Posts in: Around Campus

Students Spend Summer Solving Community Problems with Quad Innovation Partnership

Abbey Lew '18 presents during Quad Summer Intensive

This summer, 25 students from four different area colleges and universities came together to solve challenges facing our community. In its third year, the Quad Innovation Project Summer Intensive brought together 10 CC students, along with recent graduates and peers from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, the United States Air Force Academy, and Pikes Peak Community College to partner with local organizations in developing scalable, innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Quad Partnership Director Jake Eichengreen says he was surprised and impressed by the team dynamics. “The program this year was tremendously diverse, with a broad and inclusive representation of different academic tracts, ages, life experiences, races, and backgrounds,” he says. “Each of our teams was comprised of members from multiple schools. For many of our participants, it was their first time working closely together with students from such radically different backgrounds, and it went phenomenally.”

For example, a team comprised of a CC junior majoring in political science, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Special Forces pursuing an associate’s degree in science, and a retired army private who just finished his third degree in advanced manufacturing at Pikes Peak Community College were working together to build an urban farm.

“I was pushed out of my comfort zone and challenged to think bigger, broader, and from multiple perspectives,” says Abbey Lew ’18, who worked on a project addressing food insecurity in the community. “I was inspired by the many community members who came to speak to us as well as by my passionate peers, all of whom are dedicated to bringing about positive change in the Colorado Springs community.”

Thomas Gifford ’18 worked with his team to reduce peak energy demand in the region by developing a new format for utility billing. He says working toward a common goal was a valuable part of the program. “Not only did I gain confidence in my own abilities, but also in the idea that I can truly contribute towards solving a large and complicated issue when working with the right people,” he says.

Thomas received a job offer from a startup called Maxletics, which he accepted and where he’ll be working for the rest of the summer; he met the company’s founders through the Quad summer program. Along with Gifford, several summer participants interviewed with and/or obtained employment with businesses or organizations that visited the class as part of the program.

Lew says she and her teammates are excited to continue pursuing their project and are currently working with various community businesses and organizations to develop a food-focused comic book that aims to increase food literacy among children.

“I’ve gained more entrepreneurial experience, learned how I work with different types of individuals, discovered the vast number of preexisting resources and opportunities in Colorado Springs, and have seen how seemingly small ideas can lead to bigger actions and impacts,” says Lew. “The most rewarding part of Quad was the connections and relationships I formed that continue beyond the end of the program.”

“My group was working on a project centered around sharing the stories of people experiencing houslessness,” says Emma Finn ’20. “It was both informative and eye opening to hear their stories and begin to understand the deep rooted stigmas that span throughout Colorado Springs and the rest of the country. I think the most rewarding part of the program will come when we get our project up and running.” She says her team intentionally begin using the term “houseless” instead of “homeless” after discussion with one community member who conveyed that, while it may be unconventional, he did have a “home.” What he was missing was a house. “After this encounter, we shaped our project around what people experiencing houslessness actually need, not what others may think they need,” she says.

It’s a program that not only benefits participants, but also the broader community. “The program offers the community access to the kind of entrepreneurial talent and young leaders capable of building new value here in a variety of ways throughout the community,” Eichengreen says. All six of the Quad Project teams chose to build projects to address major issues facing the community – food insecurity, homelessness, and peak energy consumption. “The community is the true beneficiary of the sustainable, scalable concepts our students built that open new opportunities to the homeless, stimulate demand for fresh food in food deserts, and reduce peak energy consumption,” he says.

More than 75 community members attended demonstration day in late June to hear students present their projects. Here’s a full list of the projects students developed to tackle community challenges this summer:

Stuff Comics – (CC, PPCC, UCCS)
Creating superhero comics that excite kids about healthy eating.
Finalizing funding, printing, distribution, and content partners; Committed to 1,000 copy beta version launching in September.

300 Energy – (CC, UCCS)
Creating improved formats for energy bills to encourage customers to reduce demand during peak energy usage times, while also saving users money. A bill design under consideration for further development with Colorado Springs Utilities.

Lift Me Up – (CC, PPCC, UCCS)
A philanthropic ride-sharing program for those in need. The team has secured a service provider partner and raised $1,000 towards a beta launch.

Apical Horizons – (CC, PPCC)
Building urban farms to produce food and housing for college students in need. The team identified a possible pilot site and is finalizing a modular, replicable design.

Strive – (CC, PPCC, UCCS)
A project to amplify the stories of the houseless to improve access to mental health resources. The team has identified initial houseless participants and mentors.

Avium – (CC, PPCC, UCCS, USAFA)
Creating engaging education to stimulate demand for healthy food choices in food deserts. The group’s first teaching dinner will be Aug. 5; they have secured a chef/instructor, food, venue, and marketing.

Welcome JoAnn Jacoby as New CC Library Director

JoAnn Jacoby

JoAnn Jacoby will join CC in August as the new library director.

Most recently, Jacoby served as associate dean for user services in the University of Illinois Library, the largest publicly funded academic library in the U.S.  She has spent most of her professional career at Illinois in a number of roles over the last 18 years, including head of research and information services, coordinator of the New Service Model Program, anthropology and sociology subject specialist, and visiting assistant university archivist.  Jacoby has published her research on evolving scholarly practices and library service evaluation processes in major journals in the field. She has served as chair of both the American Library Association’s Library Research Roundtable and of the Anthropology and Sociology Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Jacoby has a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from Southern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.

Jacoby will begin leading the newly renovated Tutt Library on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

Outdoor Education Center Annex Provides Gear and Access

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Construction

Construction

Welcome Alex Hernandez-Siegel as New CC Chaplain

Alex Hernandez-Siegel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campus Stays Busy with Summer Session 2017

Summer Session 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Session

Mural Project Displays Graffiti as Art, and Much More

Naomi Van der Land paints graffiti mural

By Montana Bass ’18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

J Street U

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

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

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

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

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

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

Students Launch START Team to Increase Sexual Assault Support

By Montana Bass ’18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Force/Resistance” Exhibit: Continuing the Conversation

Force/Resistance Exhibit

By Montana Bass ’19

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Students Dig in on Paleontology Spring Break Trip

Spring Break Trip

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

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

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

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

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

Spring Break Trip