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Two Colorado College seniors have received Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellowships for their research projects, enabling them to pursue a year of independent exploration and study outside the United States.
Sophia Herscu, of Amherst, Mass., will study “Social Circus: Trust Building and Empowerment Though Circus Technique.” Her research will take her to Canada, Australia, and Brazil.
Hannah Sohl, of Ashland, Ore., will research “Against the Current: Exploring Migratory Fish Runs and Cultures,” will travel to Canada, Bolivia, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, and Laos for her research.
Herscu and Sohl, both sociology majors, are two of only 40 college seniors across the country to become Watson Fellows. They were selected from a field of 148 finalists, and each will receive $25,000 for 12 months of travel and exploration.
Herscu will examine how circus pedagogy can be used in a new movement called Social Circus, which uses circus technique as a way to build self-confidence and trust in group settings. She will study the ability of the performance techniques to empower women and youth.
Sohl notes that “riverine communities throughout the world depend on migratory fish runs not only for their economic and nutritional livelihoods, but also for cultural identity and a sense of place.” She plans to explore the traditional and contemporary relationships between humans and migratory fish runs, the threats facing rivers and fish, and the various conservation efforts emerging to protect them, and will document the project through a series of podcasts.
This year’s Watson Fellows come from 21 states and four foreign countries, and exhibit a broad diversity of academic specialty, socio-economic background, and life experience. They will traverse 71 countries, exploring topics from sword dancing to pro-gaming, gay marriage to voluntary poverty, migratory fish to nomadic societies, and fiber art to fly fishing.
Two Colorado College professors and a former employee were in Tokyo when the 8.9 earthquake struck March 11. Here is a round-up of messages and news they have sent:
Joan Ericson, Professor of Japanese Language and Literature
I appreciate all of the messages from many others who have asked about our welfare in Japan.
Jim and I are fine here in Kyoto. It seems strange to think that just last Saturday I was up in Sendai to give a talk (through Fulbright) at Tohoku University. I’m sooo glad that we were safe at home Friday afternoon when the terrible earthquake hit the northeastern area of Japan. We’ve been glued to the TV watching news – tsunami waves are unbelievably forceful – they have swept cars, houses, and large ships along in their wake. The three national TV stations canceled all of the usual programming from Friday afternoon to now (Sunday afternoon) to show news and real time footage of the disaster. For those who couldn’t stand the harsh reality any longer on Friday, there were several channels of soothing music and images (Grand Canyon and the like).
Unfortunately the news seems to get worse with the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant and aftershocks. It’s also a shock to hear the words “being exposed to radiation” (hibaku) being applied to those who’ve been affected by the released nuclear vapr – up until now this was part of the word “hibaku-sha” which was used for those who experienced the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
People in this general area told us that they felt the tremors on Friday afternoon, but we must have assumed that any tremor was just part of the process of a large building being demolished near us. We’re far enough away from the Tohoku (northeast) area which has felt the brunt of the earthquake and tsunami, but are ever mindful of the unpredictable nature of earthquakes.
Dan Johnson, Associate Economics Professor
Just got back to my hotel again, as it was evacuated again to check for structural damage as there were some superficial cracks in the walls when I first returned.
Here’s the story as it developed here: I’m at a conference here in downtown Tokyo, due to present some research in international trade. Midway through someone else’s presentation, the room started to rumble more than shake. It wasn’t heavy, but was noticeable as an earthquake. The speaker stopped to wait for it, and it kept on and on, growing stronger and stronger. As the light fixtures started to swing, we all climbed under our desks, hoping that the worst would pass quickly. But for several minutes that seemed like hours, it grew even stronger. The room really vibrated, and people grew genuinely terrified. I wasn’t scared yet, just amused, so I smiled and cracked jokes with my colleagues to keep the mood light. After all, what are the odds against a killer quake on my first day of my first trip to Japan, right?
During a lull in the shaking, we heard the public siren outside calling for building evacuations, along with instructions to reach high ground as a precaution against a tsunami coming ashore. That’s actually when I started to get scared. We filed out in orderly fashion, and were thankfully already on a hilltop, so could watch as dozens of others streamed out of nearby buildings to join us in the hilltop courtyard between buildings. The trees were swaying, the ornamental caps on one building were vibrating precipitously, sirens were blaring, and people were starting to panic. Everyone had cell phones out, trying to call loved ones or get news.
We remained outside for the better part of an hour, with the ground still regularly trembling with aftershocks. Slowly word trickled in about the enormity of the quake, where it was centered, how big the tsunami wave would (and wouldn’t) be, etc. Security teams were remarkably calm and professional in checking buildings for gas leaks and fires and structural damage.
We called off the remainder of the afternoon’s conference, and I went back to my hotel, where elevators were of course not working. So I climbed the 13 flights to my room, passing cracks in the wall that the bellhop asserted had definitely not been there that morning. Upstairs, my room was still frequently swaying and vibrating with aftershocks, so I changed into warmer clothes and went back downstairs and outside to wait it out.
Looking around at the skyline, it would have been a major humanitarian disaster had the quake been centered here. With millions of people in the city, skyscrapers on every block, streets clogged with cars and buses, construction cranes and industrial facilities in close proximity, it could have been horrific. As it is, by 11 p.m. this evening, most subway and train lines have been checked and are back on limited service, stores are still stocking food and water, restaurants are open to serve meals, and the city is a little subdued but not too much the worse for wear.
So to celebrate surviving the Tokyo Quake of ’11, the conference group went out this evening for a fugu dinner (the Japanese pufferfish that must be prepared by a licensed chef because if prepared incorrectly it is fatally poisonous). It was sublime. And so is Tokyo.
Bob Kerwin: Former CC director of communications
Most Japanese have expected a big quake their whole lives. We do regular drills in hard hats and carrying survival kits – these came out for sure last Friday. But Tokyo is built for quakes and there was little damage in the city.
While we had no idea if our ordeal was over, as the aftershocks lasted for hours, everyone’s attention switched to the horrific images on TV of the tsunami coming ashore. No drill could have prepared for that. Surviving the quake suddenly seemed inconsequential. Only family counted as everyone struggled for hours to contact their homes, many finally walking for hours in the absence of train service.
Things are tense in Tokyo as the nuclear crisis has now taken center stage, but one has to admire the calm, communal approach to the danger. I can only contrast this to the alarmist foreign press that appears to live on incomplete information, hyperbole and more than a few accusations. I have yet to hear one person complain or point a finger in Tokyo. Emphasis is on the well-being of families, with coming to work entirely voluntary for most companies.
If I had one wish out of this, other of course than for the reactors to cool down, it would be for the foreign press to find some objectivity and stop upsetting people needlessly. I get the impression that people in the US are more upset than here in Japan, where I can assure you we take the danger very seriously. It is amazing how a few well placed seeds in a paragraph of bland copy, like “desperate bid”, ”catastrophic” (ahead of the fact) and, my own favorite, “apocalyptic” can stir people’s fears. We may have the radiation, but at least we don’t have such a toxic press to deal with.
All of my colleagues and I are buoyed by the many messages of support from friends over the horizon.
Six named professorships were announced at the faculty meeting on Monday, March 14. The appointments range from two to three years, are not immediately renewable, and carry an annual stipend of $7,500 to be used for professional development purposes. The basis for selection was exemplary teaching and scholarship. The new appointments are:
Crown Family Endowed Professor for Innovation in the Arts:
Ofer Ben-Amots; music. This is the first year for this professorship.
The A.E. and Ethel Irene Carlton Professor of Social Sciences:
Eve Grace; political science. Juan Lindau held the Carlton Professorship from 2005-2007; Mario Montaño is the current holder.
The Christine S. Johnson Professorship in Music:
Victoria Levine; music. Richard Agee held the first Christine S. Johnson Professorship from 2009-2010 and is the current holder.
The John Lord Knight Chair for the Study of Free Enterprise:
Vibha Kapuria-Foreman; economics. Larry Stimpert held the John Lord Knight Chair from 2005-2007; Aju Fenn is the current holder.
The NEH Endowed Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities:
Joan Ericson, East Asian Languages. Barry Sarchett held the NEH Professorship from 2005-2007; Tom Lindblade is the current holder.
The Nancy Bryson Schlosser and C. William Schlosser Professorship in the Arts:
Kate Leonard; art. Gale Murray held the Schlosser Professorship from 2006-2008; Peggy Berg is the current holder.
English Professor John Simons has published a new book, “Peckinpah’s Tragic Westerns: A Critical Study,” examining the work of filmmaker Sam Peckinpah and placing it within the 2,000-year-old tradition of Western tragedy. The tradition, enfolding the Greeks, Shakespeare, and modern tragedians, is represented in Peckinpah’s art in numerous ways, and the fact that he worked in the mode throughout his career distinguishes him from most American film directors. Films covered include “Ride the High Country,” “Noon Wine,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” Comments on the book jacket by renowned writer, producer, and director Garner Simmons note that the book “provides fresh and, at times, profound insights into how and why Peckinpah’s work touches us in such a deep and visceral way.” The book is co-authored with Robert Merrill, a colleague of Simons’ while in graduate school at the University of Chicago.
Shipp joined the Boettcher Counseling Center in January, where she works in the same office she had in 1985, when she had just completed her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She currently is a part-time counselor at the center, as well as the founder of a leadership consulting business, PL Shipp & Associates. The tagline on her website, “Leadership and Service,” is indicative of the direction Shipp’s life has taken.
“You can’t separate the two. Part of my job is to serve,” she says.
Shipp has a legacy of leadership and service. After graduating from CC with a degree in political science, Shipp earned a master’s degree in counseling from George Washington University, then served as a counselor and administrator in Colorado Springs School District 11 for 15 years. “I found I wanted to spend more time with the kids, and I couldn’t do that. I was restricted by time and the calendar.” So she returned to school to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Denver. Upon completing her doctorate, she served as a counselor at CC, opened a private practice, and started working at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). “Juggling three jobs became too wild, so I left CC to concentrate on my practice and CCL,” she said.
Her private practice focused on adolescents and their families, while at the Center for Creative Leadership she led executive training and development courses and managed their nonprofit programs. The two positions were not as disparate as they might seem. “I’m a cognitive behaviorist; I believe thoughts drive behavior,” Shipp said. “In both cases, I worked at getting at the root cause of who you are, in order to help that person on their journey, to be the best they could be.”
Shipp ran her private practice for 15 years, in some cases seeing former District 11 students who came to her with their own children.
In 2007 she started PL Shipp & Associates, an executive coaching and leadership consulting business, based in Colorado Springs.
Working with students was a primary reason she was eager to return to CC, and in many ways, her life has come full circle. She was a student at CC in the ‘60s, dealing with questions of identity, relationships, and adjustment issues. Today, she counsels CC students with the same concerns. “It is rewarding to connect with them. I just want them to recognize who they are and maximize their potential. These students have so much to offer.
Colorado College held its staff recognition ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 15, in Bemis Great Hall. Following opening remarks by President Richard F. Celeste, the service awards were presented by members of senior staff. Among those recognized for their service were:
Susan Ashley (five years as staff)
Jeffrey Noblett (five years as staff)
* omitted last year
By Emil G. Dimantchev ’11
Colleges and universities across the U.S. are getting in shape, preparing for a fierce competition. But this contest is not over sport or debates. Educational institutions are locking horns over a different discipline: sorting trash. This year, 567 schools will show their commitment to lean waste streams during Recyclemania, a nationwide annual competition. Colorado College, where preparations for the tournament run high among college administrators and students, will proudly join the national effort. The competition, which takes place for the 11th time this year, started on Feb. 6 and runs until April 2.
In addition to giving schools a way to show each other who’s who in the world of waste minimization, Recyclemania also helps colleges assess their recycling programs against those of other schools. The competitors are ranked according to four different criteria: amount of recycled material per capita, amount of total recycled material, amount of total waste per capita, and recycling rate (the percentage of waste recycled). These rankings tell a comprehensive story about waste on a college campus, and they say a lot about us at Colorado College.
This year, CC is participating for the third time in Recyclemania. In the past, we have done well at recycling itself. During the 2009 competition, we recycled 46 percent of our total weekly waste, on average. As a result, we placed 22nd out of 206 schools. A year later, we ranked third in recycling rates at the 2010 competition. However, we have consistently ranked among the worst schools in the “total waste per capita” category. We throw away more stuff than most other schools do, even though we recycle a good portion of it. During the 2009 tournament, each CC student generated 91 pounds of total waste per week. In comparison, the average student in the nation threw away 53 pounds. This placed us 130th out of 148 schools in the category of waste minimization.
Director of Custodial Operations Tom Allen coordinates our participation in Recyclemania. Allen commented on CC’s past performance in the tournament, saying that people are usually more familiar with the idea of recycling rather than waste minimization. He said, however, that it is possible for a school do to very well at both. “We just need to drastically lower our total waste and still continue to recycle at a high percentage as we do now,” advised Allen.
To improve recycling and waste minimization, Colorado College has enacted several initiatives, including a single-stream recycling system and composting at Rastall and the CC Garden. Some of the latest initiatives of EnAct, the student environmental club, have focused on phasing out plastic bags and water bottles on campus. These efforts, however, are not always enough. “Beyond these efforts, a lot depends on individual and departmental choices,” said CC Sustainability Coordinator Emily Wright ’04. Wright suggested several ways students and members of the college community can minimize waste: using one’s purchasing power to avoid excessive packaging; buying in bulk; choosing reusable, reliable, necessary products with long lives over disposable items; and carrying reusable items such as coffee mugs, water bottles, grocery bags, and bulk containers.
At CC, Recyclemania is not only a time for comparing statistics, but also for many students to meet their trash face to face during EnAct’s “Trash Peak.” For the event, employees of CC’s facilities grounds team, custodial services, and students collaborate to heap one day’s worth of CC trash around the Worner Quad flagpole. EnAct co-chairs Mallory LeeWong and Katherine Peterson said the purpose of the event is to raise awareness regarding waste at CC and to emphasize that trash adds up quickly on a college campus. “Many people do not consider how much trash they generate, or how much an entire campus generates,” the co-chairs said. At the event, students truly get close with their trash, as they audit trash bags, gloves provided, to find out what it is exactly that we send to the landfill every day. Previous years’ audits showed that much of what goes into the trash bags is recyclable, compostable, or reusable. According to Wright, “in 2009 … 45 percent of the material in Trash Peak could have been diverted from the landfill. In 2010, it was down to 40 percent.” LeeWong and Peterson invite everybody to visit the Trash Peak, date to-be-announced, enjoy some music and grilling by the Carnivore Club, and join other students in the trash’s audit, (gloves provided).
In addition to Trash Peak, CC will kick off Recyclemania with “Bring Your Own Mug Day at Colorado Coffee,” which is a collaborative event by EnAct and Bon Apetit. On Wednesday, Feb. 9, Colorado Coffee will not be offering any hot or cold disposable cups, to encourage people to bring their own reusable ones. If you don’t have a mug, you will have the option to buy a reusable one with your gold card.
In the next weeks, we will have a chance to see how many recyclables we throw in the trash, and perhaps what it takes to always carry a reusable mug around. But we also are entering a nationwide recycling brawl. And this year, CC can do better to uphold its image as a leader in sustainability.
Former CC hockey star Lee Sweatt ’07 got the last laugh on his teammates in his debut NHL game.
Sweatt, 25, played his first game for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Jan 26. The Canucks told him he was going to lead the team on the ice for pregame warm-ups, so Sweatt skated out on the ice – alone. His new teammates remained in the tunnel, leaving him to skate the first few laps by himself in front of the home crowd. “We thought it was pretty funny,” teammate Alexandre Burrows said of the joke they played on the rookie.
Fast forward three periods, and Sweatt fires in the winning goal with 7:29 left in the game, beating the Nashville Predators 2-1.
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe I just did that,’ but it was a great pass and I pretty much just shot the puck,” Sweatt said.
“I was just happy to get on the ice and it was kind of just the icing on the cake with the cherry on top. I never would have thought I would score in my first game. It’s definitely a dream come true,” he said.
The Canucks remain five points ahead of Detroit in the Western Conference and tied with Philadelphia for the NHL lead with 71 points. Their next game is Tuesday, Feb. 1 in Dallas against the Stars, after the annual All-Star break.
CC faculty and staff attended a 40-minute town hall meeting on January 24 in Armstrong Hall to learn about the college’s proposed budget and get a brief update regarding the presidential search process.
Before the session got underway, President Dick Celeste asked several new members of the CC community to introduce themselves, including Chris Coulter, director of facilities, Shonda Graham, financial aid, Belinda Armstrong, admission office, and Pam Shipp, Boettcher Counseling Center.
Robert Moore then discussed the proposed 2011-12 budget, emphasizing that it was still a proposal and not a final budget. The budget committee will meet twice this Block to finalize recommendations to the president, who then will make the budget recommendation to the board of trustees when they meet during the last week of February. The budget is approved by the board of trustees.
He noted that CC is “in great shape financially relative to higher education,” but acknowledged that money “is still a little tight.” The endowment has been performing well; as of Dec. 31, 2010, the endowment was above $500 million and approaching the level it was three years ago. However, the payout from the endowment is based on its average value at the end of the previous 12 quarters, so the decline is still affecting the payout and will continue to do so for the next several years. Because of that, the payout CC is budgeting for the next fiscal year is about $3.1 million, or 12.5 percent, lower than the payout three years ago.
Mark Hatch reported that application numbers are strong (currently at 4,800), as is the quality of the applicant pool. The college is basing its budget on an estimated enrollment of 1,975 undergraduates. CC currently is serving more students than that, but does not want to construct a budget which requires a higher enrollment in order to be sustainable. One direct result of this will be an anticipated smaller entering freshmen class next year, Moore said.
The college also will hold down the comprehensive fee, reflecting a small increase in tuition, and no increase in room and board rates for the second year in a row. (The comprehensive fee is made up of the tuition rate, student fee, and room and board.)
Financial aid remains the top budget priority, reflecting what the budget committee heard from campus members last spring. “There are a lot of great investments we could make for the college, but we invested in student financial aid,” Moore said. The proposal increases financial aid for entering students from $6 million to $6.5 million. Overall the financial aid budget is growing 8 percent while there is a 5 percent decline in endowment support, Moore said.
He also noted that the college believes it can maintain health insurance at a 80/20 cost allocation – 80 percent paid by the employer and 20 percent by the employee. CC is maintaining a generous benefits level, Moore said, “which is not the majority experience of most of our fellow citizens.”
Additionally, there is a small pool of $200,000 that can be allocated to those who are most in need of an increase in operating expenses.
The second part of the town hall meeting, led by Ginger Morgan and John Simons, dealt with the presidential search. They noted the search was still in process, and thus much of the information was confidential. Morgan did say the search was “vigorous and on track, the “candidate pool is rich,” and that CC “is gratified by the quality of the applicants and nominees.”
John Gould asked how the search committee was prioritizing the characteristics most desired in the presidential candidates, and was directed to the last paragraph of the prospectus on the presidential search committee website, which reads:
Colorado College seeks a visionary leader who appreciates the distinctive rhythms, challenges, and opportunities that characterize the Block Plan and champions the college’s unique pedagogy and mission within higher education. The ideal candidate will possess a record of:
- Personal integrity, character, approachability, and a sense of humor
- Distinguished intellectual achievement
- Success as a senior administrator
- Commitment to the highest standards of learning, teaching, and scholarship
- Management that inspires confidence and demonstrates an ability to make difficult choices in an environment with multiple, competing demands
- Strategic thinking and institutional innovation
- Fundraising and financial management
- Inspiring trust and building relationships with integrity across the full range of community constituents
- Commitment to environmental sustainability
- Commitment to diversity in all its forms
- Exceptional communications skills.
Morgan also was asked when the new president will be announced. The answer? “When we know who it is, and they have accepted.”
The presidential search committee website is available at: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/welcome/presidentsoffice/search/prospectus/
John Papuga of the grounds crew won the Maintainer of the Year Award at the annual facilities services awards presentation and chili cook-off. The event was held from 3-5 p.m. on Dec. 22 in the facilities services department in the Van Briggle building.
The Maintainer of the Year Award, created in 1983, recognizes a member of facilities services who significantly demonstrates a commitment to practicing the Colorado College mission core values and who significantly contributes to the success of the facilities services department in the past year. In order to be considered, Papuga’s nomination had to list his specific actions, or accomplishments, over the past year, and describe the ways in which his actions or accomplishments met the award’s criteria, which include:
Demonstrating exceptional leadership skill
Outstanding customer relations
Successful problem solving
Achieving an outstanding accomplishment or successfully meeting a unique or unusual challenge beyond normal or routine work experiences or expectations
Ryan Smith of HVAC received the Adam Valdez Excellence in Facilities Services Award, which was inaugurated in 2001. The Adam Valdez Award recognizes a member of facilities services who consistently and over at least a five-year period demonstrates a commitment to practicing the college’s mission core values and significantly contributes to the success of the department. Criteria for the award include:
Unselfish support of others – being a team player
Self-directed and motivator of others
Positive and constructive in communications with colleagues
Innovative and resourceful — finding ways to get things done
Sets a good example – productive and quality work
Smith also won the Radio Personality of the Year Award, an award that is subtitled “Most Time on Two-Way Radio for Work Orders.”
Other award winners are Lee Doughty, lock shop, who received the Customer Service Award and Mike Starr, set ups and events shop, who received the Pitch-In Award. Set ups/events shop received the Spic and Span Award for having the cleanest shop, with Nick Solano accepting the award on its behalf.
The awards ceremony was held in the carpenter’s shop, with the chili cook-off entries set up in the kitchen, along with other food. Winner of the best red chili was Pete Ordway, lock shop, and best green chili winner was Jerry Switzer, of grounds.
“Our Grounds crew is nothing if not competitive. An ongoing argument between Jerry (Switzer) and Cecelia (Gonzales) about who makes the BEST green chili sparked an idea to sponsor a chili cook-off – just to prove who was the best. By mid-1996 they had come up with a plan.
The first week in December seemed an ideal time – cold enough to really enjoy the chili and a festive time to get together. They decided to save their aluminum cans (and dumpster dive for other metals to recycle) to pay for it. They would need to collect enough to pay for two $25.00 gift certificates (one certificate for the best Red Chili and one for the best Green Chili), the tortillas, beer and dessert. They then asked Chef Matt from Sodexho Marriott (now Bon Appetit) to judge the contest and he agreed. They immediately passed out flyers to facilities to advertise the first annual cook-off.”