Posts in: Around Campus
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Cynthia Lowen ’01, poet, writer, and producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary “Bully,” is visiting CC this block, sharing insight into her creative process, her experience as an artist, and how she innovates social change through her own creativity.
She spoke on campus Thursday, Nov. 3, as part of CC’s Innovative Minds series, which features speakers from various industries and backgrounds and allows them to share insights from their personal and professional experiences, and is a block visitor teaching a screenwriting course in the Department of Film and Media Studies during Block 3.
According to Jill Lange, program manager for Innovation at CC, Lowen “has maintained ties with the college in various capacities over the years” and Lange was excited when Lowen accepted the invitation to speak. Lange says she’s proud to showcase Lowen’s success in “navigating her own innovative, artistic career path.”
Lowen is an award-winning poet and film writer and a recipient of the Hedgebrook Women Authoring Change Prize. She wrote and produced the 2012 documentary “Bully,” which focuses on childhood bullying in America’s schools. “Bully” was nominated for two Emmys, and was awarded the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism and the 2013 Stanley Cramer Award, among others. After the production of “Bully,” Lowen co-wrote “The Essential Guide to Bullying: Prevention and Intervention.” She has also published a poetry collection called “The Cloud That Contained the Lightning,” which won the 2012 National Poetry Series.
Next up on Innovation Thursdays: A Big Idea workshop titled “Minimum Viable Product” Thursday, Nov. 10, 4-5p.m. Morreale Carriage House for students interested in participating in the Big Idea competition to understand “what is a MVP, why it’s important and what it’s used for.
By Alana Aadmot ’18
Keller Venture Grants, made possible by the Keller Family Foundation, allow hundreds of Colorado College students to create and implement their own research projects by providing students up to $1,000. Last year, the program provided nearly $150,000 in student research funds and saw 146 CC students pursue their own individual research projects on campus, across the United States, and around the world.
Last Spring Break, Celia O’Brien ’18 pursued her project titled “Teachers at Busesa Mixed Day and Boarding Primary School, Uganda.” O’Brien spent three months teaching fifth grade students at this same school back in 2014 as part of her gap year, which served as inspiration for her project.
“I was really affected by my time there,” she elaborates, “I knew I needed to somehow find my way back. I took Professor Charlotte Mendoza’s Globalization of Education course my first year, and that sparked the idea to apply for a Venture Grant to return to the school and dig a little deeper.”
O’Brien formulate her idea into a plan to investigate the teachers at a particular school and the growing role of English in their classrooms. Particularly, she wanted to study what factors shape teachers’ lives, the daily and long-term challenges they face, and the experiences that shape and motivate them as teachers.
O’Brien’s research involved a series of interviews with teachers as well as classroom observations to learn “how the teachers interacted with the students, how they organized the class, and especially how they used English versus their local language,” she says.
“I was surprised to learn how much of themselves they invest in their students in unseen, or at least subtler ways,” O’Brien says of her results. “They spend so much time and energy and thought on the kids. This quality, I learned, isn’t very common in Ugandan schools; at this one (Busesa), the high quality and dedication of the teachers attracted new students every day I was there.” This popularity, O’Brien learned, brought new challenges to the school, leading her to explore not only the successes of the school but also the consequences of a success, all thanks to her Venture Grant.
Soren Frykholm ’17 also received Venture Grant funding, on two separate occasions, to enact his own projects. He pursued his first Venture Grant, “Going the Distance: The Effects of Travel on Team,” in the summer of 2015. Frykholm, a member of CC’s varsity men’s soccer team, traveled to England, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany with the team to play soccer, and with the aid of a Venture Grant, he was able to create a documentary film of their experiences.
“During our travels, I used my camera and some audio gear that I borrowed from CC’s film department to conduct interviews with all my teammates and many of the people we encountered on our trip,” describes Frykholm. “Over the course of 18 days, we played ten soccer games in four countries, toured many historic cities, volunteered at several local schools, and much more. I captured many of our best moments on camera.” The result was a ten-minute documentary, with a 25-minute extended edition, that examined the travel’s effect on the team and helped Frykholm grow his filmmaking skills.
“It slowly evolved to feature more of the people we were meeting instead of just the guys on our team,” he says of the progression of his project, “it became increasingly about not only the camaraderie forming between us, but also about the international connections we were making and the implications of the fact that we were acting as ambassadors for our school and our country. I ended up interviewing many of our hosts, some of whom were CC alumni, and others we met.”
Frykholm says he hopes that his work and the conversations it created inspired his team to do some deeper thinking “about the opportunities we have as CC students to expand our intellectual, cultural, and humanistic horizons,” like it did for him.
These are just two examples of the ways Venture Grants can be interpreted and enacted. Read more about Venture Grants and explore grants from years past. Or, hear from Venture Grant recipients at the 2016 Keller Venture Grant Forum Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Celeste Theatre. The event begins with presentations at 4:15 p.m., followed by a reception in Cornerstone Main Space at 5:15 p.m.
CC faculty and staff are invited to participate in the Friends of CC program during Fall, Winter and/or Spring breaks during the academic year. The Friends of CC program is a host offering for students whose families reside 100 miles or more from Colorado Springs, or plan to stay on campus during the break(s). The program is coordinated by CC’s Butler Center.
If you’re interested in spending time with CC students, there are a number of days available to do so this academic year. These days are: Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 24, during CC’s Fall Break; any day between Friday, Dec. 23 and New Year’s Day Sunday, Jan. 1, during CC’s Winter Break; or any day between Thursday, March 16, and Saturday, March 25, during CC’s Spring Break.
The Butler Center will coordinate with international students and others who plan to stay on campus during a break period. The Butler Center will connect them with faculty and staff who’ve expressed interest in hosting and spending time with students.
If you have already established a connection with a student, you are welcome to continue that relationship and you’re invited to share that information with the Butler Center to include your “host” status in the Friends of CC program.
It is important for CC to consider background checks of host families, and because CC faculty and staff had a background check before being hired, this program is a cost-effective way to offer opportunities for students to feel connected to adults in a familial way.
To participate in the program during Fall Break, please contact Pearl Leonard-Rock by Monday, Oct. 24, by 4 p.m. If you would like to participate during Winter or Spring Break, respond no later than the first Monday of Block 4 or 6.
Thank you for helping support CC students!
By Alana Aamodt ’18
Hoff creates bags and accessories inspired by her years spent at sea and her upbringing on a Midwestern horse farm. Reclaimed sailcloth and vintage horse tack are brought together to create products that are not only sustainable but rich with character, evoking stories of their former lives.
Over the course of three days, Hoff helped students find inspiration from a multitude of recycled materials, turning them into structural forms and useful items. Materials included salvaged fabric, stone, metal, wood, bike tires, and cans as well as leather and sails provided by Hoff. After Hoff’s crash course in sewing and her creative advice, students produced backpacks, lampshades, seats, and shoes.
Colorado College helped Hoff get her start in design in more ways than one. An art major and outdoor enthusiast during her time as a student, Hoff received a Ritt Kellogg Expedition Grant for a multi-week sailing trip around Maine the summer after her junior year. The Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund, created by the Kellogg family to honor their son Ritt, a CC alumnus who died in a mountain climbing accident, provides CC students money for thoroughly planned backcountry trips.
Hoff researched Ritt Kellogg’s life before applying for her grant and discovered that he was also an avid sailor. To learn more, she contacted an old friend of Kellogg’s who worked for Outward Bound’s sailing program in Maine, beginning a friendship that eventually procured her a job. After her expedition and later, after graduation, she returned to Maine to work as a sailing instructor for Outward Bound.
Over the course of four years, Hoff lived and worked on 30-foot open sailboats, teaching sailing for weeks straight. She recounts having to sleep like sardines in the boat next to ten students, stepping onto land very occasionally. To conserve space and bring a personal touch onboard, she began crafting journals and bags for her sailing journeys — things that were small and durable.
Starting to tire of constant life on the water, Hoff thought to sell the journals and bags made from scraps of paper and old sails to shops in Maine. “This was kind of a revelation,” she says of her surprise of being able to just walk into a shop and sell her work, “I realized this could be a viable job.”
At one point, Hoff’s mom sent her some old horse tack (leather used in horse equipment) from their farm in Illinois thinking she might be able to use it. This, combined with the sailcloth, evolved into the basis of her current bag designs. Selling to small shops in Maine allowed Hoff to eventually show her work at a trade show. Consequently, orders came in and she moved to New York City, becoming a one-woman designer and producer of bags. “I didn’t have a studio,” Hoff tells, “I was driving a launch boat on the Hudson and making bags on the floor of my apartment in Brooklyn on the side.”
After about a year, Hoff moved to San Francisco, where she currently resides, and has had no trouble finding horse tack and sails to recycle. She is in the process of opening a shop and continues to experiment with sailcloth. Versatile and durable, she has used it for wall dividers, upholstery, drapery, and outdoor furniture.
Although inexpensive, recycled materials present other challenges, says Hoff — they’re inconsistent, requires a lot of cleaning, and their supply is not guaranteed. However challenging, she is drawn to the material itself and keeps with it because it’s sustainable and possesses other less tangible qualities: “It has stories to tell, it has age, it has character.”
Hoff will be running another recycling workshop during the Block 6 Design Workshop class. The class, taught by Carl Reed, professor emeritus of art, will work with CC’s student-led Integrative Design Group and Hoff to create recycled items for the Wellness Resource Center. Anything from window coverings to lamps to chairs may be created, bringing student-made character and comfort to this vital facility on campus.
You can check out Hoff’s work on her website.
Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Until this year, Colorado College has not had a spoken word poetry group. Now, thanks to the inspiration of Eliza Mott ’16 and Hollis Schmidt ’17, CC has its own troupe for spoken word. In its inaugural year, SpeakEasy was recently awarded “Excellence in Poetry Programming” by the Pikes Peak Arts Council, granting the group an honorary membership within the council and official recognition within the Colorado Springs art community, an accolade featured recently by the Catalyst.
Mott and Schmidt began the group in Fall 2016, but both had been thinking about it long before then. As Schmidt, the vice president of the group, SpeakEasy, says, the community of spoken word “just didn’t exist at CC. There were a few workshops for poetry, but nothing like slam poetry or spoken word.” For Mott, SpeakEasy’s president, her inspiration to start the group came last year, when Yolany Gonell, director of residential life and campus activities, began the “I am” poetry performance. Mott says that “the impact of that performance on myself, the other performers, and the students who watched, was incredible.” Mott says she wanted to continue to share the experience of spoken word with others and, while performing at other open mic events, noticed that there were other talented poets at CC. Schmidt and Mott recognized the lack of “space for these poets to gather” on CC’s campus.
With these ideas in mind, Mott began collaborating with Gonell and Schmidt, and SpeakEasy began to come together. Both students had their own visions for the group, but at the core, their goal was to create a place for students to come together to write and perform poetry that explores interesting and sometimes difficult topics. As a creative writing major with an emphasis on poetry, Schmidt says she hopes to provide a community “outside of the academic classroom where students can be creative and also be held accountable for continuing to write.” Mott says her goal for the group is to “create spoken word poetry and art that addresses issues of identity and personhood” and to “put on performances with our troupe that create conversation regarding these issues.” Mott also emphasizes her goal to explore powerful issues and allow people to share their own story though poetry.
SpeakEasy’s purpose has resonated with many CC students; after holding tryouts on campus, the troupe already has 18 members. Their first official performance is this Sunday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. in the screening room at Cornerstone Arts Center.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
History students are making strides to educate the large community of southern Colorado about mass incarceration, and why Colorado is an essential part of this discussion through a digital project called “Past, Present, Prison.”
Starting with the Social Issues and Historical Context Initiative in 2014, the “Past, Present, Prison” project was created by students in the Colorado College Department of History. The initiative is funded by a grant from an anonymous donor that provides $200,000 over three years. The initiative’s goal is to inform people on how history shapes current issues and focuses on creating courses on the history of prisons in Colorado, as well as inviting visiting speakers on the topic. This fall, the initiative is also putting on an exhibit at the I.D.E.A. Space called “Incarceration Nation.”
As a whole, the SIHC initiative’s goal is to engage CC students, faculty, and staff with the Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Canon City communities in conversations about the impact of prisons in southern Colorado. The “Past, Present, Prison” digital project is one of the main ways the grant is attempting to do so.
The project began, with help from the SIHC grant, in the history department with the goal of raising awareness of mass incarceration in the United States, and specifically how Colorado prisons play a role. Mass incarceration is a modern concept based on how quickly the prison industry is growing, the racial disparities within it, and the sheer numbers of incarcerated people. According to Carol Neel, professor of history, mass incarceration is a problem because “of a systematic racism and classism, and because the American people have let politicians blind them to the imprisonment of over two million of us.”
Helping young people learn about the past by demonstrating the connections between history and current issues is also an important aspect of the project. The digital project is a collaboration between students, faculty, and staff. On the “Past, Present, Prison” webpage, CC students have posted their extensive research pulled from archives of the Museum of Colorado Prisons and the Royal Gorge Museum and History Center, both in Canon City, Colorado. The two sets of archives cover many aspects of prison in a local and historical context.
The posted articles originated as papers written by students in the course Encountering the Past – The Long History of the Colorado State Penitentiary at Canon City, taught by Neel. The articles include topics such as the beginning of incarceration and criminalization, the economics of incarceration, and social dynamics in and around prisons. Right now, the webpage only contains the articles profiling the history of Colorado prisons, but the students hope to expand its reach. Neel explains that adding a blog to the project would aim to better engage the Colorado Department of Corrections in the conversation about mass incarceration and to explore the impact of the many prisons on the state of Colorado.
By Alana Aamodt ’18
From climbing fourteeners in the Collegiate Peaks, to rafting in Moab canyons, to hiking up to lakes and hot springs in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, dozens of first-year students spent their first block break experiencing some of the most beautiful parts of the Southwest’s wilderness. Each year, more than 150 students participate in trips like these, free of cost, thanks to the Outdoor Recreation Committee’s First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips program.
The program, affectionately called FOOT trips, has been bringing together first-year students and upper-class student leaders during every Block 1 block break since 1984. The student-led trips are open to all experience levels with 15-20 FOOT trips taking place every year.
Student leaders plan out FOOT trips at the end of each school year for the next year’s first block break. In September, leaders are randomly assigned a group of about nine first-year students. Right after class on Wednesday of fourth week of Block 1, groups depart in vans for the FOOT trips.
Over the course of an extended weekend, first-year students are introduced to outdoor skills like backcountry cooking, reading topographic maps, and “Leave No Trace” principles. While often challenging, FOOT trips largely focus on bonding within the group and taking in the beauty of the outdoors.
Eliza Guion ’20 participated in a FOOT trip this year and spent four days camping in the San Isabel National Forest outside Leadville, Colorado. Trip highlights included swimming in North Halfmoon Lake, summiting Mount Massive at 14,428 feet, and enjoying campfires under clear starry skies.
“One memorable moment on our FOOT trip happened when we were on our way up to the summit of Mount Massive,” Guion recounts of her trip. “We were pretty cold, the wind was blowing hail into our faces, the trail was steep, and the visibility was super low. We were just trudging up the gray rocks in the gray mist. Then out of nowhere a big gust of wind came and cleared the whole valley of the fog and the hail. Suddenly there was sun on our faces, and we turned around and watched as the whole view was unveiled before us. As the fog was swept away, we could see the red bushes and the yellow aspens, and miles and miles into the blue hills. It was magical!”
After completing a FOOT trip, students can continue to participate through ORC trips and may eventually choose to become trip leaders themselves. Through inclusive programs like FOOT, the ORC hopes to inspire new generations of outdoor leaders within the CC student community.
Photo by Orren Fox ’20.
Michael Howell, Manitou Springs resident and registrar and collections manager at the Fine Arts Center, talks about the CC-FAC alliance with the Pikes Peak Bulletin. (click image to see PDF)
How can a faculty member create cultural inclusiveness in the classroom? How can they best support students during uncertain times? How can they make diversity a strategic priority?
Those are just some of the questions that will be discussed this weekend at the Consortium for Faculty Diversity. CFD is a group of liberal arts institutions that supports a fellowship program with the goal of diversifying the pipeline of faculty into the liberal arts.
Every year, CFD brings together the program’s new fellows for a professional development conference featuring workshops and speakers to discuss topics to support the fellows’ professional growth. This year, CC hosts the annual conference, in various campus locations Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24.
Michael Benitez, a leading national social justice educator and activist-scholar, will lead a presentation and dialogue titled, “The Time Is Always Now: Advancing Legacies of Diversity and Social Justice Leadership in 21st Century Higher Education.” Benitez is known for his down-to-earth insightful commentary and critical perspectives on social and cultural issues. Currently, Benitez is chief diversity officer, dean of diversity and inclusion, and Title IX officer at the University of Puget Sound.
Dena Samuels, director at Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion, and assistant professor of women’s and ethnic studies at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, provides the closing keynote address, “Transforming Ourselves to Become Culturally Inclusive Educators.” Her presentation is directed at educators of any experience level teaching any subject who are willing to engage in self-reflection and who are specifically interested in increasing their teaching effectiveness by making their classrooms more culturally inclusive.
At CC, the Riley Fellows Program is run in conjunction with the Consortium for Faculty Diversity fellows. CC was a founding member of the consortium, which aims to: serve students’ learning by bringing in emerging teacher-scholars to offer courses and to be a part of the diverse intellectual community at CC; serve the fellows by providing pre-doctoral and post-doctoral appointments where they can be immersed in an excellent liberal arts institution, helping advance their scholarship, develop their teaching, and be more successful in the academic job market; and serve the entire liberal arts community by supporting inclusive excellence by diversifying the faculty candidate pool for the liberal arts.
CC President Jill Tiefenthaler and Fine Arts Center President and CEO David Dahlin talk with Colorado Public Radio’s Corey Jones about the CC-FAC alliance and strategic planning process.