Posts in: Around Campus

Getting to Know Edwin Hamada: Assistant Vice President for the Residential Experience

Edwin Hamada

By Shannon Zander

Note: The majority of this interview conducted in early July 2020 with the exception of the two questions on COVID-19 which were added in early September.

 Welcome to Edwin Hamada, who joined Colorado College as our new assistant vice president for the Residential Experience as of September 1. For the month of September, Hamada will be working alongside John Lauer, associate vice president for Student Life, until Lauer’s retirement on October 1. This interview provides a chance to learn about Hamada — from how he sees COVID shaping the residential experience to why he’d choose spaghetti squash if he could only eat one food for the rest of his life.

What is the main way your position will impact students at Colorado College?
As we all know, the majority of students live on campus or in college-owned property.  The on-campus residential experience is a key component of the life of a Colorado College student.  The teams in Campus Safety/Emergency Management, Residential Experience (formerly Residential Life), Housing Operations, Conferences, and Student Life Maintenance and Project Management are a solid group as I discovered during the interview process.  My job is to support the team in continuing their good work and see where I can contribute.  I have a lot of experience and have a few ideas formulated but learning the culture at CC and then building collaborative relationships will my initial focus.

What is your professional and educational background before CC?

  • I have worked in housing at the following schools: University of San Francisco, University of California – Los Angeles, Western Illinois University, San Jose State University, University of California-Irvine, University of Washington, and Washington State University.
  • I received my BA in Psychology at USF, my MS in College Student Personnel at WIU (taking classes from Nancy Evans and Dea Forney for Student Development theory fans), and my PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington.

Why do you think you are a good fit for the job?
This might sound silly but there was a scene in an older movie called “Crazy, Stupid, Love” (starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling) where the main character is getting a style makeover and discovers he is buying shirts that are too big for him.  When I think of my start at a small liberal arts school and how I love getting to know students and faculty/staff, my professional journey at larger public schools made it more difficult to get to know people.  CC’s culture of student engagement and collaboration fits my leadership style and feels like a good fit!

What influenced you to get into this field and profession?
As with many seasoned student affairs professionals, you sort of fall into the profession.  As a resident assistant and assistant hall director at USF, I loved working with students and was told I could get my master’s degree while continuing to work in the halls.  That was the start of a magical journey! While there have been challenges along the way, I have benefited from the support of many and look for opportunities to do the same for others as that is what makes being a student affairs professional worth the time and effort – investing in others.

What challenges does COVID pose to the usual” residential experience?
The concept of how we develop community and interact and get to know each other requires a major paradigm shift.  For first-year students, how they envisioned life at CC when they submitted their admission application changed significantly during their senior year.  Likewise, returning students need to alter their habits from prior years. The residential experience at CC is a multiyear commitment so we need to think about community development as an ongoing process that occurs over the arch of the student’s tenure. Students will find ways to safely interact, form strong bonds with their peers, and adapt their behavior when needed. We are all committed to providing a meaningful residential experience and have planned for months how to safely deliver that experience.

What can be done to mitigate these challenges?
An open mind and thinking creatively are characteristics of CC students.  Following the enhanced social distancing protocols adds a little challenge to community development and getting to know your peers but does not prevent it.  You just need to rethink your strategy.

I have led numerous team-building activities where a set of rules are outlined and a bag of random items are placed in front of the group, which is told it must be incorporated in the end product.  Maybe it is a “design your ideal residence hall” or “come up with a skit that highlights your floor community using these random items.”  Each group is able to successfully reach the goal and their end product varies, despite being given the same items and guidelines.  COVID and the enhanced social distancing guidelines necessitates a different way of thinking about achieving the goal of community and getting to know your peers. And it will look different for each person but is achievable as we are all committed to this goal.

What do you like about CC so far?
The people are what makes any situation special.  The students, faculty, and staff I have met during the interview did an excellent job of articulating how special Colorado College is for everyone. It was easy to see myself as part of the CC community. While I have yet to physically visit the campus and community, the virtual tour and pictures reinforce the natural beauty everyone was talking about during the interview.  I am excited to move to a location with so many wonderful places to explore the outdoors.

What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

  • Walking the dogs with my wife. We have a 14-year-old Chihuahua and a 10-year-old Husky/Lab mix.
  • Working on cars…I’m a gearhead and have two older sports cars that require a lot of maintenance.

What’s an accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?
I have worked with some excellent teams in my career.  Being the competitive person I am, my goal is to be the best supervisor or leader and set the bar high for any supervisors my team will have in the future or experienced in the past.  It always makes me proud when individuals on my teams tell me I was their best supervisor or leader.

What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
Individualization and Context are my top two StrengthFinder themes. I find the unique qualities in each person and want to know their background (for context).  This makes me a good listener.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
As a kid, I must have been grumping at my mom about a task she asked me to do.  She essentially told me, “You can do it with a smile on your face or with an unhappy face but you will have to do it, so you might as well be happy.” That is probably the reason I am an optimist even under the direst of circumstances.

If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?
Speaking all the languages of the world…but I’d settle for expert welder.

What book are you reading now? “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah.

Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?
I find myself making up songs and singing it to my dogs.  I’d like to think of myself as the Snoop Dogg to dogs.

What is one interesting fact that people might not know about you?
I’m an ordained minister of the Tenrikyo religion and have performed four wedding ceremonies.

If you could only eat one item for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Rice would be the easy answer but I’d have to go with spaghetti squash.  It is definitely the most underappreciated squash and so versatile. Although, I am not sure I’d want it for breakfast.  

Congratulations to the Winners of the Inaugural Esports Awards

CC eSports

By Shannon Zander

The inaugural esports awards — the Alaska award and the MysticMonk3y award — were given to Caroline Li ’20 and Andrew Choy ’23, respectively. These two awards, with a prize of $500 each, were generously created by an anonymous donor in the summer of 2019. The donor established the criteria for each award, and the Colorado College esports team chose to name the awards after influential CC students who helped to grow the esports community. Candidates were nominated by their peers and the final selection was made by a judge outside of the program selected by the anonymous donor.

The first ever Alaska award, named after Lilly Chen’s ’19 gamer tag, “Alaska,” was awarded to Li. A criterion of winning this award is that the recipient must be “a member of the esports community who significantly contributes to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment,” according to the nomination form. Li, who has been a member of the esports community since her junior year, won the award due to her “immense passion for esports” and commitment “to growing the esports community in a meaningful and diverse way.” Li’s nominator also mentioned that she especially embodies the qualities of this award “in her extended commitment to Fem Friday, a program that works to grow the esports community in a meaningful and diverse way.”

The MysticMonk3y award, named after Henry Hinds’ ’19 gamer tag, emphasizes passion and leadership in esports while maintaining academic excellence. The recipient must be a player on the roster of an esports team, maintain a minimum of a 3.5 GPA, and demonstrate good sportsmanship, teamwork, professional behavior, and a passion for esports. Andrew Choy ’23, a first-year student, is this year’s recipient. Choy was commended in his nomination form for his efforts in welcoming others into the esports community, his dedication to helping with esports events, and his desire to see esports thrive at Colorado College. He even started a new unofficial team, all while striving for and maintaining academic excellence.

Congratulations to both Caroline Li and Andrew Choy!

“Thorne Miniatures” Thesis Piano Composition Dedicated to Two Music Faculty

Grace Hale's Thorne Miniatures

By Grace Hale ’20

“Thorne Miniatures” is a collection of six miniature piano compositions each inspired by one of Narcissa Thorne’s miniature rooms found in the basement of the Art Institute of Chicago. Thorne’s miniature rooms are best described as model rooms of mostly European and American interiors built during the 1930s and 1940s. One of the most peculiar characteristics of Thorne’s miniature rooms is the absence of any human figures. Instead, she hints at human existence with small inanimate objects like a soccer ball or books. This is the role of the “Thorne Miniatures” to supply the musical scenes in such a way that fills this lifeless void. The “Thorne Miniatures” is an ode to childhood and imagination as explored in the museum collection.

During my four years at Colorado College, I had the privilege of studying composition very closely under Professor Ofer Ben-Amots and piano performance under Sue Grace. It was only appropriate that I would construct my thesis as a culmination of the two disciplines and the time spent with these mentors. I thank them both for giving me a new love of music and a drive to always create more. It is to them that I dedicate my “Thorne Miniatures.”

When CC moved to digital learning for the rest of the 2020 Spring Semester, I found myself in need of a piano for practice. With the help of Ofer and Sue, I was connected with a man named Phil Erklen who offered his studio as a place for me to practice near where I was living this spring. Little did I know that much more would come of this connection. In my time there, I signed a contract with Phil to publish my “Thorne Miniatures”through the CCC Music Company. With the publication, we created this video as a reference tool for those who purchase the music.


Career Center Adapts to Support Students Virtually

Career Center On Demand

By: Miriam Brown ’21

The Career Center’s virtual doors didn’t close after the transition to distance-learning, and they won’t close when the school year ends.

In addition to scheduling calls for students to talk with career coaches, the Career Center has developed a guide to frequently asked “Career Questions & Concerns Amidst COVID-19,” recorded on-demand videos to watch from home, and planned several alumni panels and “Get-Started” sessions. The Career Center is also collaborating with the Wellness Resource Center to host sessions centered around “Wellness & Career Strategies for Moving Forward,” with the next one on May 11 to be targeted toward graduating seniors.

“Our entire goal as the Career Center right now is just that students know we’re available to them or here for them whenever they’re ready to engage with the Career Services aspect of their career at CC,” says Communications Fellow Amelia Atencio ’18.

Some students will participate in virtual internships this summer, and some seniors still have job offers. Atencio says they received over 60 responses to the annual #hired and #gradschool social media campaigns designed to celebrate CC students and their newly landed jobs or plans for graduate school. And for those still searching, the Career Center is here to help and “meet students where they are” with their current needs and priorities.

“We just want students to know that there are jobs,” Atencio says. “And if they don’t find an internship, that’s okay — we’re going to equip them with other ways to use the time. And the best thing they can do if they’re feeling really stuck is just start having conversations with us.”

To schedule an appointment with a coach or RSVP for upcoming events, students can find the Career Center on Handshake.

CC’s Hidden Caretakers

By Leslie Weddell

Colorado College continues to operate smoothly, thanks in large part to the important, behind the scenes work that so many do. Here is a quick look at seven of CC’s “hidden caretakers.”

Justin PorterJustin Porter, Central Plant supervisor

Porter has been working at Colorado College for 19 months with a team of four plant operators — Edward Wojakowski, Doug Campbell, Jonathan Bernhard, and Steven Pattillo — who help maintain the infrastructure of the college. The team’s job includes monitoring and adjusting the heating and cooling for Colorado College buildings as well as the ice rink chiller for Honnen Ice Arena. “A large part of that is maintaining a strong and resilient Central Plant which ensures everyone is comfortable and important projects and artifacts are at the proper temperature,” he says. That includes monitoring the entire campus, from gallery temperatures in the Fine Arts Center to the rat lab in Barnes.

Porter and his team are working to conserve energy by finding spaces with no occupancy such as theatres, pools, gyms, etc., and putting the campus on a holiday setting (lower temperature set points). However, when the campus first went to distance working and learning in March, the weather was still cold, and they couldn’t lower the temperatures too much for fear of freezing water lines. Currently Porter and his team are conducting all cooling through a plate and frame heater exchanger run in reverse, that is, a swamp cooler, and thus not using any mechanical cooling in an effort to save money.
How is working on campus different now?
“The largest difference working on campus right now is the missing presence and energy of the students, faculty, and colleagues.”
Random fact: “Most people don’t realize that we’re staffed 365 days a year, 24/7.”


April Scriven, Mail Services supervisorApril Scrivens

Scriven has been at CC for two years. Her job entails supervising and supporting the Mail Services staff, which includes Rick Hessek, Kelly (Steven) Wilcox and Sarah Mascotti, and partnering with other departments on campus with regard to mail, packages, and shipping.

“A typical day in Mail Services starts with one or two members picking up mail and packages from the downtown Post Office. We then sort the student mail into their Worner boxes. Right now, most of the student mail gets forwarded with the help of Banner. Faculty/staff mail is sorted by department. While this is happening, we also receive package deliveries from UPS, FedEx, DHL, OnTrac, and Amazon. All packages are routed to students or departments. Around noon, two members of Mail Services deliver mail and packages to departments on campus and we open the Mail Center counter. At the Mail Center, we release packages to students, sell stamps, and process shipments. We helped a lot of students mail their personal belongings home in the beginning of March. The students seem to really appreciate that the Mail Center staff offers a friendly face on campus. Initially, we were here five days a week, because we were still receiving so many packages and had so much mail to forward. Students were contacting us every day for assistance. Recently, we reduced our schedule to every other day and now we are on campus.”
How is working on campus different now?
“It feels so strange to walk into empty buildings and across an empty campus Working on campus now feels almost post-apocalyptic. I keep waiting for a zombie attack.”
Random fact: Last semester, Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019, Campus Mail Services received 38,261 packages. This semester Jan. 1to April 30, 2020, they received about 17,578 packages. Scriven says mail numbers have stayed consistent but rather than sorting it into Worner boxes, they process it via computer to generate a forwarding label and resend it.


Fred GatlingFrederick Gatling, Campus Safety officer

Gatling, who works the 2 to 10 p.m. swing shift, started working at CC in October 2018.

His job includes patrolling the campus and surrounding areas and properties, both on foot and by vehicle. “I keep the safety and security of every person on campus, visitors included, first and foremost and as my highest priority. I ensure building doors and windows are secured, especially ground level. I conduct medical transports and recreational transports for CC visiting staff and mostly students. I conduct preventive measures for safety by remaining highly alert and maintaining expectations and enforcing violations of posted campus and student standards. The most important aspect of my job is consistency, availability and approachability.”
How is working on campus different now?
“It’s peaceful. There is a law enforcement adage which doesn’t allow officers to say ‘quiet’ (the Q word!) That would be considered jinxing the remainder of the shift for all shift members. But it is peaceful, and time moves slowly. Swing shift is the usually the busiest shift because of traffic in and around campus. This normally lasts from 3 to 8 p.m. Students are walking, riding bikes, skateboarding, and zooming across campus. We would conduct transports in conjunction with conducting perimeter checks and service calls, which include contacting citizens who are knowingly/unknowingly trespassing campus, drivers who are stranded on and near campus and who may not be CC affiliated. We would normally assist with unlocking and locking buildings and classrooms for evening or weekend events, scheduled or unscheduled. First responders to traffic accidents on or near campus, medical emergencies and any other form of activities that may arise. So, with that as compared to now, it is very peaceful.”
What’s the most unusual thing you see at CC now?
“The most unusual thing I see is a lot of people walking dogs and exercising. Also, vehicle traffic is almost nonexistent after 7 p.m. And it is a bit unusual for students to try and sneak back on to campus after being dismissed, but it does happen. We caught unauthorized students climbing through a residence hall window during this ‘Stay at Home’ time. Finally, it is very unusual for the Fitness Center and gym to be completely empty.”
Random fact: Gatling regularly walks through Shove Chapel as part of his security rounds, and when he’s in there, he sings.


Marcos Patino, Sodexo custodianMarcos Patino

Patino has worked at Colorado College for 40 years. “A lot of people don’t believe it, but it’s true,” he says. “I have been here 40 years. I am dedicated to my job. You guys are like my family. You have to like your job. Forty years later I am still here.” Throughout his time at CC Patino has worked all over campus, but mostly recently in Armstrong Hall and Spencer Center, where he is a familiar figure. His job entails vacuuming, dusting, emptying trash and recycle bins, and general custodial maintenance, among other duties.
How is working on campus different now?
“There are not as many people. I used to see a lot of people, sometimes parents, asking me directions, where is this, where is the President’s Office?”


Allison Pacheco, Campus Safety officer

Allison Pacheco

Allison Pacheco

Pacheco has been working at CC for two and a half years as a full-time employee, and three additional years as a student.In addition to her Campus Safety duties that include checking buildings, patrolling campus, and working with students, Pacheco also is in charge of the Safe Ride Program and student workers. She coordinates the Parking Office and coordinates scheduling for our office and staffing officers for events as well as event planning.
How is working on campus different now?
“It’s definitely strange! Being in a role that is very responsive to students, it is interesting to be doing all of our interactions from afar. My role has definitely changed, but it has just morphed into being responsive to students in different ways. We have a group of students on or near campus that we check in with. We also have been running a food pantry, so we have some interactions with students that we might not have during the year.”
What’s the most unusual thing you see at CC now?
“Facilitating the buying and delivery of food, medication, and clothing for students remaining on and near campus and making sure their needs are also being met.”
Random fact: She graduated in 2017 with a degree in education.


Eddie SiowEddie Siow, Bon Appetit, assistant general manager

Siow has been working at CC for almost a year. His job entails overseeing the day-to-day operations of all food service locations on campus, and he’s involved in financial planning, implementation of marketing and special events, safety and well-being, client relations, facility maintenance, and product procurement.
How is working on campus different now?
Life was never a dull moment prior to COVID In January, we upgraded our food program at Rastall and elevated standards across campus. We were gearing up for a robust marketing campaign after spring break. Although the work pace has slowed a little, there is plenty to keep me busy. The slightly slower work pace allows me to connect with the students to learn how they are coping with the COVID crisis. Through the conversations, I am able to find out their needs and custom tailor our operations to better serve them.
What’s the most unusual thing you see at CC now?
Since many people are not able to get a haircut, I am seeing some interesting hair styles and some creative ways to keep their hair in check.
Random fact: “Before the shutdown, we served about 3,500 meals a day. Now we serve less than 100 meals.”


Jennifer Golightly, academic applications specialistJennifer Golightly

Come September, Golightly will have been working at CC for six years. She works to help lead and support the Digital Liberal Arts initiative at CC, and administers Canvas, which is the software where online classes are held. Her job entails the back-end management of Canvas, in addition to providing support for faculty using Canvas. This has been vital during the transition to distance learning as faculty have adapted their courses to an online format.
How is working on campus different now? I’m not working on campus right now but working from home for me has included working with more faculty and seeing the really cool things that they’re doing in their online classes, even under the immense pressure to get online for Block 7.
The most unusual thing you’ve encountered working at CC right now: “Between March 10 and the start of Block 7 on March 30, I hosted two to three workshops a week focusing on online pedagogy and Canvas functionality in addition to working with faculty individually, and by my rough count, I worked with close to 100 faculty in about 20 days.”

I think this moment at CC has highlighted for me how good we are as a campus at working together and supporting one another, particularly when there are challenges that we’re facing. That may not be unusual, but I think the degree to which it happens at CC is unique.
Random fact: Golightly has a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature, has published a book and a chapter in an edited collection on the radical novels in Britain written during the 1790s, and researches and publishes in that field as often as she can.

Acknowledging and Supporting Those Observing Ramadan

By Jen Kulier

The holy month of Ramadan began at sundown on Friday, April 23, over block break, and runs throughout Block 8, ending around May 23 in North America. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, extra prayer, reflection, and increased charity and generosity. It is also a time of community, celebration, and joy. A commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation, the annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and lasts for a month, from one sighting of the cresent moon to the next.

During Ramadan, some Muslim students, staff, and faculty will be fasting from sunrise to sundown. According to Chaplain Kate Holbrook, this can be a very spiritually centering, rewarding, and also demanding time for students, as well as for staff and faculty.

The Chaplain’s Office at Colorado College offers support and resources for members of the campus community who are observing Ramadan, just as they do for those who celebrate and follow other faith traditions.

“In partnership with faculty within the CC Muslim community, we will be hosting a dessert gathering late one night, post Iftar meal; students are in all different time zones now, which means they are breaking fast at all different times,” says Holbrook. Contact Chaplain Holbrook for more information (

The CC Muslim community is invited to join the Yale Muslim community for “Friday Reflections” (a virtual Jumma reflection) at 12:30 p.m. EST. and “Ramadan Reflections” which will happen on Mondays and Wednesdays. Email Holbrook ( if you are interested and she will send you the links.

Eid al Fitr, which celebrates the end of Ramadan, will occur at sunset around May 23.

Ramadan Resources:

What is Mindfulness: Molly Seaman ’21

Molly Seaman ’21.

In this series we ask people around campus what mindfulness means to them and how they are surviving and thriving in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. Here, we talk to Molly Seaman ’21.

What does mindfulness mean to you?
Mindfulness may evoke meditation, yoga, art therapy, and other anxiety-reducing therapeutic techniques, but to me mindfulness means awareness of the present moment and consciousness of that awareness. Meditation, yoga, and art therapy may help some people achieve this state of mind, but every person must search for the unique activity that works for them. Mindfulness must be worked toward; mindfulness is a reward. I achieve mindfulness through making sculptures, writing poetry, and hiking, though every person I know who focuses on mindfulness has their own methods.

How is mindfulness different from calmness or relaxation?
Practicing mindfulness means facing the reality of the present, which does not necessarily yield relaxation. I don’t think I need to be calm nor relaxed while practicing mindfulness. In fact, I think it can be better to be the opposite. In order to be aware of the present moment, I must face the negativity in the present. Mindfulness does not require me to fight that negativity, but it does require me to be aware of it, to feel it. Mindfulness can be a wake-up call for me if I haven’t been facing my demons. Sometimes I’ve found it important to be conscious of the present before making decisions.


How does mindfulness help at a time like this of uncertainty and worry?
It is easy to chronically worry about the future in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak; I know I’ve been worrying. That is why it is more important than ever to practice mindfulness, to experience the present moment instead of worrying about the future, even if just for a short while. The COVID-19 outbreak is largely out of our control, and the most we can do is continue to practice social distancing and to wait. In the meantime, it is important to reflect on the joys of the present as well as the negatives. I take time to appreciate the amount of time I have to spend with my roommates and to start projects I’ve been putting off for weeks, months, and even years in some cases. The free time that social distancing has allotted all of us gives us a chance to strengthen our relationships with our housemates and/or families and to engage with hobbies. However, this free time can only be taken advantage of if we are able to appreciate the present instead of worrying about the future.

What are some of your favorite practices that you’re leaning on at this time?
Art has become extremely important to me during the pandemic. Art projects give me purpose, an outlet for creativity and energy, and, when I finish them, a sense of accomplishment. I’ve never seriously studied studio art, but I’ve realized recently that, of course, no one has to see any product of which I’m not proud. This realization gave me full creative release, and I’ve been creating many pieces of art since, both bad and good.


What suggestions can you offer to someone who might be struggling to be mindful now?
Everyone achieves mindfulness differently. Any activity that can help you escape worries about the future has the potential to help you to achieve mindfulness. Don’t worry about relaxing; trying to relax can be anxiety-inducing in and of itself. Engage with activities that focus your attention onto the present.

What resources does CC offer that can help those right now who want to cultivate mindfulness?
Aside from reaching out to the Counseling Center, the chaplain, the Employee Assistance Plan, the Butler Center, the Advising Hub, and/or the Wellness Resource Center, it is important to remember that professors are also a resource that CC students can reach out to with concerns/anxieties about the virus and with questions about mindfulness. One of my favorite aspects of CC is the strong relationships between students and professors, and it is important to remember that those relationships exist both on and off campus.

What is Mindfulness with Kara Thomas ’21

Kara Thomas ’21

In this series we ask people around campus what mindfulness means to them and how they are surviving and thriving in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. Here, we talk to Kara Thomas ’21.

What does mindfulness mean to you?
To me, mindfulness means being present, which includes being aware of changes in your emotions. This also means each task you do is with a purpose. This can mean something as simple as being aware when you sit down, or stand up. It can also mean acknowledging when you feel sad, or angry — not trying to shove the emotion away, just recognizing that it is there.

How is mindfulness different from calmness or relaxation?

Calmness and relaxation are an aspect of mindfulness for sure, but I would put them more in category of meditation. Meditating, which typically puts one in a state of relaxation, can help you be more mindful through the day while completing simple daily tasks.

How does mindfulness help at a time like this of uncertainty and worry?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious during this unpredictable time. Being mindful can help you not let these emotions completely wear you down. Mindfulness helps us realize that some things are out of our control, and we just need to stay present, active, cognizant of how our reactions and emotions may be affecting those around us. Additionally, being mindful may help us find new outlets for our frustrations, anxiety, or worry that we may be feeling during this time.

What are some of your favorite practices that you’re leaning on at this time?
I got really into yoga and meditation a couple years back, but find it hard to keep to a consistent schedule at school. So I’m really trying to meditate at least 15 minutes a day, and do yoga at least every other day. Both are great activities to do during this time because for yoga, all you need is access to YouTube, where there are plenty of free videos, and meditating you just need yourself and a quiet space. I also find coloring and doing puzzles to be very therapeutic, as your mind gets completely distracted and focused on the task at hand.

What suggestions can you offer to someone who might be struggling to be mindful now?
Being mindful does not come easily — I’ve been struggling for years to implement mindfulness into my daily life. Just as any hobby takes time to learn, so does being mindful. I would suggest starting with meditating for five minutes a day, then slowly work your way up to 10 minutes, 15, etc. But no rush! We have plenty of time right now, and practice will make mindfulness pay off in the end. It also may be hard to see “progress.” Sometimes we are so focused on seeing results, we lose sight of the goal. Being mindful is about being OK, and accepting, not “seeing” anything change in you. Over time, you will realize you listen more to your emotions and recognize when strong emotions overtake you. But the process is not the same for everyone, and may not be linear. Try not to stress too much about being mindful in the “right” way. If you miss a day of meditation, or yoga, that’s OK. Pick it back up tomorrow.


What resources does CC offer that can help those right now who want to cultivate mindfulness?
There is a great new adjunct course being offered for Block 8, Mindfulness and Social Action in the Context of COVID-19, which I think is a great class for anyone who wishes to be more mindful during this pandemic. I also believe the Bemis School of Art is offering online (Zoom) art classes, which could be helpful for certain students, if art is how they embrace being mindful. Additionally, the Wellness Resource Center is always coming up with new creative ideas that they are taking online, such as their journaling series. I also believe “Morning Meditation and Muffins” (Thursday mornings when school is in session) is still going on via Zoom. Creativity & Innovation and the WRC I would say are the two go-to places for mindful resources for students, but I would honestly also check the Daily Digest, because the school comes out with different creative activities every week!

What is Mindfulness with Isabel Lanzetta Marshall ’22

Isabel Lanzetta Marshall ’22

In this series we ask people around campus what mindfulness means to them and how they are surviving and thriving in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. Here, we talk to Isabel Lanzetta Marshall ’22


What does mindfulness mean to you?
In my mind, mindfulness is the embodiment of my most authentic self. To me, this necessitates a certain depth of understanding both my inner and outer worlds: how my physical, spiritual, and mental health are impacted by the external and how my inner world, in turn, affects those around me. Mindfulness is not only a choice to be conscious of the way we make ourselves a part of the world around us, but also one to tune into the world inside of us — to pay heed to our very human experiences. It necessitates slowing down, reflection, and most importantly —kindness.


How is mindfulness different from calmness or relaxation?
For many of us who live in an environment hyper-focused on “what comes next?”, the practice of mindfulness sometimes does go hand in hand with calmness or relaxation, if only to give us enough space to absorb the moments in our life that are already fleeting. However, mindfulness asks that we do more than binge watch “Tiger King” or take a long bath (although both of these can be remedies in their own right). Mindfulness asks for us to practice presence in our lives. To be mindful, many of us need not only to slow down, put away our phones, and take care of ourselves, but we must also make a conscious effort to pay careful attention to the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors we are exhibiting. Not with judgment, but in an effort to understand the very complex and profound experience of being human in a sometimes joy-filled, sometimes painful, world.


How does mindfulness help at a time like this of uncertainty and worry?
How can we process suffering in the world? Not only during a time when COVID-19 has impacted communities across the globe, including our own, but especially during the times when we find our communities safe from the crossfire. I’m still trying to figure that out myself, but I do know that we all experience uncertainty and worry differently. And right now, some of us may be undergoing especially difficult challenges. It’s important to remember that we don’t have control over what is happening or what may happen in our lives because of the COVID-19 crisis, as with many other upheavals we may face in our lives. Practicing mindfulness allows us to focus on what we can control, and to shape the people we will be when this is over. It is the greater awareness of ourselves and our interactions with others that mindfulness cultivates which will help us bring compassion into our communities. Remember that your physical, mental, and spiritual health is important, even during a global pandemic, because taking care of ourselves gives us the strength to take care of others. What’s more — mindfulness in all moments of our lives brings awareness to the suffering of others, so that we can hold space for their experiences with compassion, let go of trivial matters, and heal. I would summarize this with the help of the Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh:

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”


What are some of your favorite practices that you’re leaning on at this time?
As a writer, journaling is one of my favorite mindful practices. Reflecting on not only the events that happen each day, but also the emotions and thoughts that follow has taught me to be attentive to the conversation happening inside and to recognize that my voice is valued. Movement is also what sustains my practice. Yoga, dance, running are all meditative for someone like me, who tends to be stuck in my head. I don’t think I really realized how the strength of my physical body could empower my subconscious mind until Heather Horton from the WRC made that connection for me. Really honing into the strength and perseverance of our bodies can remind us of our fortitude, especially in our most vulnerable moments. That knowledge has been transformative for me.


What suggestions can you offer to someone who might be struggling to be mindful now?
Be gentle with yourself! Mindfulness is not a perpetual state of happiness, nor is it a cure-all. Maybe you are feeling frustrated at yourself because of how you are coping with this crisis, maybe you are feeling bitter about the turn your life has taken, and maybe you’re feeling lonely and terrified. Mindfulness is not trying to eradicate these emotions to create a somehow superior state of consciousness. Mindfulness is making the conscious choice to sit with yourself, no matter what you are enduring or experiencing in this moment, to really uncover what is going on inside of you and embrace it with compassion.


What resources does CC offer that can help those right now who want to cultivate mindfulness?
The WRC hosts a virtual Mindful Stress Management every Wednesday at 4 p.m. MDT and a journaling series on their YouTube page CC Wellness Resource Center. The Chaplain’s Office hosts a virtual morning meditation every Thursday at 8 a.m., MDT, as well as a Qigong practice and other mindfulness workshops you can look out for on their Facebook page. And finally — asking counselors, chaplains, and campus support for help is an exercise in practicing compassion to ourselves.

What is Mindfulness with Cosette “Coco” Turvold ’21

Cosette “Coco” Turvold ’21

In this series we ask people around campus what mindfulness means to them and how they are surviving and thriving in the new circumstances we find ourselves in. Here, we talk to Cosette “Coco” Turvold ’21

What does mindfulness mean to you?
Mindfulness is grounding, appreciative practices that help you connect your mind and body. The most successful way to practice mindfulness is breathing and sensory awareness activities.

How is mindfulness different from calmness or relaxation?
Mindfulness is not being calm/relaxed, because you are still breathing, using your senses without paying attention to them. Mindful practices emphasize conscious sensory practices, ones that you focus on breathing or senses while deliberately controlling or noticing them.

How does mindfulness help at a time like this of uncertainty and worry?
Mindfulness can help at a time like this, because it feels really good to forget about everything going on for a few moments. It helps me take my eyes off of electronics too, which has been a struggle for me during this time. It can change your mindset for the day, putting a bit of positivity in your life when you’re having a bad day.

What are some of your favorite practices that you’re leaning on at this time?
One of my favorite practices is Tangerine Meditation. Before you open a tangerine, imagine the tangerine tree it came from with all the blossoms in the sunshine and in the rain. Visualize the growth process; this tangerine grew on a tree and it ended up in your hand! What a miracle! Tear off a small part, close your eyes and smell it, appreciate the energy the smell stirs within you. Is your mouth watering? Take mindful bites, noticing the texture, the shape of the fruit, the way the juice spills into your mouth, the things you enjoy about this experience. Enjoy the tangerine with your eyes closed; you can see the universe in just a tangerine. You can take your time eating a tangerine and be very happy. This practice can be applied to any meal, be sure to turn off music/tv other distractions in the background. If you can be present with any activity you’re doing! Get into your warm bed, lay there for two minutes, close your eyes and notice your breath. A moment with yourself is always a mindful moment!

What suggestions can you offer to someone who might be struggling to be mindful now?
My suggestion is that you shouldn’t feel pressured to practice mindfulness in a specific way! You can create your own version of mindfulness. Take a walk in the grass with bare feet, close your eyes and breathe for a minute before a lecture, close your eyes and really appreciate your food, feel into the warmth of the blanket that you have wrapped around you. Mindfulness is about being present with your breath and senses, get creative with it to find what works best for you!

What resources does CC offer that can help those right now who want to cultivate mindfulness?
CC offers the Wellness Resource Center and the Counseling Center with lots of online resources! Outside of CC, you can find endless online resources like books or websites that specialize in finding the right practice for you. My favorite book about mindfulness is “Peace is Every Step” by Thich Nhat Hanh, I’ve learned so much from it. Best wishes to everyone reading this, and I hope you find the right mindfulness practice for you!