Posts in: Around Campus

Students Explore, Delve Deeper with Help of Grants

Montana Bass ’18

Student recipients in two different grant programs will showcase their experiences and you’ll have the opportunity to talk with them about how the grants support learning at CC.

Promoting CC students’ imagination, challenge, and personal growth in their own responsible and conscientious pursuit of wilderness expeditions and education — that’s the purpose of the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund.  Each year, the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund gives grants to a selection of student applicants. This summer, the fund sponsored 10 expeditions in which 27 students participated. Talk with grant recipients in person at the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund Expedition Grant slideshow on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Cornerstone Arts Center Screening Room.  Student groups will share their incredible backcountry expeditions throughout North America.

Morgan Mulhern ’17 , explored the culture of food in Latin America with funding from a Keller Venture Grant.

Morgan Mulhern ’17 , explored the culture of food in Latin America with funding from a Keller Venture Grant.

Since its inauguration in 1995, the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund has provided 320 students with expedition funding, resulting in 134 successful expeditions and countless life-changing experiences for Colorado College students.

Keller Venture Grants provide another unique opportunity for CC students, sending them out into the world with the resources to explore a specific interest. This year marks 10 years for the Keller Family Venture Grant program. Last year, the program provided $121,750 to 134 CC students for research and experiential projects.

Students’ projects ranged in focus from art to health care to environmental studies. The grants took students to five continents and 13 countries. The students who receive them exhibit noteworthy innovation, creativity, and passion in their ability to pursue their interests and take advantage of a unique and vital resource at CC.

Anna Cain ’17 traveled to Dublin to continue delving into a book that she did not want to put down at the end of the block. “Ulysses is a book that just destroys your mind,” Cain explained. “After one block, I knew I hadn’t gotten all I could out of it, so I continued to read it over the course of one semester.” Cain meticulously traced the travels of Ulysses during her semester of reading and applied for a grant that would take her to Dublin in the summer to trace his path herself. She researched the commercialism that has grown from Ulysses’s legacy in Dublin and paid specific attention to this in her travels. “It began as just seeing how Ireland was honoring its legacy, then I was finding lots of industries whose entire business model was based on their connection to Ulysses,” she said.

Morgan Mulhern ’17 began her CC semester in a Latin America study abroad program with a grant to study the food of southern Peru over winter break before the spring semester started. “Culinary culture can be thought of as a form of unwritten communication and identification. I traveled from Lima down the coast to Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco. I visited restaurants of Acurio Gaston along the way. His restaurants serve to integrate, celebrate, and explore various fields surrounding the culture and creation of food,” said Mulhern.

To make even more memorable his travel with the CC men’s soccer team, Soren Frykholm ’17 applied for and received a grant to create a documentary exploring the effect of travel on team companionship. “I had the camera rolling as much as I could,” said Frykholm. “I really wanted to get at, ‘What is the importance of world travel’ and ‘What is the purpose of this trip?’” Frykholm dedicated the project to his coach, Horst Richardson, and his wife, Helen, for their 50 years of service to the team.

All three students stressed heavily the accessibility of the grant application process and the academic and personal growth they experienced as a result of their adventures. View an interactive map of all grants from the past two years.

Or, hear their stories in person and learn about how the Keller Venture Grants have transformed the student experience at CC. The Keller Family Venture Grant Forum happens Thursday, Nov. 5, beginning with a reception at 4:45 p.m. in the Cornerstone Arts Center’s main space and a student improv performance by TWIT (CC’s Theatre Workshop Improv Troupe) at 5:20 p.m. Featured student IGNITE-style presentations begin in the Celeste Theatre at 5:30 p.m.

The Grits Collective Provides a Counter Narrative

Grits Collective

Grits Collective

UPDATE: Nov. 13, 2015

The first issue of Grits, one of the Colorado College student-led projects that emerged from last spring’s Soup Project Challenge, was recently published in the Colorado Springs Independent. Serving as a “publication for community nourishment,” Grits features the stories, poems, and artwork of those who are homeless or food insecure in Colorado Springs. Read more in the CC Newsroom.

Arts, innovation, and community engagement come together harmoniously in the Grits Collective, a project founded by students Benjamin Criswell ’16, Caitlin Canty ’16, and Paige Clark ’16 that aims to use the power of storytelling to challenge common societal prejudices toward the homeless population.

Following the closure and transition of the CC Soup Kitchen, the college, launched the Soup Project Challenge, facilitated by CC’s innovation initiative and the Collaborative for Community Engagement, to fund student projects that address hunger, homelessness, and poverty in the greater Colorado Springs community. Of the proposals submitted, four teams of students allocated funding last spring, including the Grits Collective.

During the past few months, the Grits team, which now includes its first intern, Reed Young ’17, has been visiting the Marian House Soup Kitchen, and most recently, working with the kitchen’s Family Day Center program. The students sit down with the soup kitchen’s clients, who are finishing up their lunches, and provide writing prompts and materials to collect stories from the individuals in an effort to shed light on their lives and life experiences.

“There are two components,” said Young of the process. “We collect the stories and publish them, that’s the advocacy component. And the other component you could call empowerment: the idea is that we are bringing people together once a week to share stories.”

Criswell added that the group is looking to “create a shift in the general perception of people that are experiencing homelessness. A homeless person is not just a homeless person; they’re a father, or a son, or a pet owner, or a librarian. There’s a lot more behind people’s faces.”

One only has to take a look at the stories, which can be found on Grits’s new website, gritsco.org, to realize their deeply humanizing power. Each narrative provides context for the storyteller and voices the often-overlooked complexity of human life. Whether revealing an explanation of the past, a commentary on a specific impression of the present, or hopes for the future, the stories deny readers and listeners the option of disregarding the storyteller as simply “homeless.” The Grits Collective encourages understanding by dismantling generalizations shared by mainstream society.

“Fundamentally, we are providing a counter narrative,” said Criswell.

The team members say they’re often struck by the extent to which pure chance contributes to the situations of the people they meet. “For a lot of people that are right on the edge, it’s completely out of their hands,” Criswell said. “If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, one thing – like you slip on ice and have a bunch of medical bills – can put you in that situation.”

Grits will continue to work with CC’s Collaborative for Community Engagement, which advises over 30 community-based student groups, as they continue expanding the project. The Grits team will also partner with KRCC to bring these stories to radio programming, and will have its first print insert in the Colorado Springs Independent Oct. 28, part of Grits’ goal to create a multimedia presence. In the meantime, the team will keep returning to the Marian house to collect stories and continue to build relationships with those who share them.

First-Year Students Launch “Humans of Colorado College”

Humans of CC Facebook page

Humans of CC Facebook page

Montana Bass ’18

“Humans of New York,” the popular Facebook page with over 15 million “likes,” now has another sister page: “Humans of Colorado College,” thanks to two first-year students, Padah Vang ’19 and Joann Bandales ’19. The page already has over 1,300 “likes” and is continuing to gain popularity.

The students have posted to the page nearly every day for the past three weeks. Each post includes a photo of a CC student and a statement from the student, usually regarding his or her experience at CC, and goals for the student’s experience at the college. Students’ comments are honest, inspiring, and heartfelt. Poignant personalities carry through the screen, speaking to the individuality of the student body, while drawing attention to overlooked issues or shedding light on less common perspectives.

Esther Chan ’16 helped Vang and Bandales start the page and says she is extremely excited about where they have taken it. “It’s just gone so far beyond my belief. They’re creating this community of support, vulnerability, honesty, and authenticity that CC needs,” Chan said.

Particularly impressive, notes Bandales, is students’ willingness to share personal details of their lives and allow those intimate stories to be posted for the larger community. “The interviews that have impacted me a lot have been Mohammad [Mia] and Austin [Lukondi]’s stories. They are both amazing people and for them to talk about these things, it’s just eye-opening that there’s more to a person than you think,” she said.

Bandales says she hopes the page will draw the CC community closer together. “I believe that this project will allow us to connect more with the people we see everyday, yet never really know what goes on behind the scenes,” she said.

Vang and Bandales encourage people interested in the project to contact them and become involved. Anyone can find the page by searching “Humans of Colorado College” on Facebook.

New Kids on Campus: Summer Session’s Pre-college Program

Dozens of high school students from around the country and the globe spent part of their summers here on campus, experiencing college courses via the Block Plan. As part of the Summer Session Pre-college Program, they enrolled in 11 of the 16 courses offered during Block B (a total of 289 undergraduate, graduate, and independent study students were enrolled that block).

Of the 49 pre-college students, 17 were here on scholarships, including two merit scholars. They represented 21 states and China, and almost all of the students lived on campus during their courses. Additionally, 11 students participated in the program during Block A this summer.

“I’ve been interested in pursuing physics in college although I was uncertain because it’s an uncommon major.” said Benjamin Weber, who enrolled in the Cosmology, Antimatter, and the Runaway Universe course during Block B as part of the Pre-college Program during Summer Session. “I enrolled in it so I could see how much I want to pursue physics in my higher education. I also was very interested in the Block Plan.”

“As program assistants, we’ve been able to develop a little bit of that CC community within this program by planning fun community programming and being role models” said Jaxon Rickel ’16, who worked as a program assistant with the Pre-college Program this summer. “It has been fulfilling to see the students overcome struggles and succeed on the Block Plan.”

During their time here, students also learned tips for applying to selective liberal arts colleges, practiced admission essay writing, hiked the Manitou Incline, and visited the Fine Arts Center as part of programming specific to academic and student life.

“The Block Plan works. It allows you a good period of time to study interesting topics with people who really know the material they’re teaching,” said Weber. “It’s such a beautiful campus, too. I love walking to class and seeing the snow-capped mountains silhouetting the skyline, or going to an observing session with my class and just looking up to see the universe in its majesty and beauty. To anyone interested, I cannot recommend this program highly enough.”

Pre-college students in class with Professor Shane Burns.

Pre-college students in class with Professor Shane Burns.

PreCollege1

Student-Faculty Collaboration Fuels Summer Research

Want to understand how language influences the interworkings of the mind? Ask Jake Brodsky ’15, a CC psychology major, who is preparing to present research findings on the topic at an international conference this summer.

“His presentation will be viewed by some of the actual researchers he’s cited in his research. Our students can really make an impact on the way people think beyond the CC environment,” said Kevin Holmes, psychology professor, who is working with Brodsky as part of the 10-week Summer Collaborative Research Program.

Kevin Holmes, professor of psychology, meets with his team of summer student researchers at a weekly collaborative meeting.

Kevin Holmes, professor of psychology, meets with his team of summer student researchers at a weekly collaborative meeting.

This summer, 26 students received funding through the Centennial Fund Faculty Student Collaboration Grant and the Mellon-funded Faculty Student Collaboration Grant. About 65 more, like Brodsky, received funding through other college research awards. The summer program supports faculty members in their research activities and provides students with first-hand research experience as undergraduates. The intent is to expose students to the diverse goals, research methods, and skills faculty use to conduct advanced research in their fields of study, prepare research reports of their findings, and present their conclusions to their peers in classes, at professional meetings, or in Brodsky’s case, to experts in his field.

Holmes says participating in this kind of intensive, collaborative research enhances the learning environment for every student.  “Doing research teaches you how to think in ways you don’t get in regular classes; just to be able to think through a problem, coming up with a question and determining how to test it,” said Holmes of working with students. Students in the program learn to solve problems, draw conclusions that can be defended, and tell the story of the research, which is what Brodsky is doing now as he prepares to present the significant findings of his research.

“You don’t have the pressures that you do during the school year; in the summer, the time is yours, you can sit down and think about the ideas, focus on the theories and the methods, and not worry about the deadlines,” Holmes said.

The collaborative nature of the program is at the core of why Holmes says it’s so valuable – both to faculty and to students.  “For a student to be able to make such a big contribution, it’s great. It’s not just the faculty member deciding ‘here are my research projects and here’s what you’ll do,’ but they bring in their ideas, often related to thesis work. We meet daily in the summer, to check in, to figure out the next step; each of us makes a contribution to the work.”

Brodsky’s research and resulting findings grew from his senior thesis project exploring how monolingual and bilingual adults differ in their views of gender. After graduation, he continued his work through funding provided by the collaborative research program. Holmes helped him apply for additional funds, once Brodsky was selected as a presenter at the Cognitive Science Society Conference in Pasadena in July.

Holmes is working with six students during the summer and while he says it’s a demanding load, the group dynamic helps the scientific, and learning, process. “Each individual student is outstanding, and bringing them together they learn from and help each other, and challenge each other,” he said.

“What the students in my lab are doing this summer are projects very similar to the graduate school experience,” said Holmes. “It’s so much more about the research than taking classes; they have to think carefully about their project and have the time to execute from start to finish. I’d like students to get involved earlier, so by the time they’re seniors, they can really take on more advanced research and extend it in new directions.”

Brodsky also encourages students to get involved in research earlier in their CC careers, and specifically through the summer program. “It’s probably been my favorite part of being at CC. It’s the opportunity to do research with a professor, independently, and the summer offers all of the fun parts of learning without the pressures of turning things in; you get to really learn for learning’s sake.”

Ultimately, Brodsky will work with Holmes to write up his findings for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. While he hasn’t made plans about his next steps yet, Brodsky said his experience this summer “makes me excited to continue in academics or to go on to grad school.”

Find out what subject matter other Summer Collaborative Research Program participants explored when they present their work at the second annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held on campus in the fall.

Shove Sound System Gets “Revolutionary” Update

The next time you attend a program or performance at Shove Chapel, go ahead and sit in the back. What ITS experts call “revolutionary technology” is now in place,offering a greatly enhanced sound system for the historic building.  “The sound quality is awesome,” said Jera Wooden, “We had no idea how clear and crisp everything would sound.”

ITS began working on the project about a year ago, recognizing the need for an upgrade to the sound system while also identifying very specific aesthetic and acoustic needs within the space. The Tectonic speakers are “cutting edge” said Randy Babb and Sean Roberts, members of the ITS Smart Spaces team who led the installation process. While traditional speakers distribute sound directionally, similar to the way light is distributed by a spot light, the new speakers use a flat surface to distribute the sound cleanly and clearly, with less echoing. Shove Chapel is one of the first buildings in the country to install this new speaker technology.

Visually, the flat speakers are unobtrusive in the historic space. They’re only 2.5 inches thick and five new speakers replace the 20 small speakers used in the old system. They were powder coated with a custom color to match the chapel’s stone walls and the extensive wiring (they’re wired speakers, but you wouldn’t easily notice) required a month of drilling, boring, and cosmetic work.

The new system launched with the 2015 Baccalaureate ceremony and has been used at weddings and other services throughout the summer. Now, controls are mobile, accessed via a handheld iPad, or iPads in two different stationary locations within the chapel, improving the ease of use, formerly done in one tiny control room, up a steep flight of stairs. “Weddings are so much easier, not constantly running up the stairs, and we have wireless microphones; it’s great,” Wooden said.

This $76,000 project was funded through an endowment used for regular maintenance of the facility. Take a listen here,  and a look at photos, from installation through the final product, below.

Congrats to 2015 PIFP Fellows!

Thirty-nine students will serve in fellowships this summer as part of the Public Interest Fellowship Program. The program acts as a matchmaker between CC students with an interest in the social sector and nonprofit organizations doing innovative work in the public interest. Often, this work involves policy, research, and advocacy. This year, CC has 20 summer fellows and 19 yearlong fellows.

Thanks to all faculty and staff members who submitted letters of recommendation on behalf of these students, and to the CC community who will support them in these endeavors.

Congratulations to all of the PIFP fellows!

Fellow term: Fellow name: Host organization:
Summer fellow Jane Finocharo ’16 ACLU of Colorado
Summer fellow Stefani Messick ’17 ARC of the Pikes Peak Region
Summer fellow Taylor Wright ’17 Atlas Preparatory School
Summer fellow Vanessa Voller ’16 The Bell Policy Center
Summer fellow Patricia Weicht ’16 Catamount Institute
Summer fellow Victoria Johnson ’17 City of Colorado Springs
Summer fellow Jessica Worley ’15 ClinicNet
Summer fellow Isaac Radner ’17 CO League of Charter Schools
Summer fellow Kimiko Tanabe ’16 Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Reg (COPPeR)
Summer fellow Megan Gillespie ’16 The Gill Foundation
Summer fellow Niyanta Khatri ’17 The Gill Foundation
Summer fellow Zita Toth ’16 National Conference of State Legislatures: Communications Division
Summer fellow Zoe Gibson ’17 *NCSL Education Program
Summer fellow Terrell Blei  ‘17 *NCSL Health Program
Summer fellow David Trevithick ’17 *NCSL Health Program
Summer fellow Julian McGinn ’15 One Colorado
Summer fellow Olivia Chandrasekhar ’17 Palmer Land Trust
Summer fellow Eliza Mott ’17 ProgressNow Colorado Education
Summer fellow Alta Viscomi ’16 TESSA
Summer fellow Celia Palmer ’16 Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Yearlong fellow Duy Pham ’15 The Bell Policy Center
Yearlong fellow Beza Taddess ’15 Colorado Children’s Campaign
Yearlong fellow Jordan Savold ’15 CO Children’s Immunization Coalition
Yearlong fellow Emily Michels ’15 CO Consumer Health Initiative
Yearlong fellow Zachary Stone ’15 CO Consumer Health Initiative
Yearlong fellow Alexander Meyer ’15 Colorado Fiscal Institute
Yearlong fellow Maggie Bailey ’15 Colorado Health Institute
Yearlong fellow Andrew Randall ’15 Colorado Public Radio
Yearlong fellow Fiona Horner ’15 Colorado Youth Matter
Yearlong fellow Alexandra Drew ’15 Concrete Couch
Yearlong fellow Audrey Wheeler ’15 Conservation Colorado
Yearlong fellow James Terhune ’15 Denver Scholarship Foundation
Yearlong fellow Cameron Johnson ’15 DSST Public Schools
Yearlong fellow Emma Shiestl ’15 Innovations in Aging Collaborative
Yearlong fellow Jeremy Flood ’15 New Era Colorado
Yearlong fellow Evalyn Grant ’15 OMNI Institute
Yearlong fellow Melissa Chizmar ’15 Pikes Peak United Way
Yearlong fellow Wan Hung (Harry) Yao ’15 Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
Yearlong fellow Sarah Ross ’15 TESSA

 

The Soup Project – Rethinking the Community Kitchen

The CC Community Kitchen has changed and is now working with the community as The Soup Project at the Community Kitchen Club. The Soup Project offers students and guests a shared space to practice food justice and arts for social change each week. However, the change is not just in name.

Guests will be welcomed into Shove Memorial Chapel for a meal on the CC campus this Sunday, as they have each Sunday for more than 22 years. But the support CC provides for those in need now includes more educational programming, focus on nutrition, and structure.

An initial action plan had a Nov. 16 target date to move the kitchen out of the space at Shove Chapel. But through a collaborative effort, The Soup Project took shape and will now work to address the root causes of poverty, hunger, and homelessness through education, awareness, and advocacy.

A registration process for all participants, or members, of the Community Kitchen Club – all volunteers, students, and guests – began in mid-November. This provides accountability and empowers all to take ownership in solving these issues in the community. The format of the program has also changed; the focus now is on community learning, providing educational programming around art for social change, accompanying a nutritious meal.  All participants will have to abide by a code of conduct; a community safety plan and training for all participants are also new components of The Soup Project.

The Soup Project mission involves much more than providing a meal to those in need. It is a place where neighbors can come together to create a better community. Dave Harker, newly appointed director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement, said issues of security, integrity of the building, and the nature of the Community Kitchen are now being addressed. Meals are continuing for those who choose to participate in the programming component and dialogue is now underway to determine a new location for the future. Guests are already recognizing the change, and those who choose not to participate in the programming will receive a boxed lunch to take with them on Sundays in December, providing a meal to aid in this transition for the community.

The Soup Project is a collaboration between CC’s Food Coalition and Arts for Social Change Coalition, which is housed within CC’s Collaborative for Community Engagement. If you would like to learn more, contact Adison Petti: adison.petti@coloradocollege.edu.

New and potential partnerships in the community will be identified so students may continue to work on these issues and engage in purposeful ways with those who are homeless, hungry, and impoverished. In partnership with CC’s Innovation Institute, the Collaborative is encouraging students to have a larger and more lasting impact through The Soup Project Challenge. This challenge will offer $20,000 in award money to fund student-designed social innovation projects to address homelessness and hunger in Colorado Springs. Details about the criteria, application process, and deadlines are coming soon. The Soup Project Challenge kick off and information session will be held Dec. 10, at 5 p.m. in the Morreale Carriage House.

Giving Thanks at Annual Thanksgiving Meal

Seventy-five students gathered for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, enjoyed football games on the big screen, talked about the myths and traditions around the holiday, and took in some arts and crafts fun making hand turkeys. The annual Thanksgiving meal is an opportunity for any students on campus during the Thanksgiving break to spend time together and savor a holiday meal. A team helped put on the feast, with Bon Appetit preparing the meal, representatives from Campus Safety carving the turkeys, and Residential Life coordinators assisting with activities. Residential Life and Housing, Campus Safety, and The Butler Center provided funding.

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Students Share at CC Internship Experience Forum

IntershipExperience2More than 100 students traveled across the country and around the globe, from the Uganda Village Project to Venetucci Farm, gaining real-world experience, knowledge, and inspiration for the impact they’ll have now, and after leaving CC.

Megan Gillespie ’16, sociology major, spent her summer at an unpaid internship in Denver with the Lutheran Family Services refugee program. She spent more than an hour at the CC Internship Experience Forum explaining her work to fellow students and other members of the CC community, before rotating out and allowing other students their opportunity to share. The organization Gillespie worked with assists families and individuals fleeing the Congo, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, and many other countries, arriving in the United States without access to resources, embarking on a very uncertain journey. Gillespie helped pair families with cultural mentors, connected them with social services, and assisted them in developing job skills. She said the internship is also relevant to her thesis work on refugees and the implications and concept of residential segregation, which is relocating families from the same cultural backgrounds in the same neighborhoods. “Throughout the summer, I was asking the question, ‘are we perpetuating the issue, and is it necessary?’” she said of placing refugee families in the United States. Gillespie continues the work on campus, leading the Refugee Assistance Program service group at CC.

Funding provided by the college enabled students to accept internships, regardless of any financial barriers or impacts. “The CC community at large contributed resources to help fill students’ financial gaps, allowing them the opportunity to participate in unpaid or underpaid internship opportunities over the summer,” said Megan Nicklaus, director of the Career Center. The CC Internship Experience Forum provided an opportunity for those students to share their experiences with the campus community.