Posts in: Around Campus

Outdoor Education Center Annex Provides Gear and Access

In just a few weeks, the shelves will be stocked and garage door will be open wide to Autrey Field, as the Outdoor Education Center Annex makes its home on campus as a resource for all things related to outdoor recreation.

“We’re striving to decrease the barriers to participate in the outdoors, and encouraging everyone to get outside,” says Rachael Abler, outdoor education specialist.

The 1,500-square foot space looks much like a well-outfitted garage, with lots of thoughtful storage, a check-in desk, and comfy seating; the annex will help to equip students as they embark on personal or CC-organized trips. But it’s a resource that’s open to the entire Colorado College community, including faculty and staff. From renting a daypack, kayak, or snowshoes, to advice on following trail maps or winter weather layering, the new space will bring together all outdoor resources in one place. Currently gear and rentals are stored in various locations across campus.

Outdoor education staff will be available to not only handle checkout and return of equipment, but also to help educate members of the campus community in doing their own bike or ski repairs.

“We’re offering the four R’s: Rentals, resources, repairs, and retail,” Abler says. “The annex can also sell consumable items at discounted rates, things you can’t rent, like camping utensils and water bottles.”

There’s also outdoor furniture, extending the center’s connection to the east side of campus and Autrey Field.  Plus, solar panels on the roof offset energy usage of both the new annex and the current Outdoor Education facility.

Check out the new space: It will be open for business by the start of Block 1.

Construction

Construction

Welcome Alex Hernandez-Siegel as New CC Chaplain

Alex Hernandez-Siegel

The Student Life Division is thrilled to announce Alex Hernandez-Siegel will join CC in August as the new chaplain and associate dean of students.

In his role, Hernandez-Siegel will provide leadership in in the ethical, religious, and spiritual dimensions of community life at CC, serving the entire campus community including students, faculty, and staff.

Hernandez-Siegel comes to CC from Harvard University, where he has served as university chaplain since 2012. He also advised graduate students in the organismic and evolutional biology Ph.D. program and worked for two years as a community associate director with the Pluralism Project at Harvard.

He also brings experience overseeing student academic progress and diversity recruitment in Harvard’s OEB program and leading national efforts to attract underrepresented students to the genomic sciences at the undergraduate and postdoctoral levels.

As chaplain at CC, Hernandez-Siegel will bring his own experience to guide programming, activities, and conversations that foster a welcoming and supportive environment where religious and spiritual exploration can occur.

Hernandez-Siegel will begin on campus Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Campus Stays Busy with Summer Session 2017

Summer Session 2017

Courses and field trips don’t end with the conclusion of Block 8. Summer Session 2017 is underway with 225 CC students, along with 12 visiting undergraduates from around the country enrolled in 28 courses combined over Blocks A and B. This week marks the start of three months of programming and academic study.

“We’re thrilled to see such a rich variety of academic and extracurricular programming this summer,” says Jim Burke, director of Summer Session, “we’re continuing the vibrancy of the academic year into the beautiful summer months.”

This year, Burke and his team also expanded the pre-college program to five courses, and have enrolled 50 students so far for the block beginning July 10.

And, CC’s graduate programs in the Department of Education have two tracks of students, 35 Masters in Education students and 29 students enrolled in the Literacy Intervention Specialist Certification Program (LISCP).

CC students are traveling all over the world, with 158 undergraduates enrolled in 13 summer off-campus courses. Course offerings range from language and culture courses in Brazil, Senegal, and Spain to studies of archaeology in Israel and the arts in Bali.

Additionally, 118 students are conducting research with over 40 faculty members on- and off-campus this summer.

CC expects to enroll more than 30 international students in the next academic year, and is expanding its Global Scholars Program course offerings to include three tailored courses designed to provide students with the opportunity to adjust to U.S. classroom culture in a higher education context, as well as gain a valuable introduction to the intense academic pace of the Block Plan.

Throughout the summer months, prepare to welcome plenty of visitors: CC Summer Conferences will host 17 conferences bringing more than 1,800 participants to campus June 3-July 29. This year’s participants hail from all over the United States along with Germany, Russia, Canada, and Japan.

Plus, this year marks the 33rd season for the Summer Music Festival. The program will feature 27 concerts on campus and around the Colorado Springs community June 4-24. The festival also hosts 54 pre-professional fellows working with 27 top classical performers and educators.

Follow along with @ccsummersession on Instagram for a look at CC life all summer long.

Summer Session

Mural Project Displays Graffiti as Art, and Much More

Naomi Van der Land paints graffiti mural

By Montana Bass ’18

During the final weeks of Block 8, Naomi Van der Land ’17 and Alejandro Perez ’17 have been spending time at the Fine Arts Center. They’re working with five high school students and a local graffiti artist who goes by FUSE, collaborating on an art project that will soon be on display in the halls of Bemis School of Art.

It’s the extension of a long-time collaboration between Bemis and Colorado Springs School District 11’s program for at-risk high school students, students who have not succeeded in a traditional school environment. “This project gets them interested, gets them engaged,” says Tony Acosta, a special education teacher with District 11. “We’re able to get them out of their comfort zones, out of the classroom. It develops their coping skills.”

The impact for the high school participants goes far beyond developing their artistic talents. “I hope it involves all of the kids and that they feel like they’ve really accomplished something in creating a piece of art,” says Perez, a CC studio art major who had met FUSE a few years ago at a previous FAC exhibit opening. “It’s important to give younger kids different ways they can express themselves. It’s been super relaxed and positive.”

Social worker Devra Allen adds that it helps build confidence, “if they can venture into the unknown here as part of the art project, do something that makes them scared and succeed, it builds their confidence to think, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ And for kids who have attendance issues in school, this gives them something to show up for and to be a part of.”

The team is spray-painting the mural onto a piece of wood salvaged from a former FAC theatre set. This means they’re working outside, in open air, and have been battling the elements of spring Colorado Springs weather in order to get the project done. Despite challenges, after just three painting sessions over the course of a few weeks, the students are nearly done with the project, which will be a mural with the word “BEMIS” in graffiti-style lettering. Each student submitted sketches of their personal ideas to FUSE, and the artist incorporated different elements into one plan.

High schooler Amy VonSeht says being part of the mural’s creation helped her embrace the unknown. “I’ve never done graffiti before; it’s a good experience. It’s something new to try. It’s very expressive,” she says, “I’ve done other classes and projects at Bemis, but this is the biggest.”

Some of the students feel hesitant to paint, nervous they’ll make a mistake. “I don’t want to mess it up. I’ve never done graffiti before, but I draw,” says Dominic Makinano, another high school participant. But the students are supportive, encouraging one another, “Just do it!” he adds as VonSeht considers picking up a paint can after Makinano is done with his portion, “I’m still afraid, but I just do it!”

FUSE does not just show the kids how to paint in the context of the project, he also teaches them about the history of graffiti as an art form, one he has been involved in for over 30 years. “I started when I was young, and I didn’t have a mentor then. The best way to learn is to get with someone who’s been doing it a long time,” he says. Now at the FAC, “Everyone gets painting time. I let them decide – with graffiti, the decision making is on the fly, it’s spontaneous.”

“It’s about giving them choices,” says Tara Thomas, executive director of education at the FAC. “Because of various issues, they don’t have a lot of choice. This gives them that freedom.”

The project provides students a freedom to express their own creativity in ways they may not otherwise have an opportunity, to thrive using art to build relationships and self-confidence.

The completed mural is scheduled to be unveiled Monday, May 22, and will remain on display in the Bemis School of Art stairway.

 

New J Street U Student Group Fosters Dialogue; Film Screening May 10

J Street U

J Street U is a national organization that works towards a two state solution between Israel and Palestine. This year, it has a presence on the CC campus, an effort led by several students, including Elam Klein ’20, who says he wanted to bring conversations, activism, and education about what can often be a heated topic. “We felt there was a lack of discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on campus, even though people were interested in the topic; J Street U fills this void.”

The primary focus of the J Street U organization is that it is Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, and Pro-Peace, and is generally seen as in-between the polarized right and left of the political spectrum. Klein along with Rachel Powers ’20 and Kalie Hirt ’20 started a chapter on campus this semester. “We hope to open up a dialogue and lead some activism on this issue on campus,” Klein says. So far, the group has hosted weekly meetings to discuss current events and the response from the campus community has been a positive one.

“We provide a space for a more nuanced understanding of the conflict, which has appealed to many students who simply wish to learn more about the issues at play, and our open, candid discussions bring in people from a range of ideological backgrounds,” Klein says. “Even people who know little about the conflict have come to our meetings simply to listen and ask questions.”

Wednesday, May 10, 7-9 p.m., J Street U hosts its first big event: A screening of the film “Bridge Over the Wadi,” which gives an overview of the trials and tribulations of starting a school for Arabs and Israelis in Israel. Lee Gordon, a co-founder of this series of schools, called Hand in Hand, will both introduce the film and lead a question and answer session afterwards, both in Cornerstone Screening Room. With this event, “we hope to present a more nuanced look of the conflict on the ground, which will provide a strong foundation for both having important conversations and affecting concrete social change in the future,” says Klein. In addition, J Street U is working to expand outreach and influence on campus as a new student organization.

“We hope that people realize that the whole conflict is more complicated than it is often described,” Klein says of the purpose for the screening and discussion.” In the United States, we tend to oversimplify complex issues and are generally disconnected from the reality on the ground in Israel, so this event will provide a much-needed human look at the situation,” he says.

Klein says he hopes, at the very least, the event helps us all learn a little bit more.

Students Launch START Team to Increase Sexual Assault Support

By Montana Bass ’18

Students go to their friends when they’re dealing with a problem, and knowing how to best support a friend in need is the premise behind START, the Student Title IX Assistance and Resource Team. This program provides a new resource for students seeking Title IX-related support, including sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, or any form of gender-based discrimination. It was founded by McKenna Becker ‘17, Jamie Baum ’18, and Leah Ciffilillo ’18, with support from Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Maria Mendez.

It’s a program started by students, for students, and it depends on students offering to participate on the START team. The application period is open now through April 26. Once selected, the START team will complete 40 hours of training with TESSA, an organization that works to support victims and end sexual and family violence.

The team will learn about sexual assault and domestic violence confidential victim advocacy as well as participate in multiple sessions with Mendez and CC’s Title IX office. The result will be a group of student-experts on both sexual assault response and Title IX proceedings, equipped with all the resources necessary to be effective first responders to students who experience sexual assault and explain the options they have for further resources.

The cofounders are launching the program in an effort to make resources and support more accessible to students. “This started from going to parties or talking to friends and seeing how often, students would like help and support, but they don’t take advantage or are not comfortable accessing them,” says Becker.

“Hopefully this will provide a lower risk entry point for students,” says Mendez. “We know the majority of the time students feel most comfortable reaching out to a peer or friend and so we want to make sure we have a trained group of their peers who can help them access the resources available to them. Often, students see coming to my office as a really big step, and so having a resource comprised of peers may lower any barriers that might prevent students from getting the information they need.”

“Our team will meet students where they want, when they want to meet, and they’ll be able to both sign up for these meetings and ask questions to our team anonymously,” explains Becker.

A main goal of the cofounders is to develop the START team so that it is representative of all students on campus. “It’s really important that the students using this resource identify with it, so they don’t hesitate to use it,” says Baum. Adds Becker, “We really want to make sure that our members understand how sexual assault and intimate partner violence affect different communities differently.”

Based on the acknowledgment that students will talk to friends about their sexual experiences, the START team will attempt to bring preparedness to the role of confidante. “There have been many studies that have shown that the first response is the most impactful on the way that the survivor views their experience and moves forward with recovery and healing,” says Baum. For this reason, well-meaning, uninformed friends can actually do more harm than good. “We find that even the acknowledgement of needing a resource is huge. Even if somebody doesn’t want to go through the process, that’s fine; at least they’re aware of what’s available” she says.

In the eyes of START founders, an arena for open dialogue and support between students will not only fill a need, it will counter the normalization of rape culture and destigmatize talking about the issue. “We aren’t considered advocates,” Becker clarifies. “We aren’t counselors. We aren’t there to give advice or tell people what to do. We are providing options so they can make the most informed decision and regain agency that can feel lost when you’re going through something like this.”

Mendez notes that Title IX related services are available through several offices including, but are not limited to, confidential consultation with access to information about what the Title IX complaint process looks like, who to reach out to should they want to pursue a formal complaint, access to accommodations in class, housing, or referrals to counseling. The Chaplain’s Office and Tre Wentling, gender and identity development specialist in the Butler Center, also offer these confidential resources.

Interested in becoming a member of the START team? Email START@coloradocollege.edu today and submit your application by Wednesday, April 26.

“Force/Resistance” Exhibit: Continuing the Conversation

Force/Resistance Exhibit

By Montana Bass ’19

Currently on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the “Force/Resistance” exhibit speaks to the relationship between power and violence, particularly as demonstrated through tensions between U.S. police use of force and citizen protest. The exhibit features the work of artists Floyd Tunson, Dareece Walker, and Walter and Bunky Echo-Hawk, along with the film, “Force/Resistance: From Standing Rock to Colorado Springs,” produced by CC’s own Arielle Mari ’12, Han Sayles ’15, and Dwanna Robertson, assistant professor of race, ethnicity, and migration studies.

The installation comes at a time of national tension surrounding perceived infringements on citizens’ civil rights by government policies and law enforcement. As complementary pieces, the still works focus particularly on highlighting the humanity of protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the documentary tells the story of self-proclaimed “water protectors” who have been opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline for the past year. Curator Jessica Hunter-Larsen says a series of campus conversations coordinated by the Butler Center about police violence, as well as the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies program’s spring series “Race and Terror” inspired her to put the installation together.

She says she hopes the exhibit provides members of the Colorado Springs community, including CC students, a place to contemplate and discuss challenging issues. “An opportunity to practice radical empathy is necessary to begin to make real change in the world,” says Hunter-Larsen. “The exhibition is at its core about speaking truth to power, through visual images and through the narrative format that the film offers. Ideally, then, the gallery becomes a forum for discussion about the various ways in which power is used, abused, and resisted.”

It was Hunter-Larsen who reached out to the producers of the documentary, Mari, Sayles, and Robertson, about exploring a connection between Standing Rock and Colorado Springs. The result, as Mari explains, is an expansion on the idea of protest. Their documentary not only reports the high stakes of the Standing Rock conflict, but also the incredible community created through the act of resistance. Interviewees speak with deeply moving conviction, often sharing very similar sentiments regarding their experience. “I think it speaks to the unity of the Standing Rock movement that they responded in such similar ways,” says Mari.

The inspirational exhibit offers an effective compilation of powerful artwork that calls viewers to take accountability for their communities. “I think the call to action speaks for itself,” Mari adds. “When Dwanna [who is featured in the film] says, ‘What is the price of doing nothing?’ That has stuck with me since January.”

“Force/Resistance” is on view at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center through September 9. Catch a screening of the 45-minute documentary “From Standing Rock to Colorado Springs” Monday, May 1, 5:30 p.m. in the Cornerstone Screening Room. A panel discussion with documentary subjects will follow the screening.

 

 

 

 

 

Students Dig in on Paleontology Spring Break Trip

Spring Break Trip

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

While Spring Break offers time to relax, one group of CC students took the break as an opportunity to travel to New Mexico to work with paleontologist Gary Morgan.

Steve Getty, director of the Quantitative Reasoning Center, led the trip, along with BreakOut leader Toan Luong ’17. The students were able to work with Morgan, the curator of vertebrate paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, on his research and helped with some interesting excavation projects. They found between 40 and 50 types of animal fossils from the Miocene Era, and helped to excavate a 13 million-year-old giant land tortoise discovered near Albuquerque.

Luong came up with the idea for the trip. As an international student, he wanted an option for Spring Break that didn’t involve flying 30 hours home, staying on campus, or spending too much money. Though he did have the option to take a BreakOut trip through the Outdoor Recreation Committee, Luong opted to work with his mentor Getty to plan a trip to Albuquerque. Getty’s previous work for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History made the planning easy, Luong says. The group worked closely with Morgan while at the museum, and Luong explains that he “never took a geology class at CC so helping the paleontology lab of the museum really opened my eyes.”

Luong says he hopes students realize not all CC trips take up an entire break and involve backpacking and hiking. When in New Mexico, the group stayed in air-conditioned cabins and explored restaurants in Albuquerque. The trip was only five days long, which worked perfectly with Saria Sato Bajracharya’s schedule.  As a Winter Start freshman, she “wanted to explore the opportunities provided by CC,” while still having a few days on campus. Like Luong, she didn’t have any geology background, but found the “concepts were easy to grasp as we were learning out in the field through hands-on activities.” Both students found the trip educational and fun, and Bajracharya recommends students “go for it” when considering opportunities for travel and exploration at CC.

Spring Break Trip

Studying the Block: An Update from Heather Fedesco, Mellon Pedagogy Researcher

Field Trips

 

Heather Fedesco, CC’s first Mellon pedagogy researcher, spent Blocks 1-4 studying the Block Plan. In a position funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Fedesco’s role is to investigate the distinctive pedagogical outcomes of CC’s unique academic program. The college will then use what is learned to refine CC’s Block Plan model, and share it with others in higher education who want to learn from CC’s success in implementing the Block Plan. Now, some of the research findings are providing evidence to explain why the Block Plan works.

With more than 1,600 responses from students, assessing over 300 different courses, Fedesco spent Block 5 poring over survey results. She says one thing is very clear in this preliminary analysis: Field trips are beneficial for students.

“The data show that trips positively affect student motivation and outcomes,” she says. “CC spends a good amount of time and funding on these trips, so it’s important to show they are making a difference.” It’s a result that speaks specifically to the Block Plan; students at colleges where they’re taking multiple classes at once simply cannot take field trips the way they can at CC. “Here, it’s the norm. It’s a big reason why students come to CC, so we can show that it’s really valuable in terms of their learning experience; we have the data to show that now.”

By using self-determination theory, which is a theory of motivation, Fedesco’s research assesses three basic psychological needs; when each of those is met, it creates intrinsic motivation for students, which leads to improved performance. Those needs are perceived autonomy — students feel like they have choice or a say in how they go about their learning; perceived competence — students feel they can meet the learning objectives of the course; and perceived relatedness — students feel connected with their instructors and their peers.

“I wanted to see how this theory of motivation played out at CC by comparing courses with field trips and those without. My idea was that courses with trips allow students to form greater, deeper relationships with professors and peers, really addressing the relatedness component of the theory,” she says.

Fedesco found that students felt more autonomous in classes where they participated in field trips. “They also felt like they had more competence, and as expected, they formed a deeper connection with instructors and peers.”

Fedesco also found that students were more interested in the course when they went on at least one field trip — that is, they were more intrinsically motivated. Students also perceived that they learn more in classes where they have a field trip. Students even had higher final grades when they took a class with at least one field trip.

“I tested what happens when you include more field trips—the more you include, the deeper the relationships, the stronger the connections,” she says. “Students were also more interested in the course. That’s the variable we truly want to tap: Raising student interest level, because that can lead to greater student outcomes. That’s a really good thing to show.”

Students reported on a variety of on-campus and off-campus field trips, which were included in the analyses. When just focusing on off-campus trips, like the Denver Art Museum or Garden of the Gods, and overnight trips like camping, visits to the Baca Campus, or classes that took place entirely off campus, out of state, or abroad, the same pattern of results, for the most part, emerged.

Interestingly, on-campus trips also make an impact, such as visiting the IDEA Space, the Fine Arts Center, Sacred Grounds, or participating in events, performances, or meals together outside the classroom. These types of trips may also occur at colleges operating on a more traditional course schedule, however the flexibility of the Block Plan seems to allow for these trips to occur more frequently, and we now know that more trips can be even more beneficial to students.

Fedesco says the results also provide some advice. To make field trips even better, students must understand the purpose for the trip or out-of-classroom experience. “The purpose can simply be, ‘I want us to get to know each other better,’” says Fedesco. “It doesn’t necessarily have to do with the subject matter. Maybe it’s just to set the tone for the rest of the course, for example. Professors should be up front with that and should explicitly state why getting to know each other will lead to a better learning environment.”

She also notes that in some cases, students may need a better sense of how they should be spending free time on a trip, which can be addressed with clear expectations in advance. A post-trip debrief also helps students make connections between what they’ve experienced and concepts that apply to their course.

Field trips also provide students time to interact with people in the community, and Fedesco says those interactions were inspiring for the students, giving them a sense of agency that they can make a difference. She says those interactions also serve to provide different points of view on the same issue, allowing students to sift through those different perspectives, promoting critical thinking.

“When students are faced with concepts that might conflict with their previously held beliefs or notions, they pay attention to it more and think about it more, so that is a great way to use field trips,” she says. “Grappling with that is a really beneficial learning experience.”

Fedesco participated in numerous class field trips as part of the research process. She says that regardless of the topic it was evident students and faculty were connected with one another.

“There is a strong sense of community here at CC; you get that in the classroom and on the field trips, and a lot of it comes down to the nature of the students being open and welcoming and interested in facilitating a sense of community. That is really beneficial.”

These are just the preliminary analyses; Fedesco will also be exploring comparisons across academic divisions and will test whether class size is a factor. She will also be coding interview data to analyze and develop themes, to identify results that speak specifically to the learning experience here at CC.

In May, she presents at the Crown Faculty Center lunch, where she will look at new findings and additional conclusions. And, during Block 7, she’s observing one more class to take a look at what happens when a course takes place entirely off campus (this one will be at the Newberry Library in Chicago). “It’s really a unique CC thing,” Fedesco says.

 

Quad Innovation Partnership Opens Up Opportunities for Students and Community

Quad Innovation Partnership

 

Jacob Eichengreen gets excited when a plan comes together. In fact, it’s actually his job to connect dots, strike up conversations, and match resources with ideas. Eichengreen is executive director for the Quad Innovation Partnership, a joint initiative between the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College, the United States Air Force Academy, and Colorado College. He’s spent months digging in to the Colorado Springs community and building a set of programs that connects students with opportunities to implement new ideas, with the goal of integrating recent graduates into the Colorado Springs workforce. Now, he says, it’s time for action.

Applications just opened for the Quad’s signature Summer Intensive. The intensive will run the month of June and is open to current students and recent alumni from the four partner institutions, with preference given to rising juniors and seniors. Ten students from each school will be selected for the opportunity to build, test, and validate a commercially viable solution to some of Colorado Springs’ “most gripping problems” as identified by city and industry leaders. Submitted problems range from homelessness and food insecurity to the implementation of new technologies in a business context. Participants choose which problem they find most interesting to work on and will work in cross-campus teams to realize their ideas.

The program will be facilitated by Air Force Academy faculty with support from Eichengreen, but most actual teaching will be done by members of the community. For example, a unit on design thinking will be led by a premier design-thinking consultant from the area. Other units that touch on marketing, feasibility analysis, branding, fundraising, and legal will all be taught by local experts.  The end result is an opportunity for students to learn step-by-step what it takes to bring an idea out into the marketplace from some of the region’s most compelling practitioners. Interested students can attend an information session: Thursday, March 30, 4 p.m. at the CC Career Center.

The summer intensive isn’t the only thing that excites Eichengreen or the community about the partnership.

“The most exciting thing about this partnership is the range of opportunities that I’ve come across; the breadth of opportunities that are right here is awesome,” he says. The partnership’s mission focuses on students from the four participating institutions, working to elevate, educate, and create innovators in Colorado Springs. The elevate component focuses on events programming and celebrating the opportunities for innovation in Colorado Springs, and the four institutions. Educate specifically involves developing skills and providing hands-on opportunities for students through workshops and classes, and offering ways for the students to engage with the broader community. The create component encompasses just about everything else, says Eichengreen.

“That could mean opportunities for students to serve as project-based consultants in the community. The Air Force Academy, for example does problem-solving work with the IndyGive campaign, and has offered their framework to the Quad to create a way for students to earn payment for their work. It’s work that can be lower-risk than an internship, because it’s just for one project. It provides students portfolio development and can offer transitional opportunities for newer alumni, lowering the barrier for entry to smaller for-profits and nonprofits.”

But that’s just one example. Eichengreen doesn’t want the partnership to be limited by a strict definition of innovation. “We’re really trying to be responsive to needs and opportunities,” he says of developing programming. “We have a framework, but it’s flexible. If students are passionate about something, we want to build that in — homelessness, robotics, bitcoin, take your pick on the socioeconomic spectrum. Because our community is smaller, opportunities to get involved at a meaningful level are way more abundant here.” He says innovation can be anything that turns ideas into “valuable action.”

Here, in the Pikes Peak Region, Eichengreen says, there are numerous opportunities to practice innovation professionally, and they’re more accessible here than they might be in other parts of the country. He lists several local organizations off the top of his head that are leading the way locally: “Innovations in Aging is located here, for example, translating cutting-edge research in aging from a research group at UCCS into real-world action; there’s the Olympic sports and outdoor infrastructure; the National Cybersecurity Center; food justice – at least two CC grads are making tremendous waves in food equity, translating waste into plenty and disrupting the food distribution system; and the city itself is looking for new ways to deliver better services, be more agile, and be more responsible with limited funds.” With so many opportunities, Eichengreen says, it’s hard to focus the program because there’s so much happening.

The Quad Partnership is putting the finishing touches on its own dedicated space, a 2,000-square-foot facility right downstairs from Loyal Coffee on the south side of downtown Colorado Springs. “One component is an open workspace, accessible to students, faculty, and staff from our participating institutions to use in a way that’s beneficial,” says Eichengreen. “We have the capability to host art installations, or performance showcases, anything that doesn’t have a home on campus or would benefit by immersion in community. This becomes a neutral, third-party space where the partner campuses and broader community can interact and build relationships. Celebrate the grand opening Wednesday, April 19, 5-7 p.m. at 408 S. Nevada.

He says local and alumni-founded companies can use it as a test marketplace or a space to conduct student, alumni, or faculty-based research. “One week, we could have a demonstration of the national winner of the search-and-rescue robot competition that PPCC did last year; over the holidays, we can host a pop-up retail shop; and if there’s sufficient demand,” he says of the possibilities. There are so many areas in which innovation can be applied and practiced. I hope our space will be compelling, cool, fun to be around, and contribute broadly to applying new thinking and turning ideas into valuable action in our community.”