, the instillation of cranes will go on display in Worner Campus Center and while the exact design of the exhibit is yet to be determined, Heather Horton, director of the Wellness Resource Center, says the art will embody the idea of “gratitude flying around campus.”

According to Horton, there were many reasons to initiate this project. The overarching goal is to, “help individuals and the community as a whole connect on a more regular basis with a sense of gratitude for the people, places, and practices that make our lives better,” she says. Inspiration came from national dialogue and research on gratitude from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Greater Good Gratitude Research. Horton says that “it’s easy to focus on what we feel is lacking in our lives or what isn’t going well, but when we are able to shift our attention to what we have, we are likely to feel better.” This idea ties in with Horton and the Wellness Resource Center’s desire to “create a different kind of culture on our campus, where we can be honest and talk and understand across differences, but also appreciate the people around us even when (perhaps even especially when) they have different beliefs and ideas than we do.” Horton says engaging gratitude can help with that.

Other aspects of the Gratitude Project include the journaling series put on by the Wellness Resource Center the second Tuesday of every block at 3:30 p.m. in Worner Room 226, and Qigong every Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. in Shove Memorial Chapel’s side chapel, as well as gratitude yoga; check with the Office of the Chaplain for dates and times.

 

Carlos Santistevan Talks Art, Influence, and Inspiration with Students

Carlos Santistevan

Carlos Santistevan, the first Coloradan to have art displayed at the famous Santa Fe Spanish Market, brought his expertise to campus, presenting a lecture and teaching a class at CC earlier this month. Santistevan, a Denver native, is a descendent of Pedro Antonio Fresquis, an artist famos for his religious artwork and known as the “Truchas Master” after the town north of Santa Fe where the artist’s major works were found. Santistevan himself is famous for his own works of colonial New Mexican art; some of his pieces are owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of International Folk Art. He gave a lecture Dec. 6 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center that explored the history of New Mexican folk art.

According to Santistevan, early New Mexico consisted of very isolated, agrarian communities that depended completely on weather and natural elements for survival. These communities developed a strong belief in God and saints; it’s a culture that fostered the distinctive art of colonial New Mexico, which, as demonstrated by Santistevan, continues today. Santistevan explains the unique style of this folk art is attributed to its influences: Folk art of the American east has strong European influences, and folk art from New Mexico folk has only native influences. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has the largest collection of colonial New Mexican art in the world, which is one of the reasons Santistevan was excited to visit CC.

In addition to his lecture at the Fine Arts Center, Santistevan also spent time with Assistant Professor Karen Roybal’s Southwestern arts and culture course during his visit. According to Roybal, Santistevan talked with her class about “his methods, influence, and take on creating Spanish colonial art from a New Mexico tradition,” and “how history and heritage influence artist’s work.” Santistevan was also influential in starting one of the first Chicano art galleries in Denver and spoke with students about his role there. Prior to their class discussion with Santistevan, students experienced the FAC collection of colonial New Mexico art firsthand.

 

 

 

Catch Up, Get Ahead, or Explore with Summer Session

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Whether students are looking to study a language abroad or knock out a major requirement, Summer Session 2017 offers them the opportunity to catch up, get ahead, or explore a new topic.

While Summer Session provides an opportunity to enroll in some of the same academic courses offered during the regular school year, there are also courses that explore more unique topics, such as American bluegrass and videogame culture and design. Off-campus summer courses apply academic subjects to specific locations; this summer offers study of Portuguese in Brazil, arts and culture of Bali, and environment and culture in the Himalayas.

Jim Burke, CC’s new director of Summer Sesison, says he’s excited for his second summer on campus and he, “wants Summer Session to continue to serve our students with dynamic and rewarding academics that explore a new subject matter or fulfill degree requirements.” He is also excited at the opportunity Summer Session provides for faculty, as they are able to “work on new projects and courses, and delve into new topics they may not get a chance to teach during the regular acadmic year.” For Summer 2017, more than half of the courses fulfill a degree requirement and/or one of CC’s general academic requirements, something Burke says many students have requested.

One new course being offered partially on campus this summer is Advanced Topics: On the Road — American Bluegrass, taught by Keith Reed, music instructor and director of the CC bluegrass ensembles. The music course focuses on how live performance has affected the development of American bluegrass. Students will spend half of the block in Nashville, Tennessee, working with professional musicians, recording their own music, and attending music festivals. Reed says the idea for the course grew from a grant he received two years ago for a student ensemble. He says, “that experience inspired students so much that I wanted to open it up to all students looking to experience the music industry through the process of touring, performing, jamming, and speaking to professionals in the music industry.” According to Reed, the course will “create a lasting bond with others through music and traveling as a group.”

Off campus, professors Miro Kummel, associate professor in the Environmental Program, and Brot Coburn, visting professor, are teaching the course Himalayan Odyssey: Environment, Culture, and Change in Nepal. Students will spend a block and a half looking at how the environment of the upper Buri Gandaki Valley is intertwined with the traditions and culture. This course fits in with what Burke explained as the “diverse range of topics and departments represented” in the summer courses. Combining ecology, geology, and climatology with culture and history, the course offers an intriguing mix of topics in a location across the world from CC.

Registration for Summer Session 2017 is open now.  Also coming up after Winter Break, the “Summer in January” event is a partnership between the Offices of the Dean and Student Life to promote all opportunities available to students over the summer and offer coordinated guidance on how students can be intentional when planning their summers.

You’re invited Thursday, Jan. 26, noon-1:30 p.m. in Gaylord Hall to learn about Summer 2017 opportunities, funding resources, applications and deadlines, and/or experiences to consider. No RSVP is needed and lunch is provided. Resources involved include: Summer Session, Career Center, research offices (Public Interest Fellowship Program, Venture Grants), Collaborative for Community Engagement, Outdoor Education, The Quad, and State of the Rockies.

Robert Redford Joins Courtney Blackmer ’16 on Her Film “The Confluence”

The Confluence

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Courtney Blackmer ’16 synthesized her interest in film and Southwest studies for her 2016 thesis documentary “The Confluence,” which has been shown at venues across the Southwest and has been invited to screen at the Grand Canyon Youth Film Festival. This past fall, Robert Redford —  actor, director, producer, environmentalist, and the founder of the Sundance Institute — joined the project as the executive producer, furthering the short film’s acclaim.

The film centers on the Navajo people local to the Grand Canyon area and the proposed Escalade Development, which would allow a hotel, RV center, restaurant, and other resort attractions to be built on the rim of the canyon, directly above the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers. Even more invasive, the plan includes a 1.4-mile tramway that would shuttle thousands of visitors a day to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, to where the rivers join. This area is considered sacred to numerous Native American peoples, including Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni, and while proponents of the development say this will stimulate the local economy, many see it as desecration of a sacred site.

The film features members of the Navajo community as they speak about their lives and tell stories of their origin, many of which focus on the confluence, where legend says the Navajo people first came from. By combining these personal and honest conversations with striking shots of the Grand Canyon area and community around it, the film “explores how the physical landscapes of the Grand Canyon shape the cultural, emotional and spiritual landscapes of the Navajo people who inhabit it,” describes Blackmer.

“I am deeply concerned by the challenges facing native communities and I wanted to find a way to be an ally to them,” Blackmer says of her inspiration to start this film, “I am also intrigued and inspired by the wealth of land-based knowledge in native traditions.  I saw this as an opportunity to learn from the Navajo people about land stewardship, environmental activism and the spiritual significance of the natural world.” Blackmer’s upbringing in Colorado helped fuel her film as well; by “growing up rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River, I have a deep love and respect for this river which has shaped my experience of myself and my world. In this way, my characters and I share the understanding that places make us who we are,” she says.

Blackmer, who majored in film and media studies and minored in Southwest studies at CC, recognizes that her film would not be what it is without the help of several people. “I have been collaborating from the very start with my friend from CC, Isaac Salay ’16, who grew up on the Navajo Nation. He had vital connections to the Navajo community and was a fantastic cultural liaison.” In addition, she had the help of two experienced cinematographers, Isaiah Branch-Boyle and Adam Amir, who devoted a month of their time to helping her shoot striking footage and develop the story further.

Redford joined Blackmer’s team in the fall and has encouraged her to make further edits; they have also begun to seek a larger audience for the film.

“Our shared interests in documentary filmmaking, environmental activism, and advocating for the rights of native peoples make this an excellent collaboration; I feel very lucky,” she says of the opportunity to work with Redford.

Finally, and most central to the film, is the Save the Confluence organization, which supplied the main characters of the film — the Navajo activists who are fighting for preservation. Blackmer acknowledges the importance of their involvement, saying “they took a risk and decided to trust me with their stories. This was a tremendous honor and a responsibility that I took very seriously.”

The film is receiving acclaim throughout the Southwest and has recently been invited to screen at Northern Arizona University and Prescott College. It has also been invited for submission to a number of other film festivals, including the Durango Film Festival, Reel Paddling Film Festival, and Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival. “A story isn’t worth much if there is nobody there to listen to it, so I feel very lucky and honored that my film is reaching so many people,” Blackmer says. “The most important audience to reach is the Navajo audience, because this is their story and they are the ones who get to decide whether or not this development moves forward.”

You can view Blackmer’s film for free, and hear from Redford and learn more about the Escalade project and the Navajo people fighting against it on the ‘Save the Confluence’ website.

CC Students Take Stand at Standing Rock

Standing Rock protest

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota made national news for months as members of the Sioux tribe, as well as many other tribes and non-Native American people, protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

CC students were among the thousands who participated in the protests. A number of native students, as well as the Native American Student Union, or NASU, drove to North Dakota during the first block break to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux.

According to Zunneh-Bah Martin ’19, the chair of NASU, the goal of the trip was “to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and to help in any way that we could while we were there in person.” The students brought winter clothes, food, and other necessary items to the camp in Standing Rock, after collecting donations. For Martin, the impact of the trip was substantial. She says that her time in Standing Rock made her want to extend her visit, because she felt her presence there could make a difference. Martin says her own experience growing up on the reservation of the Diné/Navajo people shaped her experience at the protest.

“I could relate to what the Standing Rock Lakota people were going through,” she says. “I know what it feels like to be treated as the minority of the minorities and as a second-class citizen as indigenous people.” Martin also returned to Standing Rock over Fall Break with her family, as they view the Thanksgiving holiday as a “time to educate others as to why this is not a holiday that should be celebrated.”

On Dec. 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was denying a permit for construction of a key section of the pipeline, which is a major victory for the people of Standing Rock and other indigenous people around the country who are involved in the protest. They say the pipeline would destroy sacred lands for the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as greatly restrict their water access. The protest has also sparked controversy over Native American rights to their own land.

 

Welcome New Employees as a CC Ambassador

Would you like to meet brand new CC staff members, share all of your favorite parts of CC, and build relationships across campus? That’s what members of the inaugural class of CC ambassadors have been doing over the past year.

“I want them to know immediately that they are welcomed into the college and that they have someone they can turn to about the culture of the campus, strategies for communicating, cool hangouts, and where to find some great places to eat,” says Lyrae Williams, associate vice president for institutional planning and effectiveness, who served as one of the college’s first ambassadors this year.

The goal of the program is to provide a talented CC resource to new staff that can answer questions about CC, foster connections across campus, and assist the new employee in achieving performance excellence. It’s an important resource that doesn’t work without your help! For the 2015-16 academic year, 18 individuals accepted the role of CC ambassador.

“I choose to be part of the program because I believe it is important for our community to embrace new colleagues beyond just onboarding them into their new roles,” says Williams. “These colleagues bring new perspectives and experiences, and it is important that they be given the opportunity to meet our community beyond their own departments and for our community to meet them. The rhythms of the block spill over into all parts of the college, and it is so easy to get caught up in our own sphere of work that we forget to commune with our colleagues. This program provides one avenue for colleagues from different areas of the college to meet, get to know each other, and learn a little bit about each area of the college.”

Jim Burke recently joined CC as the director of Summer Session and says the CC ambassador program helped him feel connected right away. “One of the largest challenges when I joined CC was quickly meeting the large number of stakeholders Summer Session has across campus,” he says. “Luckily, I was paired with an ambassador, Lyrae Williams, who generously shared her contacts across campus, helped me set up introductory meetings, and invited me to events around campus where she would introduce me to faculty and staff in a relaxed and fun setting.”

 It’s a program that Burke says not only allows the ambassadors to give back to new employees, but that also inspires the participants to want to do the same.

“The generosity of time and willingness to share connections has been so rewarding,” Burke says. “At every faculty luncheon, or department event, or In the Loop, Lyrae finds me, checks in on how I’m doing at work and in life, and invariably connects me with someone new. Moving to a new school in a new city, this welcoming gesture is extremely meaningful and makes me want to get involved in the ambassador program and pay Lyrae’s generosity forward to any new faculty/staff.”

The Office of Human Resources is looking to grow the program and is accepting submissions and nominations for the 2016-17 class of CC ambassadors. To become a CC ambassador, send an email to Paul Schilli, senior talent acquisition manager, stating why you would make a great CC ambassador. To nominate a CC ambassador, send an email to Paul Schilli with the employee’s name and why they would make a great CC ambassador. Learn more about the program.

 

Dana Cronin ’17 Racks Up Miles, Experience at 91.5 KRCC

Mt. Columbia trial work. Photo from KRCC.org.

By Alana Aamodt ’18

Dana Cronin ’17, has spent a large portion of her CC career interning with 91.5 KRCC , Colorado College’s NPR-member station. From pitching stories to interviewing sources, Cronin’s internship has introduced her to all aspects of radio, giving her the opportunity to write, record, and produce her stories.

“Throughout my two and a half years at 91.5 KRCC, I’ve learned so much about how to be a good journalist,” Cronin says of her internship, “I’ve learned how to write meaningful and thorough stories about a huge variety of topics. I’ve also developed my radio voice, which is a lot harder than it sounds!” She also says she’s learned a lot about the community and broader listening area through “interviewing people, attending local meetings, and reaching out to the general community 91.5 KRCC serves,” in order to create relevant pieces.

One of her latest stories even took her to the top of some of Colorado’s highest peaks, where she learned about the labor-intensive maintenance of the trails up the state’s 14,000-foot mountains and the hardworking people who work at such high altitudes. Cronin says many people, herself included at first, “don’t realize the amount of time, energy, and money that goes into maintaining Colorado’s high peaks,” making this an important story to tell.

Besides the actual labor of hiking the mountain, Cronin says the hardest part about writing the story was editing down the information, interviews, and sound bites. “I started with about five hours of interviews and recordings, and the story ended up being five minutes long,” describes Cronin. Finding herself personally attached to many of the sources, this was no easy task.

91.5 KRCC “Morning Edition” host and managing editor, and Cronin’s supervisor, Andrea Chalfin, describes the hard work Cronin’s put in. “I’ve worked with Dana in the 91.5 KRCC newsroom for the majority of her college career, and I’m really proud of the work she’s done for us. Aside from literally climbing a couple of mountains for this piece, she was able to pull the story together fairly easily. It’s a testament to her work ethic and experience at Colorado College and in the newsroom.”

Cronin hopes to continue in radio and will be applying for radio internships for next year. Read or listen to Cronin’s fourteener piece or take a look at some of her other work on the 91.5 KRCC website.

Wide Community Input Gathered in CC, FAC Planning Process

The first major phase in the strategic planning process undertaken by Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has wrapped up, with nearly 1,600 people participating in the listening and information gathering process.

Four community listening sessions were held — two at Colorado College and two at the Fine Arts Center — as well as a series of small-group focus sessions and large group discussions, in order to seek input from various community constituents regarding the re-envisioning and redefining of CC and the FAC’s role in the arts in the region. In addition, more than 800 comments have been recorded from the listening sessions, comment cards, and online comment forms.

“I am so pleased with the number of community members who have participated in this process, and grateful for the care and thought that were captured in their comments. This input gives everyone involved in planning an excellent foundation for moving forward,” says Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler.

“We’re encouraged by the outpouring of thoughtful input from the community into this important process,” says Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center CEO David Dahlin. “The value of the community’s perspectives can’t be overstated as our mission continues to be primarily to the community at large. Hearing from so many what they value about the FAC and what they hope for the future will inform this next phase as we begin to develop programmatic directions that integrate the needs and hopes of both the CC community and the Colorado Springs community.”

The community comments are now being compiled, reviewed, and considered in the next phase of the strategic planning process. The subcommittees are reviewing the emerging themes for each of the Fine Arts Center’s three program areas (click on links to see the emerging themes in each area: museum, Bemis School of Art, and performing arts) and are beginning to draft program planning.

The community comments and feedback reveal several overlapping themes in the various subcommittees’ work. These include:

  • Using the unique opportunities presented by the CC-FAC alliance to serve as a bridge to and between various communities
  • Increasing access to and engagement with broader communities
  • Preserving and enhancing programming for new and existing communities
  • Leveraging resources and proximity of programs between CC and the FAC

On Feb. 1, 2017, the draft program plans will be shared with the broader community. From there, the timeline is as follows:

  • March 15, 2017: Subcommittees submit final program plans to the Strategic Planning Committee
  • April 2017: Strategic Planning Committee shares the draft comprehensive plan with the broader community
  • May 1, 2017: Strategic Planning Committee submits the final comprehensive plan to the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee
  • On or before June 30, 2017: Strategic Plan Oversight Committee approves the plan

More information is available at https://www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/