Posts by Stephanie
Ritik Shrestha ’22
CC students are in a prime location to explore rock climbing, with some of the best spots in the country just a short drive away: An afternoon trip to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs or a weekend drive to Hueco Tanks near El Paso, Texas, climbing is relatively easy to access from campus.
In addition, CC is fortunate to have an indoor climbing gym, where aspiring climbers can practice their skills and newbies can get an introduction to the sport.
For the more experienced climbers in the campus community who are looking for a competitive challenge, or for beginners who want to try it out, the CC climbing team offers a great chance.
After just two years in existence, the climbing team has grown in size and ability. Kate Hade ’22placed first in the women’s category of her first collegiate competition back in September in Longmont. Claire Bresnan ’19(senior) and Zach Levy ’21, Team captain and 11-year USA youth competitive climber,recently placed first in the women’s and men’s categories, respectively, at a local competition in Denver. At this same Denver competition, our teammates occupied three more of the top six spots in the women’s division. Regionals are in March and the national competition takes place in April in Tennessee.When asked about the early success of the team, Levy says, “for most of us, climbing is a passion, we do it because we love, it not because we feel obligated to contribute to the team.”
CC’s club climbing team aims to bring the sport of rock climbing to a wider range of the CC student body. While most club sports require a two-year trial period in order to become officially sponsored by the college, the enthusiastic response to the climbing team enabled the club team’s establishment after its first year.
While joining such a successful group might be intimidating to those with less experience, the team is always looking for new members. “Practices and competitions are totally optional,” explains Levy. “There’s really a place for climbers of all experiences at these events and we want to be as accommodating as possible.”
This philosophy is a big reason why the team has become so popular within the student body and has a roster that now boasts over 50 members. With a bit more practice, Levy hopes that many of the members will be able to participate in the upcoming competition at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“I think this is going to be a good year and that we can have more people go to regionals and maybe even nationals in Tennessee this year” responds Levy when asked about his goals for the team this season.
While this might sound optimistic, it’s hard to doubt a team that has accomplished so much in such a small time-frame.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
For the first time ever, CC hosted its own geodesign workshop in October. The workshop was developed with Professor of Geology Christine Siddoway and Hrishi Ballal of GeoDesign Hub, and took place from Oct. 22-24.
Geodesign has been an ongoing project at CC, and a handful of faculty and staff, as well as students, worked on research in the summer of 2018. Siddoway; Matt Cooney, GIS coordinator; and Cyndy Hines, coordinator with the State of the Rockies Project; worked with three students, David Sachs ’20, Will Rundquist ’19, and Darryl Filmore ’19,to obtain and analyze GIS data for the section of Monument Creek that runs through CC’s campus. The group has also been working on adding CC as a member-institution of the International Geodesign Collaboration, which would make CC the first and only liberal arts school in the organization.
The data collected from Monument Creek is fundamental to this workshop and future meetings, as one main goal is to examine campus-creek relations using evaluation models. With this information, there can be more knowledge of how CC relates to the urban landscape and physical-geological-hydrological surface environment. During the October workshop, participants from CC and greater Colorado Springs worked in small teams to evaluate how various systems (transportation, green infrastructure, and food supply, for example) are helping or hurting the campus-creek relations. These teams, and then the whole workshop, discussed which elements need to be improved and how to do so. While the workshop was addressing CC’s relationship to Monument Creek, goals of the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County are also involved.
CC’s next geodesign workshop will be held in mid-May in Tutt Library and will address a wider geographic area, expanding to include 15- and 30-square kilometer areas from CC toward the west. Stay up-to-date via this geodesign blog.
By Ritik Shrestha ’22
Environmental Science often ranks as one of the most popular majors at CC. For students considering this as a major, taking EV212, Energy: Environmental Thermodynamics and Energetics provides a chance to take the material learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life problems.
The class is taught by Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Lynne Gratz, with bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan, Gratz has been at CC for three-and-a-half years and has recently taken the lead on this class after the retirement of Professor of Physics Barbara Whitten. What makes EV212 so special is the project portion where students have a chance to use what they learn and apply it to houses in the Colorado Springs area in order to make them more sustainable.
In prior years, the students worked on houses that were owned by the college to hone their energy saving skills by performing tasks such as blowing loose insulation into the attic, sealing basement spaces, weather stripping the roof, replacing light bulbs, and making other changes to reduce heat loss and increase efficiency. While this was initially sufficient, Gratz soon realized that there weren’t enough college-owned houses that fit the needs of the project. This shortage was solved through an agreement with the Ivywild neighborhood south of downtown Colorado Springs.
Students are now able to go into houses in the surrounding community and apply the same skills in a way that benefit others outside of the school community. While the EV 212 students have worked on only one house so far, their work has generated a lot of interest from other residents of that neighborhood.
Following the results of the first run-through, many home-owners have requested the services of the EV212 class, so much so that a waiting list has formed. “While I wish that we could help out everyone in the neighborhood, it is a very time consuming and the entire process to upgrade one house takes an entire block” said Professor Gratz when asked about the success of the project. Because of time constraints, Gratz assesses the neighborhood ahead of time to find the perfect match so that students can make plans for improvements on the house during at the start of the block.
The results in efficiency are powerful. For example, last year the students spent about $750 to add insulation into the basement and attic of a 1,024 square-foot house. It was then calculated that the homeowner would save $160 a year as a result of these changes, with a payback time of 4.5 years. Studies show that just one LED light bulb can save more than $100 over its lifetime. Other tests by the students show that adding wall insulation can save up to 75 percent of heating costs. This all adds up over time and for members of less affluent neighborhoods, the extra money can make a huge difference.
This course requires a great deal of mental and physical work. Days spent doing complex math and calculations are often followed by hours filled with hard manual labor working on the housing project. For more information on the class and a video on the project, visit the Environmental Studies website.
By Miriam Brown ’21
Sound artist, performer, and composer Reiko Yamada has built her career around pushing past disciplinary boundaries. In Block 4, Yamada will bring her expertise to Colorado College as the latest innovator-in-residence.
Innovation at CC launched its Innovator-in-Residence Program two years ago to give students the opportunities to collaborate and connect with people who are particularly groundbreaking in their work. While innovators are on campus — which can range from a week to a block — they give lectures, participate in panels, collaborate with students on class projects, and provide guidance through more casual conversations.
Even though Yamada is not yet present on campus, she is already pushing students and faculty to collaborate and problem-solve in different ways. Jane Hilberry, professor of English, is teaching a class next block on contemporary poetry. Iddo Aharony, professor of music, is teaching a class on songwriting. Hilberry and Aharony have never collaborated before, but Yamada’s presence was the impetus for them to join forces in a combined class project where students will create a musical piece with lyrics. Yamada will use her experience as a sound artist and performer to help the students think critically about their sounds and how they convey meaning.
But Yamada’s presence will not just be limited to music. She will also be working with Professor Sara Hanson’s molecular biology genomics lab, where she will help students to transform genetic code into music and sound.
“I think there’s something really valuable in completely reframing the way that you look at something,” says Jessica Hunter-Larsen, associate director of Innovation at CC. “Huge creative leaps have happened because people have been able to go totally outside of a discipline or set of protocols or practices and get information from other places.”
Yamada will present her own work, specifically her latest project on fruit flies called “Small, Small Things” on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 5:15 p.m. in Cornerstone Arts Center. Immediately following her presentation, artists Virgil Ortiz and Eiko Otake will join her for a panel about their creative processes, moderated by Hunter-Larsen and Hilberry.
Hunter-Larsen says that this is still the beginning for the Innovator-in-Residence Program, and they hope to use it in even bigger ways in the future.
“Sometimes when you’re able to bring somebody from another area … it can be a catalyst and a place to focus so that we are all pushed to find new ways of doing things or to collaborate differently,” she says.
Ritik Shrestha ’22
While many students dream of the day they no longer have to study for exams or write another research paper, there are important decisions to be made once one’s college career comes to an end. Be it graduate school, a job, a gap year, or a slew of other possibilities, students are faced with making the determination of “what’s next” after graduation. David Trevithick ’17 and Victor Torres III ’18 are two students who chose to become paraprofessionals at CC as their first post-graduation step.
A paraprofessional is a recent college graduate who stays on with a school to work for a few years within a certain office or department. While positions can vary by college and year, CC currently has 37 paraprofessionals working in various departments, including the Office of the President, Office of Student Life, and most academic departments.
For Trevithick and Torres, the prospects of graduate school or work were never in question. Their options were countless with a degree in international political economy for Trevithick, and a double major in physics and classics for Torres, along with strong GPA’s, and diverse resumés.
“I didn’t want to rush it and get into a lot of debt doing something I hated,” responds Trevithick when asked why he didn’t take a more traditional route. Born to two alumni who were married in Shove Memorial Chapel, CC blood runs deep within his family and the paraprofessional position was always a consideration. “These were the best four years of my life so spending more time here didn’t seem bad,” he says.
For Torres, the paraprofessional position was a “great layaway to figure out what [he] wanted to do while staying connected to CC.” Growing up in Colorado Springs, CC had always been a goal of his, and when the acceptance letter arrived, Torres wanted to make the most of his opportunity. Through a four-year college career that included time as an RA; employment in the fitness center and library; volunteer work for the Butler Center; providing services as an assistant speech coach; and involvement in theatre workshops, the Student Conduct Committee, and the debate team to name a few, the end goal was a master’s degree from Columbia Engineering. While unfortunate circumstances did interfered with this goal, President Jill Tiefenthaler took note of all that Torres had done during his time at CC and during the summer after graduation, he was offered the paraprof position.
Paraprofessionals perform many vital tasks within school departments and are trusted with professional responsibilities. A typical work day goes from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
For Trevithick, who works in the Office of the Provost, the entire day is usually committed to helping Sandra Wong, dean of the faculty. Morning hours are usually spent answering emails in order to help plan out the dean’s schedule. Afternoons are often spent in organizational meetings or performing administrative tasks such as proctoring language tests for students. Any free time between these responsibilities is spent completing projects for the department such as making edits to the departmental website.
For Torres, who works in two departments (Offices of the President and Student Life), there is rarely a moment to sit down. He is currently responsible for managing the contacts and schedules of consultants who are externally reviewing racism at CC. This means planning meetings, responding to emails and messages, and making sure that his superiors have everything they need while on campus. On top of this, Torres is still responsible for completing administrative duties in the President’s Office and overseeing student events on campus such as the Winter Ball, Midnight at Rastall’s, and Halloween festivities.
While the responsibilities can get overwhelming, both Trevithick and Torres insist that they love working at CC. While both want to eventually get master’s degrees in policy and engineering respectively, and move on with other careers, their time as paraprofessionals has provided many advantages. On top of providing extra time for decision making, the networking that comes with working for high-ranking college members such as the president and department heads will be invaluable in terms of recommendations and references.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Annabelle O’Neill ’19 has loved the Life is Good brand and message since she was quite young, which is why she was particularly excited when she got to visit their headquarters in Hudson, New Hampshire, in early October.
O’Neill’s love for Life is Good is demonstrated by the 17 t-shirts she owns, the first of which she received when she was a young child, before she could choose her own clothes. This started her lifelong passion for the clothes, as well as the brand’s message of always having a positive mindset. O’Neill’s appreciation for Life is Good was obvious when she happened to run into the company’s president and first employee at the airport in Denver while she was wearing one of their t-shirts. After chatting, the two women offered O’Neill their business cards and invited her to the Life is Good warehouse in New Hampshire, which is where she went in early October. The trip was specifically planned so O’Neill could attend LIG’s biannual all-company meeting called “Jake Jam” to learn about the company and share her own story.
O’Neill says the trip was a dream come true, and adds “it shows how being open can lead to unexpected opportunities!” She particularly enjoyed seeing the workplace culture of LIG, where everyone knows each other and has fun throughout the day, high-fiving and throwing frisbees.
The best part of the trip, O’Neill says, was talking to one of the first employees, Keith. “During the Q and A, John asked me about a special college memory, and I shared about an event at Synergy called the Grateful Feast when about 50 students sang ‘Lean on Me’ together. Keith took me to a huge mural in the warehouse that says ‘lean on me’ with Jake (one of their characters) leaning on Rocket (the company dog character). Keith and I tossed a ball around, and shared an honest, fun conversation.”
Although retail is not directly related to O’Neill’s geology studies at CC, she is currently a brand ambassador and plans to work at LIG after graduation. O’Neill says she is excited to learn about business “while giving back to a company that has supported me throughout life.” No matter where her post-graduation path takes her, O’Neill will always continue to wear LIG t-shirts and spread their message of positivity and optimism
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.
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.”
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.”
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.