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Book by Professor Emerita Victoria Levine Receives Two Major Awards

Professor Emerita of Music Victoria Lindsay Levine has received two major awards for the book “Music and Modernity among First Peoples of North America,”which she co-edited with Dylan Robinson (Stó:lō First Nation) of Queen’s University in Canada. The Society for Ethnomusicology awarded Levine and Robinson the Ellen Koskoff Edited Volume Prize at their annual meetings earlier this fall. In addition, the American Musicological Society presented them the Ruth A. Solie Award for an edited collection. Both awards honor a collection of essays of exceptional merit.

Photo by Gray Warrior.

Each prize acknowledges “the value of the collective contributions to a volume, while recognizing the central role of the editors in conceiving and shaping the whole.” In presenting the Koskoff Prize, Aaron Allen of the University of North Carolina, said “the contributors and editors are both Indigenous and settler scholars from the US and Canada working together to implement a decolonized orientation to the musical, cultural, and theoretical materials interrogated by the book. Each chapter has been finely tuned, with excellent writing that reveals thinking that has unfolded after long gestation, both by the authors themselves and by the generations of wisdom they reference and build upon. The book is inspiring in its form, approach, and diverse contents. [The volume’s premise is] that there is no traditional-modern binary; instead, there are multiple, simultaneous Indigenous modernities, many of which fly in the face of popular and scholarly assumptions about Indigenous music and sound. [The co-editors and contributors] have affirmed and situated Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being-in-the-world. They have provided an exceptional resource for teaching about First Nations and Native American music. And they have offered us an exemplary path forward in our collective efforts to decolonize ethnomusicology.”

In announcing the Solie Award, Suzanne Cusick of New York University referred to the book as “a shining achievement of collaborative endeavor . . . With uniformly strong chapters investigating how Indigeneity and modernity have been experienced, reconfigured, and reimagined in sound by Native communities in North America, the book foregrounds the insights of Indigenous scholars and their interlocutors while remaining sensitive to hybridities with non-Indigenous cultures. The result is a robust contribution to a planetary understanding of modernity and its effects.”

Christina Leza, associate professor and chair of CC’s Anthropology Department, also contributed an important chapter to the volume. “Music and Modernity among First Peoples of North America” was published by Wesleyan University Press in 2019.

Levine taught ethnomusicology at Colorado College from 1988 until 2020 and held the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professorship, the Christine S. Johnson Professorship in Music, and the NEH Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities. She served as the W. M. Keck Foundation Director of the Hulbert Center for Southwest Studies from 1999 to 2004. Robinson is assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Queen’s University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts. Levine and Robinson received support for this project through a Connections grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada together with funding from CC’s Humanities Division and the Southwest Studies Jackson Fellows program. Levine’s summer research assistants Emily Kohut ’16, Rishi Ling ’18, and Breana Taylor ’16 supported manuscript preparation with funds from CC’s Faculty-Student Collaborative Research grants, the Christine S. Johnson fund, and the NEH Professorship. 

Language Learning and CC’s Japanese Garden

By Sarah Senese ’23

Professor of Japanese Joan Ericson recently published a chapter in the book “Language Learning in Foreign Language,” titled “A Case Study in Integrated Learning: Building a Japanese Garden.” As the faculty liaison of the Asian Languages House at CC, Ericson was interested in and intrigued by presenting different ways in which language houses can be integrated into general classroom curriculum. 

Ericson has always been interested in experiential learning and how she could combine typical classroom activities with hands-on, innovative ways to get students interested and involved — sometimes even beyond the classroom. Ericson knew that the founding of a Japanese garden at CC could provide the framework for such a multi-faceted project. “Students were able to take what they learned from our textbooks and apply those historical and aesthetic concepts to creating something tangible,” Ericson says, noting that from day one all students were able to learn hands-on by speaking Japanese with experts like Master Gardener Takeshi Hayashi. 

https://www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/eastasianlanguages/asian-languages-house/

The editors of this volume of “Language Learning in Foreign Language” brought together a diverse group of ideas based on papers presented at two different conferences that focused on foreign language housing. While some examples of papers were more practical or theoretical, Ericson’s goal was to “examine the ways in which we can coordinate what we teach in the classroom through a project that can benefit our students, while involving many parts of the campus.” 

Ericson thinks back fondly on the building of a CC Japanese garden during her very first First-Year Experience class way back in the fall of 2003. The class was a culmination of a multi-year process involving faculty, staff, and students — a feat that doesn’t occur in an FYE often. The students in the class were given the opportunity to create the garden on the side of the brand-new Asian Languages House, in collaboration with Groundskeeper Jerry Switzer and Master Gardener Takeshi Hayashi.  

Ericson, while proud of her publication and integration of multi-disciplinary learning, is most proud of what the Japanese garden brings to the CC community. Ericson loves the garden “especially in winter, where residents of the house who find a spot around the kotatsu (heated table) atop the tatami-mat platform in the living room can enjoy the peacefulness of the small Japanese garden surrounding their residence while doing homework or chatting with friends.” 

You can find more information and pictures of the Japanese garden in the Asian Languages House website, in Ericson’s publication in “Language Learning in Foreign Language”, and in this short video: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/eastasianlanguages/asian-languages-house/

Alumni Use Comedy to Bring Climate Chins to Life

By Sarah Senese ’23

Despite the setbacks that life under quarantine has caused, five CC alumni have decided to put their respective expertise to the test and create something meaningful together. The culmination: The Climate Chins.  

Jake Sullivan ’15Rayna Benzeev ’15Holly Pretzky ’16James Dinneen ’17, and Soeren Walls ’17have been meeting weekly over Zoom to collaborate, brainstorm, and physically create the product that is The Climate Chins. The idea began with Benzeev, who as a PhD candidate at CU Boulder overheard an idea from a fellow professor in the department about a way to create a climate-themed comedy—to turn a subject that is usually filled with gloom and doom into something engaging, funny, and digestible for those who truly want to interact with ways to save the planet and reduce waste. Benzeev, knowing four other friends from CC with varying talents and knowledge, banded together the group that now comprises The Climate Chins to create improv-style, climate comedy videos that are both incredibly entertaining and unbelievably informative. 

So, what really are The Climate Chins? At first, before interviewing this incredibly bubbly group of alumni, I was under the impression that “Chins” was an abbreviation for a word I hadn’t put together yet. In reality, though, The Climate Chins are truly just that—chins. Sitting upside down on their couches at home and drawing silly faces on their chins, the group films early 2000s-style YouTube videos in which their chins (with various personas) explain climate policy and doable change that their viewers can implement at home. Occasionally, the chins even interview serious climate scientists, further bringing the serious element into something that is quite simply ridiculous.  

Each member of the team, through their experience at CC and after, bring something important to the project. For most, it’s having participated in TWIT, the improv group at CC, and for others, it’s the knowledge on climate change and policy that’s important to the actual content of the videos. Their combined knowledge is what makes the project so engaging and hilarious, and for Benzeev, it’s “the best way I could’ve imagined reconnecting with some really important people at a really difficult time for everyone — I’ve enjoyed every step of this project with every person in this call.” 

The Climate Chins are still publishing videos and helping to educate college-aged adults on what they can do, realistically, to make change in their own lives and in the climate policy they vote for. You can watch The Climate Chins on their Facebook page, and see the expertise and hard work of five CC alumni come to life.  

https://www.facebook.com/TheClimateChins

Butler Center’s Masculinity Project Adapts, Continues

By Sarah Senese ’23

Although COVID-19 has made life on campus quite complicated this semester, activities and projects are still powering through. The Masculinity Project and its subsequent discussion group supported by the Butler Center have still been meeting through Zoom and creating connections.  

The CC Masculinity Project and discussion group are comprised of masculine-identifying students, staff, and faculty who meet blockly to discuss masculinity in the context of the CC community, their own lives, and the greater world. The goal of the discussion group is to extend the conversation about masculinity with those who identify as such, and how they can make CC a more comfortable place for all. The Masculinity Project also hosts guest speakers and film screenings related to topics of masculinity. Although this is a student-led group and project, the Butler Center provides the advisory support needed for a program as big and as important as this one.  

Clay Pierce ’21, a senior this year, founded the CC Masculinity Project discussion group along with three other CC students. His hope is to “spark meaningful dialogue about masculinity in the CC community, as well as exemplify what conversations about positive masculinity can look like.” Pierce hopes to change the dialogue within the entire CC community, even if it only begins with the discussion group. He also hopes that the discussion group can integrate into other departments and programs to implement these conversations among many groups of male-identifying students, whether that be in a club, a sports team, or a friend group. He has high hopes for what the Masculinity Project and discussion group can achieve, even if they never get to meet in person this school year. 

Although COVID has put an obstacle in the way of the Masculinity Project’s work, these students’ dedication to the project does not go unnoticed — they still continue to meet via Zoom to discuss, reach out, and extend the dialogue, although Pierce misses the personal connection of meeting in person.  

Samuel Schavoir ’19, another co-founder of the group, is excited that the group is still having discussions and continuing the important dialogue throughout this strange year. For Schavoir, a former fraternity member and rugby player, “the mission was to have a space where young men could talk to their peers about any kind of topic surrounding sexuality,” in the context of male-dominated spaces. He began the group with the hope of not only beginning a dialogue, but also making CC a safer and more comfortable place for all — starting with dismantling the idea of masculinity among those who identify as masculine. Although Schavoir started the group with the knowledge that it needed to evolve and grow with each year, he is thrilled with the progress and traction it’s gained.

Although the Masculinity Project must adapt to the new COVID circumstances, they continue to hold productive conversations. Pierce notes that, whether it be with the Masculinity Project or not, “everyone can find a community at the Butler Center,” which is now available for online projects, activities, and events. Find out how you can get involved in the Masculinity Project

Take Extra Precautions If You May Have Been Exposed

If you attended gatherings or found yourself in a high-risk setting over the weekend, please follow enhanced social distancing protocols and get a COVID test Thursday or Friday of this week. If you had plans to go home at the end of Block 3 and attended gatherings that may have resulted in exposure, you should reconsider in order to avoid exposing others. Remember, the  Colorado governor and state health officials ask that you do not travel. Students are advised to cancel any block break travel plans, unless they are going home and staying home until January (however, if you were potentially exposed at gatherings over the weekend, even travel home should be canceled).

Students Connect, Prepare for Election 2020

By Sarah Senese ’23

In the days ahead of the presidential election, CC students came together as one way to prepare themselves to stay well, and engaged, during election season. Students who participated in and moderated an event called “MapQuest Voting Prep” hosted by CC Middle Ground, share their insights on what the CC community is doing to participate, prepare, and engage in the election this week. Middle Ground is a student group that hosts workshops and trainings on navigating difficult discussions.

CC Middle Ground and the students involved created the virtual event to help students navigate this week mentally — they wanted to give the college-aged voters of CC an opportunity to brainstorm comprehensive coping strategies and feel a bit more in control of a situation that at times, may feel incredibly overwhelming. During the Zoom event, they talked through crafting a personalized plan for how participants would spend Election Day, mapping out a decision tree based on, the election outcome.

Alanna Jackson ’23 believes it’s important for CC student voters to have a plan in place during the election process because it allows anxious new voters who may feel like the process is completely out of their control some peace of mind.

Deksyos Damtew ’22 adds that “knowing who you want to call when election results go your way or who to call if they don’t is a great way to make sure we’re all connected in this virtual world.” Damtew and other students find that making a plan can be not only helpful for taking care of your mental health but allows each person to think critically about a support system for future stressors that may be out of your control.  

The students who participated in this event are also deeply committed to promoting election participation at CC, because they believe this particular election “holds the power to shape lives for years to come,” says Jackson. Adding that getting involved in the election, in whatever capacity that may be, is important for the preservation of democracy and the creation of change, which can happen even at the level of a local Colorado Springs college-aged voter. 

When asked why they participate in events like “MapQuest Voting Prep,” phone banking, and overall voter advocacy in the CC and Colorado Springs communities, the students all had personal reasons for encouraging participation. For Damtew, “as an Ethiopian American, I had to go through the process of a becoming a citizen. Through that process, I learned that participation in democracy was by no means a guarantee. To me, voting in this election was a form of resistance.” For Elena Martinez-Vivot ’21 (pictured, center), a Colorado Springs native and current chair of CC Votes, she’s “always had an intense desire to bridge the gap between the college and the city and found politics to be a meaningful way of achieving this goal.” The common sentiment for most CC voters is that this election isn’t just about them, but the entire community. It involves both the greater CC community, but also the community that Colorado College has the privilege of functioning within

Celebrating our CC Community: The ITS Dynamic Duo!

The ITS division has two dynamic colleagues who contribute to the efficiency and success of the work done by the whole division. Linda Petro, who has been at the college for 23 years, is the IT project manager — developing and implementing IT projects for CC.  She collaborates with campus colleagues and stakeholders to see a project through from start to finish: clarifying needs, managing resources, building vendor relationships, and communicating with stakeholders and project participants are all part of that process. While much of the work continues in the background, Petro also is wearing the random testing cape helping the college with its weekly random testing efforts. “Linda has been amazing with our random testing efforts.  She has organized our weekly lists, reached out to all students as part of the random testing; she answers tons of questions and tracks the testing efforts each week.  We have been able to expand testing efforts thanks to Linda and team helping operationalize this strategy,” says Brian Young, vice president  for ITS and chief technology officer, who serves as the  lead over the college’s COVID-19 prevention efforts.

Lucie Tennis, the other half of the duo, has been overseeing the college’s COVID procurement efforts, especially around PPE. “Lucie has been a great leader in our COVID-19 efforts.  She has led the way with COVID procurement, and continues to secure the needed materials and items our campus needs to mitigate COVID-19 spread.  Lucie also has been the key to making sure supplies get from point A to point B as fast as we can.  When supplies seem hard to find, Lucie finds a way to acquire them and get them to campus,” says Young.  Lucie was the right choice to take on that work, as her pre-COVID-19 job entailed focusing on the smooth and efficient operations of the division. That included budget management, assistance with contract renewals, process review and change, forecasting, processing payments and PO requests, and educating the division on divisional budgetary processes. Tennis has been with CC since 2017.

With these superheroes at work, the college’s COVID efforts can continue to be successful and we can keep the virus at bay. Submit your ideas to celebrate or help our CC community to Lyrae Williams to be highlighted in a future week.

Luci Tennis, IT Operations Manager
Linda Petro, IT Project Manager

Student Leaders Modify Trips to Stay Connected to the Outdoors

By Sarah Senese ’23

Although many aspects of campus life seem different this year, Outdoor Education continues to run programs and trips for the CC community. Over the past few blocks, students continue to get outside, get active, and appreciate our distinctive place in Colorado, albeit a little modified. Students must wear masks and eat individually wrapped meals, and the maximum number of participants for each trip is 10 people. Regardless, those who participate in Outdoor Education’s trips this semester will find that much about the experiences has stayed the same. 

Magdalena Sotelo ’21 has led a couple trips since the year started and noted that COVID changes have only affected food and sleeping logistics, and that the experience of teaching peers new outdoor skills has the same impact. “Even though as larger groups we maintained distance, I think the trips still allow us to make new connections and experience outdoor activities with those on campus,” she says. 

Brigitte Arcoite ’24, who has attended trips as opposed to leading them, had similar sentiments. They went on the first organized block break trip to Cheyenne Mountain State Park, where they met new people, hiked, and had an “amazingly normal experience despite the implications of COVID.” For Arcoite, the experience was just as comforting as being in the outdoors without COVID. 

Whether it be a day mountain biking trip, overnight block break camping, or a hike to Cheyenne Mountain Park, Outdoor Education continues to prioritize getting students excited about the outdoors in a hands-on way, despite COVID-19. You can sign up for Outdoor Ed trips on Summit, or by joining the Outdoor Ed email list.  

Students, Professors Dive into Creative Problem-Solving in the Time of COVID-19

By Sarah Senese ’23

This semester, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that’s made life and learning a little more complicated, professors Andrea Bruder, Emily Chan, and Rachel Paupeck, and South Hall Residential Life Coordinator Mollie Hayden are working together to create a COVID-resilient CC community. Together, they’re co-teaching GS222: Creative Problem-Solving in the time of COVID-19, which is an extended-format, semester-long class whose goal is to help the CC community better understand the ways in which pandemics affect public health, justice, and even the human body. 

This course integrates academic study and community-engaged learning experiences, encouraging students to identify and choose their own way to respond to issues the CC community is facing as a result of the pandemic. Students will all work together to identify and respond to projects of their choosing, with the potential to receive a Student Seed Innovation Grant from Creativity & Innovation up to $8,000. Whether those projects be designing PPE and mask shields, creating an interpretive dance on the subject of isolation and quarantine, or simply thinking deeply on the implications of a world-slowing virus, the course promotes interdisciplinary thinking. The goal is to encourage critical, liberal arts engaged learning and thinking, combining 13 departments and programs across CC’s disciplines, along with 26 faculty and staff members.   

The co-educators of the course (Bruder, Chan, Paupeck, and Hayden) understand the gravity of COVID-19 on every aspect of the CC community, including the academic experience, social interaction, recreation, housing and residential experience, and on-campus work environments. They notes, “the complex challenges presented by the public health emergency, isolation, and entanglement of politics and science necessitate multi-disciplinary collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and all other members of our community.” For them, the liberal arts approach and principles of design thinking have never been more relevant to provide a path towards a COVID-resilient community. 

GS222 will be taught on and off campus for students in any time zone. The course meets once a week throughout the semester and is committed to helping CC students strengthen the community throughout the fall. 

Tutt Library Team Supports Campus Community and One Another

“We work hard to protect both staff and students in the library,” says Jenn Sides, Tutt Library operations manager and co-chair of the Tutt Library Safety and Health Committee. That’s true every year, but of course the campus and Tutt Library have new challenges and many changes to services and policies during the pandemic. Rather than have all the building safety concerns fall to Sides, Interim Library Director Steve Lawson convened a committee in the summer as the library was making plans to re-open and increase access. “No one really wants to be on yet another committee,” Lawson says, “but we knew that our response to COVID-19 would affect all the people who work in and use the building, so I wanted to be sure we were hearing from a larger group. I also wanted staff to feel like they could go to a committee and not only their supervisor if they had safety concerns.” 

Sides and Patti Spoelman, library administrative assistant, co-chair the committee, which also includes Lawson, LeDreka Davis, circulation operations coordinator, Tia Phillip, night circulation coordinator, Pam Willock, periodicals coordinator, Charissa Brammer, systems librarian, Janet Martino, ITS: user support specialist and Solutions Center team lead, and Daryll Stevens, music librarian at Seay Library. 

The committee members have been very busy with making changes to the physical building to promote social distancing, technological changes to allow seat reservation and computer reservation, and recently spoke with CC’s Community Standards and Conduct Specialist Josh Isringhausen about how best to encourage student compliance with college safety policies on COIVD-19. As Sides says, “we are trying to make sure that students, faculty, and staff still have access to the items they need and a safe, but welcoming environment to study.” Submit your suggestions of members of our CC community to Lyrae Williams to be highlighted in a future week.

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