Posts in: Around Campus

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.”

 

 

 

Deepening Partnerships with Community Engaged Scholars and Leaders

By Alana Aamodt ’18

New this academic year, the Community Engaged Scholars Program offers students a comprehensive, structured plan for sustained, informed, and deliberate community engagement. Beyond just requiring a certain number of hours of community engagement, the program helps students find personal meaning and interconnectedness in their activities. Community engagement includes any pursuit that works with a community or campus partner to address a social or environmental need, or indirectly contributes to the mission of those partners through raising awareness around social or environmental issues.

“I am thrilled at the number of students — more than 120 — who joined the Community Engaged Scholars Program in its inaugural year,” says Jordan Travis Radke, director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement. “To me, it demonstrates the passion and drive our students have for living lives dedicated to positive social change. I am excited to see what the future holds, given that this program seems to deeply resonate with our students.”

The program’s goal is to encourage students to consider and articulate how what they’re doing constitutes engaged citizenship and addresses social and environmental needs, rather than just setting generic bounds to what community engagement means. To do this, the program requires on average 10 hours of community engagement each block, as well as participation in skills trainings, and co-curricular learning events, such as lectures on related topics. The program culminates in a senior reflection retreat and the creation of an engagement portfolio that serves as a record of their work, and as a reflective articulation of their progress.

“I have enjoyed community service work since I was in high school,” says Emma Kepes, ’17, a community engaged scholar, “so being a part of clubs to continue that work in college was the natural choice. Through these clubs, I have also found that I enjoy working with kids the most, so I have stuck with AMA and Cool Science since freshman year for that reason.” AMA, Aprender Mediante Amistad, which is Spanish for “learning through friends,” provides mentorship and tutoring for local students between the ages of 5 and 18 whose first language is Spanish, and Cool Science brings local kids to campus for fun and easy science experiments. Kepes is the co-leader of AMA. “I hope to do more important work like this after I graduate,” Kepes adds.

CCE also offers a Community Engaged Leadership Certificate, whose mission is to “develop civic leaders by cultivating students’ ability to integrate and apply learning toward solving complex social challenges.” The resulting structure, initially implemented in 2010, is a three-phase program starting a student’s sophomore year with exploring unmet community-driven needs and committing time to address those needs; then focusing skills and commitment towards one social issue during junior year; and implementing what they’ve learned through a capstone project of the student’s own design senior year.

“The main [difference] is that the leadership program has a capstone project,” shares Montana Bass ’18. “The project involves a partnership with a local community and can be related to your thesis, so it’s an awesome way to tie your studies into community work that might not be there otherwise.” The CEL program is also a smaller, more selective cohort than CES. While both programs require 75 hours of service per year, the CEL program asks for those hours to be at a higher responsibility during the student’s junior year, such as taking the lead on a project, group, or organization, and then devoting hours in the student’s senior year to an integrative capstone project.

“My favorite part so far has been getting to know the other people in the leadership certificate program. It’s a really small group so conversations are really intimate and everyone can get involved,” Bass adds, referring to the cohort model of the program.

These programs both work to strengthen CC’s commitment to community engagement and engaged learning. Read more and apply for the CES program, and learn more about the requirements and timeline for the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate.

CC Nordic Skiers Hit Their Stride, Qualify for Nationals

Nordic Ski Team

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

This year, the Colorado College Nordic ski team grew immensely, and qualified the most skiers ever in school history for the Collegiate National Championships in Bend, Oregon in this month. Team captain Ines Siepmann ’18, along with Alice Oline ’18, Kelsi Anderson ’18, and Oliver Jones ’20, qualified for the National Championships by accruing points throughout the season and competing in a specific number of races.

Siepmann says the many new members of the team aided in making a great group dynamic across the team. Last year, the team had 6-10 skiers at each race, while this year a range of 13-21 CC athletes competed. Many had never skied before, meaning a lot of the team’s success was measured by progress and time spent on the snow. The most recent competition for the team was the Cowboy Chase and Laramie Loppet in Laramie, WY over the Block 5 block break. The team competed in four other races over the course of Block 5, performing well and racing hard. While it’s an exciting marker to qualify for the national competition, none of CC’s skiers will be able to attend the meet, which is taking place March 5-11. Siepmann says it is just too much school to miss on the Block Plan.

Sieppman says balancing schoolwork and skiing is generally manageable. The team trains mostly on dry land, since the closest Nordic area is in Monument and hasn’t received enough snow this year for good skiing. The next closest Nordic area is at Breckenridge, which is a two-hour drive from campus, so a lot of training happens at or near campus. According to Siepmann, the team places a lot of importance on inclusivity by providing all the necessary equipment, so “different athletes participate with the team in different ways.” Not every skier comes to all practices and meets, so students are able to tailor their participation to their school work load.

Looking ahead to next year, Siepmann says the team will get together to decide goals for the upcoming season. They have already decided to continue practicing throughout this spring, and have had a pancake breakfast for the team. Siepmann says she’s excited for the continued team bonding activities, and is also looking forward to discussing next year’s intentions and leadership.

 

Photo of Ines Siepmann ’18 (right) and Alice Oline ’18 by CJ Monson ’20.

FAC Docents Stage Play Highlighting Female Founders

Docent performance

By Montana Bass ’18

In a creative and fun-spirited performance, the docents of Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center tell the history of the FAC, contextualizing this important cultural monument and reemphasizing its continuing contemporary cultural impact. The play comes at a particularly important moment in FAC history, as soon the museum will merge with CC and begin a new era of partnership. This relationship will allow for sharing of resources between the college and the museum and revamped programming of presentations, classes, and workshops for both the college’s and Colorado Springs’ community members.

The play was adapted from a skit that was part of the FAC’s “Off the Wall” program, which was designed to familiarize children with the museum and bring its art to life. FAC staff were looking for a presentation on the museum’s founding for the popular “First Saturdays” members tour, FAC docents took on the challenge of writing and staging a 45-minute “founding women” play.

Docent Specialty Co-Chair Cindi Zenkert-Strange, a former writer and editor, scripted the play and Wendy Gray, professor of theatre at Pikes Peak Community College, directed. The new, full-length performance describes the founding of the FAC by three incredible women, Julie Penrose, Alice Bemis Taylor, and Elizabeth Sage Hare.

“We spent a lot of time researching,” said docent Kathy Olson, who plays Julie Penrose, “We wanted to add a lot of tidbits about their personal lives, really develop their personalities. These were really incredible, interesting women.” Much of the plot centers around how the three founders incorporated their three very different backgrounds and visions into one cohesive museum. All three were part of Colorado Springs’ elite, although their interests and personalities varied widely.

Julie Penrose and husband Spencer Penrose, the multimillionaire entrepreneur who developed the Broadmoor Hotel, donated their home on Dale Street to be used by the prestigious Broadmoor Art Academy. This, in turn, became the site for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which incorporated a museum, art school, theatre, and music performance space under one roof. Julie Penrose’s vision for the FAC was based on her love of beauty and classical art. In contrast, Alice Bemis Taylor had an impressive Native American Southwest and Spanish Colonial art collection, so she held that as her primary interest. “She realized she couldn’t continue to house the collection in her own home,” explained Zenkert-Strange. Bemis Hall was named after Judson Moss Bemis, Alice’s father. Alice herself made significant contributions to Colorado College in the form of student scholarships and building funds. “Also, the Bemises really wanted to give back to the community, so her interest was really in making her collection more widely accessible.” Lastly, Elizabeth Sage Hare’s involvement in the New York City modern arts scene added a third vision for the museum. “She wanted everything to be modern, cutting-edge,” said Zenkert-Strange.

The docents will give their next performance on March 8 to members of the Cheyenne Mountain Newcomers Club and will perform at four other venues through May. They look forward to continuing to share this story with FAC visitors and members of the CC and Colorado Springs community. “I think we want to express what a gem we have in the building and in the collection,” adds Zenkert-Strange. “When you understand history, you can better appreciate the present, and plan for an exciting future.”

Check out events and exhibits at the FAC and look out for a CC-focused showing of the docent’s performance next block!

 

Contact Improv Offers an Experience for Every Body

By Montana Bass ’18

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer, elite rock-climber, campus leader, or simply looking for a new way to practice mindfulness, contact improvisation offers a way to explore the limits of one’s own physical boundaries.

Dance instructor Sue Lauther teaches the course, which will be available again in Block 7, and says it’s not just about dance or movement, but about learning to communicate with one another through touch. By doing so, “students will become more aware of the physics of their own bodies and learn how to better handle unexpected surprises or find their way through unplanned situations,” she says. Additionally, by creating physical awareness, dancers can also check in with themselves emotionally.

As Lauther explains, “Contact improv for me is another language. It’s learning to stand up for yourself. To reach out to others. To negotiate, communicate desires, joys, and disappointments. It’s good for any soul.”

It’s not just for any soul; contact is also beneficial to any body. Monica Black ’19 adds, “I’m not by any means a dancer, and it takes the onus off of figuring out something cool to do. Instead you can just focus on the energies that you and your partner are giving each other. It’s also a really vulnerable form of dance with lots of lifts and obviously very close contact, so you have to trust the other person to support your body.” This intimacy is important when our day-to-day lives often lack platonic physical touch, Lauther says. In contact improvisation, dancers learn to advocate for themselves as well as address group needs nonverbally.

As a dance major, Trevon Newmann ’18 finds benefits as well. “Contact improv has been about experimenting and adjusting. I’ve really learned how to work with a variety of people and how to give and earn trust. It’s good for getting out of your comfort zone.”

This experimentation leads dancers to a self-awareness pivotal in various aspects of their lives, and Lauther loves helping them find it. “It just delights me when somebody is amazed by the changes within themselves, doing things they didn’t think they could do,” she says.

Students, if you’d like to experience contact improvisation, you can enroll for the Block 7 course, running Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-4:30 p.m. Or, show up in the Cossitt South Studio on the first day of Block 7. Contact Sue Lauther with any questions: slautherincolorado@gmail.com

CC Refugee Alliance and CC Democrats Offer Opportunity for Civic Engagement

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Recently, refugees entering the United States have been in the spotlight; national dialogue on the issue inspired the CC Refugee Alliance to collaborate with the CC Democrats to host a week of social action.

This week, Feb. 27 to March 3, students set up a phone bank in Worner Campus Center to make it easy for members of the campus community to contact elected officials to express opinions about refugees and immigration policy. The station will provide participants with all they need to call members of Congress, including phone numbers, scripts, and information for individuals who have never called a politician before.

Nicole Tan ’17, co-leader of the CC Refugee Alliance, says the group’s goal is to “act as a hub for ongoing CC engagement with refugee advocacy, creating a collaborative space for students, faculty, and staff.” Similarly, Sachin Mathur ’17 of the CC Democrats says the group is restructuring itself to be a “start-up for citizenship for CC students,” which is why they’re collaborating with CCRA to promote student involvement.

Tan says she hopes that the table in Worner will “inform participants of current policy and provide them with tools for civic engagement.” She also thinks that the experience will help students learn to become involved on any topic they’re passionate about. Tan says policies on refugees are important, and that “there are no easy answers for how to respond to the current administration’s policies,” but also that staying informed on all issues is essential.

Stay Safe: Learn Something New at CC Safety Week

CC Safety Week begins today, Monday, Feb. 27, a campus collaboration led by the Office of Campus Safety to promote safety awareness and engagement. “We want the campus community to realize that everyone has a role in keeping CC a safe place to live, learn, and work,” says Marty Toland, CSPD campus resource officer.

Monday, Feb. 27 through Friday, March 3, presentations on things like fire safety, crosswalk safety, and substance abuse will be featured. Hands-on experiences like a distracted driving simulator and a self-defense class will also be offered. Here’s a full schedule of the week’s events:

Monday, Feb. 27

Safety Week Information Tables: noon-1 p.m.
Learn about safety tips related to fitness and wellness, including how to know the right supplements to use and information about eating disorders and how to support a friend. Look for representatives from the Adam F. Press Fitness Center and Wellness Resource Center at the tables in Worner Campus Center.

Sexual Safety Program: 12:15-1:45 p.m. Worner Campus Center, Room 212
Join a discussion of safety concerns specific to sexual assault and sexual violence while on Spring Break, risk reduction techniques, party culture, and consent. Lunch will be provided. 

“How to Support Someone Struggling with an Eating Disorder” Workshop: 3-4:45pm JLK McHugh Commons
A workshop focusing on how to support a friend who may be suffering from an eating disorder.

Tuesday, Feb. 28

Safety Week Information Tables: noon-1 p.m.
Learn about crosswalk safety including laws surrounding crosswalks and tips on how to stay safe over Spring Break. Students can also learn information about eating disorders and how to support a friend. Look for representatives at the tables in Worner Campus Center.

Wednesday, March 1

Safety Week Information Tables: noon-2:30 p.m.
Learn about a variety of safety topics including the dangers of substance abuse, crosswalk safety, and staying safe during Spring Break. Look for representatives from the Wellness Resource Center and Campus Safety, and the sexual assault response coordinator at the tables in Worner Campus Center.

Safety Simulators: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Worner Quad
Try on beer goggles and learn how being just a little bit impaired can greatly impact driving. Students can also test out the seat belt convincer to see how important it is to wear a seatbelt, and learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Thursday, March 2

Self-Defense Demonstration: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Bemis Lounge
Check out a demonstration of the self-defense class Campus Safety instructs on campus; learn basic self-defense moves and see if you’re interested in taking the full course.

Eating Disorder Information and Screenings with ED Cares: noon-3 p.m. Worner Campus Center
Learn and ask questions about eating disorders and participate in an eating disorder screening.

Science of Substances Series — Alcohol and the Brain: 12:15-1:30 p.m., JLK McHugh Commons
Learn the truth about how certain substances affect the body from Kristi Erdal, professor of psychology. Lunch is provided.

Friday, March 3

Distracted Driver Simulator: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Worner Quad
Learn about the hazards of driving while distracted and how to avoid being distracted behind the wheel.

Eating Disorder Information and Screenings with ED Cares: noon-3 p.m. Worner Campus Center
Learn and ask questions about eating disorders and participate in an eating disorder screening.

Find Your Voice in Musical Sing-Through Group

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Ever wish you could sing along with one of your favorite musicals? A new blockly event on campus provides the opportunity for the campus community to come together in song.

Organized by Alec Sarche ’17, the Musical Sing-through Group is a group of students (faculty and staff can also join if interested) meeting each block to read and sing through popular musical scripts. There is no audition process, and the meetings are open to anyone who can read and wants to sing. The atmosphere of the read-throughs will be casual, and is meant to diversify means of performance on campus. It will provide a place for students of all experience levels to read through a play in front of an informal audience of anyone who wants to listen. The MSTG held its first event, performing “Westside Story” Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Taylor Theatre.

As the artistic director for CC’s Theatre Workshop, Sarche says that the “world of theatre on campus is deep and rich and wide,” but putting on a full-scale musical is exceedingly difficult. The financial, musician, and cast requirements are a lot, and the Musical Sing-through Group will be able to “bring musicals to CC with a speed and breadth that other departments can’t match.” The only resources these performances require are people and scripts, allowing them to proceed regardless of other circumstances.

In addition to speed and ease of performance, the group’s accessibility is something Sarche is proud of. He says that he aims to provide a “completely unintimidating performance environment” for people “who may never have been onstage in their lives get to do a show in front of their friends without having to worry if they are any good.” No one will be turned away from the read-throughs.

Although the performance opportunities at CC are vast, this group is slightly different in its goals. The focus of the group is not to ever have finished, polished productions, but just to have fun “throwing yourself at a show that you either know a little of or have never heard of before,” Sarche says. Stay tuned to the Campus Calendar for MSTG events happening once a block.

The Big Idea is Coming

Big Idea 2016

The annual Big Idea pitch competition highlights innovation and entrepreneurship at CC, providing $50,000 in seed money for winning ideas. It’s coming up Wednesday, Feb. 22.

This year, 17 teams registered for the competition, representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ventures; that pool has now narrowed to seven. After presenting to a panel of community members this week, five teams will be selected to compete in the final round.

“The process of thinking through the idea, how to articulate it, and how to execute it is a really valuable process for students,” says Dez Menendez ’02, director of Innovation at CC. “And it’s great to see students interacting with the community and working together, and watching how they build strong, diverse teams to balance one another’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Patrick Bultema is overseeing the pitch competition for the fourth time this year, providing leadership and guidance as students refine their ideas from initial concepts to a thoughtful, comprehensive pitch presentation.

It’s the first year that female-led teams have made it into the final rounds, which Menendez says is also exciting for the Big Idea program. “Patrick has built a really successful program and I’m looking forward to carrying it forward,” she says.

The 2017 Big Idea judging panel includes Trustee Bob Selig ’61, Meriwether Hardie ’09, Trustee Kishen Mangat ’96, Susan Smith Kuczmarski ’73, and Richard Koo ’82. The fifth annual Big Idea competition is Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m. in Celeste Theatre.

Thirty Minutes to Tech Savvy

Want to expand your tech skills or learn something new? Do you have 30 minutes? Participate in an upcoming Tech Tuesday session, a program initiated by Weston Taylor, instructional technologist for emerging technologies, in 2011. The presentation/demonstration series covers various technical topics designed to help students, faculty, and staff accomplish tasks effectively and efficiently. It is held every Tuesday of the block, from 3-3:30 p.m. in the WES Room in Worner Campus Center. Members of the CC community cover a range of topics, each within a 30-minute session.

During Block 5, Tech Tuesday participants learned about “Talking to Your Computer,” and how to research and write using Pomodoro, Zotero, and Scrivener programs. The final Block 5 Tech Tuesday, Feb. 14, features Social Explorer, one of the library’s newest subscription databases that uses demographic and statistical data to create customized GIS maps. It includes a built-in “Tell a Story Studio” that allows users to create presentations with their maps.

Here’s what’s coming up in Block 6:

Feb. 21 Create your own Augmented Reality

Did you know we’re living in the future? Now you, too, can easily create your own augmented reality, for fun and education. Using the same technology as companies such as Disney, Argos, and Best Western, you can create cool augmented reality experiences and share them with others; experience examples and make your own.

Feb. 28 Get a Preview of Canva for Work! (rescheduled from Feb. 7)

Canva for Work is a new web tool that provides templates for print and promotional materials. It is a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to create wonderful designs easily (even if you have no design experience). The inaugural Canva for Work Tech Tuesday will cover basic use of the interface, reviewing CC identity guidelines, and creating a unique poster using pre-formatted templates.

March 7 iPads: Not for Academic Lightweights Anymore

CC’s distinguished professors will share the innovative ways they are using iPads in their classrooms, demonstrating academic and pedagogical approaches, as well as various applications and iPad management techniques they use with students.
March 14 — How Research Guides Can Help Faculty

Librarian Mimi Wheatfield will demonstrate some of the features of the library’s research guides, including embedded multi-media, downloadable documents, web links, and how to find library holdings on a certain topic. Librarians work with faculty to create these subject, class, or general interest guides.