Posts in: General News
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Protests on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota made national news for months as members of the Sioux tribe, as well as many other tribes and non-Native American people, protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
CC students were among the thousands who participated in the protests. A number of native students, as well as the Native American Student Union, or NASU, drove to North Dakota during the first block break to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux.
According to Zunneh-Bah Martin ’19, the chair of NASU, the goal of the trip was “to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and to help in any way that we could while we were there in person.” The students brought winter clothes, food, and other necessary items to the camp in Standing Rock, after collecting donations. For Martin, the impact of the trip was substantial. She says that her time in Standing Rock made her want to extend her visit, because she felt her presence there could make a difference. Martin says her own experience growing up on the reservation of the Diné/Navajo people shaped her experience at the protest.
“I could relate to what the Standing Rock Lakota people were going through,” she says. “I know what it feels like to be treated as the minority of the minorities and as a second-class citizen as indigenous people.” Martin also returned to Standing Rock over Fall Break with her family, as they view the Thanksgiving holiday as a “time to educate others as to why this is not a holiday that should be celebrated.”
On Dec. 4, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was denying a permit for construction of a key section of the pipeline, which is a major victory for the people of Standing Rock and other indigenous people around the country who are involved in the protest. They say the pipeline would destroy sacred lands for the Standing Rock Sioux, as well as greatly restrict their water access. The protest has also sparked controversy over Native American rights to their own land.
By Alana Aamodt ’18
Colorado is a great place to be a craft beer enthusiast and Julian Dahl ’17, senior at CC, is taking advantage of it. President of the recently founded CC Homebrew Club, and previously a summer intern at Triple S brewing in Colorado Springs, Dahl engages his passion for beer throughout the community.
Dahl admits he “didn’t really like beer” until he was exposed to “good, Colorado craft beer.” He describes the evolution of his affinity for the beverage: a brew journal of his favorite beers and their details turned into what’s called extract brewing, where he would buy a company produced malt extract and create his own brew from it. Now, he has upgraded his one-gallon system to a five-gallon set, where he makes his own recipes from different combinations of grains and hops.
“Our goal is to think about what we’re tasting,” Dahl says of CC’s Homebrew Club. Additionally, the club helps engage CC students with the community through interactions with local brewers. “There are 28 breweries in Colorado Springs, which is a ton, and it creates a culture of brewing,” he explains.
The Homebrew Club is where Dahl met Steve Stowell, a community mentor to the club who works for Triple S brewing. The relationship evolved, as Dahl began working for Triple S brewing over the summer as the “resident microbiologist,” where he combined his skills as a biology major with his interest in beer.
For his internship with Triple S, Dahl set up a simple lab at the brewing company, using a microscope to evaluate the yeast and testing samples for contamination. “It’s 15 barrels of microbes’ paradise” Dahl jokes of the yeast and sugar concoctions that will eventually be beer. His job was to determine the right ratios of yeast based on the current state of the yeast and “quantitatively find infection.” When he did find contaminants, the brewery could better clean that section of their equipment before risking their whole batch.
Dahl was lucky enough to find an overlap in his longtime interest in biology and developing desire to make beer. By following his interests, he has been introduced to a “friendly, supportive community,” one he describes as an incredibly “sharing community among competitors,” grounded in helping each other out and enjoying good beer. As Dahl approaches graduation, he knows he wants to stay involved in brewing and has toyed with idea of a microbiology startup that utilizes what he learned over the summer. In the meantime, contact Dahl if you want to learn more about home brewing, see the process, or help him bottle: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first major phase in the strategic planning process undertaken by Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center wrapped up in October. A series of community listening sessions were held, as well as small- group focus sessions and large group discussions, in order to seek input from various community constituents regarding the re-envisioning and redefining of the FAC and CC roles in the arts in the region. Nearly 1,600 people participated in the listening and information gathering process.
In addition, 821 comments have been recorded from the four community listening sessions, comment cards and online comment forms.
“I am so pleased with the number of community members who have participated in this process, and so grateful for the care and thought that were captured in their comments. This input gives everyone involved in planning an excellent foundation for moving forward,” said Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler.
“We’re encouraged by the outpouring of thoughtful input from the community into this important process,” said Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center CEO David Dahlin. “The value of the community’s perspectives can’t be overstated as our mission continues to be primarily to the community at large. Hearing from so many what they value about the FAC and what they hope for the future will inform this next phase as we begin to develop programmatic directions that integrate the needs and hopes of both the CC community and the Colorado Springs community.”
The community comments will now be compiled, reviewed and considered in the next phase of the strategic planning process. The subcommittees will review the emerging themes for each of the Fine Arts Center’s three program areas (click on the link to see the emerging themes in each area): the museum, Bemis School of Art and performing arts, and begin to draft program planning.
The community comments and feedback reveal several overlapping themes that have surfaced in the various subcommittees’ work. These include:
- Using the unique opportunities presented by the CC-FAC alliance to serve as a bridge to and between various communities
- Increasing access to and engagement with broader communities
- Preserving and enhancing programming for new and existing communities
- Leveraging resources and proximity of programs between CC and the FAC
On Feb. 1, 2017, the draft program plans will be shared with the broader community. From there, the timeline is as follows:
- March 15, 2017: Subcommittees submit final program plans to the Strategic Planning Committee
- April 2017: Strategic Planning Committee shares the draft comprehensive plan with the broader community
- May 1, 2017: Strategic Planning Committee submits the final comprehensive plan to the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee
- On or before June 30, 2017: Strategic Plan Oversight Committee approves the plan
Community Engagement By the Numbers
Broad community outreach: # of participants
Four listening sessions 287
One faculty/staff open house 106
Five CC academic department meetings 34
Online input at the CSFAC website 60
Physical comment cards 81
Total: = 568
23 large group sessions
(including area young professionals) 582
13 focus groups 94
One electronic survey 298
Number of actual comments received:
Listening sessions 181
Website online input 273
Comment cards 367
Comments are still being accepted (webpage includes a comment area) and more information is available at: https://www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/
Montana Bass ’18 Teaching, Fundraising in Dakar, Senegal
Montana Bass ’18 and Toni Burdick, a student at Hamilton College, have joined forces while studying abroad in Senegal. The students have launched a fundraising campaign to bring sanitary equipment and running water to Ker Xaleyi, a primary school in Guinaw Rails Sud, Pikine, Dakar, where both students are intern teachers this semester.
Pikine resident Abdoulaye Ba founded Ker Xaleyi in 2012 to combat poverty and illiteracy. Many Pikine students cannot afford public schools and those that do face inadequate learning conditions. Many public schools in Pikine average 90 students per classroom and 1,000 students per bathroom. Of those students, 56 percent do not graduate elementary school.
For half the price of public schools, Ker Xaleyi school offers a safe place for students to gain a bilingual education from Senegalese volunteer teachers and international interns such as Bass and Burdick, who are working with more than 150 students. Unfortunately, the school currently lacks funding for basic resources. Bass invites the CC community to help them raise funds that will bring two toilets and running water to Ker Xaleyi in the Spring 2017, ensuring safer, more structured school days.
By James Rajasingh ’17, student summer researcher for Innovation at CC, and Walt Hecox, professor emeritus of economics and environmental program
Why even ask this question of CC students? Consistently, more than 75 percent say they are super-oriented toward the outdoors, which is part of what attracted them to choose CC in the first place, and it’s where they spend much of their spare time and block breaks.
But widening the view, “millennials” are sometimes categorized in ways that question their orientation to the outdoors. Take, for instance, this statement made by Jonathan Jarvis, director of the U.S. National Park Service: “Young people are more separated from the natural world than perhaps any generation before them.” Or consider this comment from Bozeman-based writer Todd Wilkinson: “Sentiment persists that younger recreationists, who tend to like things faster and steeper than their elders do, don’t care about the land the way their backpacking forebears did.”
So what do millennials in the Pikes Peak region have to say on the issue? Over the summer, Innovation at CC partnered with El Pomar Foundation’s Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism Heritage Series to carry out a survey of outdoor leisure and recreation engagement. Survey results were then used to inform and guide a brainstorming session.
About 150 people, mostly young professionals, attended the “Mountains Matter to Millennials,” public session held this fall by the Pikes Peak Recreation and Tourism Heritage Series. Attendees participated in an energetic question-and-answer portion of the program, moving from table to table, tackling a variety of questions pertaining to outdoor recreation.
Information from the survey and public listening session indicates that millennials, at least in the Pikes Peak region, value the outdoors for leisure and recreation, and they are engaged in volunteering to help manage and protect the region’s valuable mountain backdrop and open spaces.
Millennials who filled out the survey ranked Colorado Springs top among Front Range cities for desirability of living, ranking the Springs higher than Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Pueblo, indicating that young professionals who live here seem to be enjoying their lifestyle.
What are the Pikes Peak region’s greatest strengths? According to the survey, participants touted the natural surroundings. For example, one millennial wrote that the region serves as “the gateway to all outdoor recreation.” The 18-33 year olds made up a quarter of survey respondents and they were quite vocal about how nature enriches life in Colorado Springs. Millennials, along with all age groups, rated accessibility to the outdoors as the number one feature of the region. Ironically, young people also ranked accessibility as the region’s greatest challenge, summarized by one respondent as ‘difficulty accessing Pikes Peak.’ Older survey respondents identified growth management and infrastructure as more critical.
What would help millennials become more involved in the outdoors? A more coordinated avenue of information surfaced as the top answer, or perhaps a centralized website or database with regularly updated information to serve both locals and visitors. Other ideas included an annual community festival focusing on leisure and recreation; using digital apps, such as Virtual Storytelling and Google Earth Backpack, to generate interest; and employing social media, like Snapchat and Instagram to engage millennials with a sense of ownership.
The need for sustainable funding sources is a concern that crosses generational lines, as does the importance of coordinating outdoor and leisure interests. As for what would bring more millennials to the region, the dialogue focused on creating a fun, sustainable youth culture, that encourages living downtown by adding amenities such as grocery stores and more diverse night life. Participants also suggested providing incentives for businesses that support a millennial workforce, and shifting the narrative from “no opportunities” to “many opportunities,” for young professionals.
This information about the millennial demographic in the Pikes Peak region and their engagement with the outdoors will advance plans to identify how Colorado’s natural assets can be leveraged to make this a region for young leaders to work, play, and stay. Continued CC student involvement can bring energy and innovative ideas to a region made special across generations and decades. If you are interested in opportunities to help our Pikes Peak “backyard,” contact the authors.
The Catalyst sat down with Joy Armstrong, curator at the Fine Arts Center, for a feature article in the latest issue.
Check out an interview with Scott Levy, producing artistic director at the Fine Arts Center. He talks with “Theater Colorado Springs” about the CC-FAC Alliance.
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.
By Devon Burnham ’16
Coming from a love for the red rock wilderness in southern Utah, Colorado College alumni Brooke Larsen ’14 and Stephen Trimble ’72 are pursuing a project they call “art as advocacy.” “Red Rock Stories,” a collection of works that includes a variety of stories, photographs, art, video, and audio concerning Utah’s public lands, is just one of the ways Larsen and Trimble hope to make a difference.
The project’s goal is to use “Red Rock Stories” to influence decision-makers to protect Bear Ears National Monument and other wilderness areas in southern Utah. “We believe in the power of story to move decision-makers and build empathy,” says Larsen. “By sharing the stories of three generations of writers, we hope to inspire the action needed to protect the red rock wilderness.”
The project came about in October 2015 following five southwestern Native nations’ proposal to establish a Bear Ears National Monument in southern Utah. Threats to the western wildlands have steadily increased over time, and as a result, a group of writers from Salt Lake City began to meet and discuss how they could advocate for the proposal. Taking inspiration from “Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness,” which convinced legislators to defeat an anti-wilderness bill in 1995, members of the Red Rocks Project hope to make a difference through similar means.
“Red Rock Testimony,” the first part of the project, is a chapbook that was sent to the Obama administration to promote the idea of protecting public lands. “Red Rock Stories’ is an 88-page book that conveys the spiritual, cultural, and scientific values of Utah’s canyon country and includes the work of 34 writers. The stories are written by a variety of authors, and all advocate for the protection of the proposed Bear Ears National Monument. The group plans to publish a second trade book in 2017.
“We hope to build and support a community of folks who love the red rock wilderness and want to speak on its behalf,” says Larsen.
Larsen, who worked with CC’s State of the Rockies Project, now works for the Torrey House Press in Salt Lake City. Trimble is an award-winning writer who co-compiled “Testimony,” and is an editor for “Red Rock Stories.”
Currently, the project is focusing on sharing “Red Rock Stories” digitally, and is inviting members of the CC community to contribute their stories. Anyone can submit their stories about the red rocks following a series of creative prompts that are currently on their website.
Others who are interested in helping the project financially can contribute through their Kickstarter campaign.