Posts in: Profile

Using Words as Mirrors — Book and Letterpress Class Helps Explore Identity

Ben Blount

Laurie Laker ’12

“My work explores questions of race and identity, and the stories we tell ourselves about living in America,” explains Ben Blount, the Detroit native designer and letterpress printer, as well as visiting professor for his Block 6 class, Book and Book Structure.

Born and raised it the Motor City, Blount studied graphic design at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After college, he worked as a designer for several years before returning to school.

“I’d always had an interest in design, typography, and books as a form, and I took an evening class at Columbia College Chicago to learn how to use a printing press,” recalls Blount. Columbia College Chicago is a college that specializes in arts and media disciplines across all areas of creative expression, and it was only when Blount started those evening classes that he learned of full-time graduate program there, and that his path in life had to change slightly.

“I’d been on my way to design school, but that evening class made me switch gears. I refocused, worked towards and received an MFA in Book and Paper Arts,” he says.

“What really attracted me to it was the tactile nature of the craft, how interactive it could be. I loved manipulating type! It’s also really cool just how much everyday language comes from printing; mind your p’s and q’s, out of sorts, hot off the press, make an impression – all these phrases have their origins in print work, so it’s a really impactful medium of work,” he says.

Now based in Chicago, Blount has a “day job” as an Art Director for an advertising agency in the Windy City, and still finds time to devote to his socially conscious printing and letterpress work.

His design is all client-based work, and Blount strives to maintain an emotional, meaningful lens to all his work,

“The printing work, and my ad work, it all comes from something emotional. It’s all about finding and expressing something more meaningful, even if it’s someone else’s work that you’re putting your own spin on, as I do for my day job,” he says.

“People get into this for all sorts of reasons,” he says. “Some are interested in design and art, others like making things or problem solving. You can get into it through an interest in typography, as I did, or you can have an interest in printmaking, it really varies.”

His Block 6 class at CC was his first time ever teaching undergraduate students, and Blount arrived at CC not quite knowing what to expect.

“It was a really great experience, I loved it,” he says. “I had a wide variety of students, from a few senior art majors who already had they had been introduced to printing, but I wouldn’t say they could print to an English major who brought their writing and poetry into the letterpress work. Everyone brought something to the table, and they all came with a level of responsibility and competency that was really encouraging.”

The Press at Colorado College, now in its 41st year since being established in 1978, has two full-sized printing presses, a composing and drafting room, and a huge variety of type options, materials, and inspirational pieces for students to draw upon.

The time pressures of a class on the Block Plan are unique for every area of study, but with artistic expression and creativity, there’s a particular emphasis on being pushed for time.

“Nobody lagged,” jokes Blount. “All the students were pretty conscientious with their work, but also brave – they’d try more difficult things than necessary to finish their assignments! Letterpress work takes years to master, and they were trying difficult and creatively cool things with asmallwindow of hours, it was inspiring.”

Some figures and artists of inspiration to Blount include master printer Amos Kennedy, who taught a Dynamic Half-Block at the college this January called Slinging Ink.

“Amos Kennedy visited my class in graduate school, and my work took a real turn after I talked with him,” recalls Blount.

“I also took a huge amount of inspiration from Audrey Niffenegger while at Columbia College Chicago,” Blount says. Niffenegger co-founded the Center for the Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago, and works as both an academic and an artist across printing, as well as an author, best known for her 2009 novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Music plays an important role in Blount’s life and work, as well.

“I’m a huge hip-hop head,” he says. “Their wordplay, how they tell stories, the constant references to the past and retellings, that’s what I try to do visually, too. MC’s like Mos Def and Black Thought, they’re geniuses!”

Blount’s own work deals with identity, race, and culture, “I’m trying to have a conversation with the viewer,” he explains.

“I’m not using print work as a confrontation option, but a conversational one, trying to represent and explore topics visually that may be uncomfortable for some people verbally.”

Of particular interest and focus for Blount at the moment is the work of “exploring and solving problems around white supremacy,” he says. “The issue is, it’s really hard to move forward linguistically because we’re not all coming to this conversation with the same language basis, which is where the visual element of print can be useful, I hope.”

The focus of Blount’s work coincided with the release of the initial report from the college’s external review on racism and anti-racism, conducted by Dr. Roger Worthington and colleagues from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education at the University of Maryland.

“The Worthington report inspired a lot of the work I did while at CC,” Blount says. “Anti-racism seems a step beyond the normal diversity and inclusioninitiatives you see at a larger organization, which was encouraging. I tried to figure out what I could pull from the report, from being on campus around the students, and events of the day with speakers like Shaun King and others.”

Immersing himself in the life of the college was of paramount importance to Blount, and this included a presentation on art, race, and identity called “See Something Say Something in the Tutt Library Event Space in February.

“CC is an amazing place,” he recalls. “It was important to me that I got involved as a member of the community.”

“The press is very cool. It’s really great to see people of all majors from across the community come through the press, utilizing the space and people like Aaron Cohick as resources, not simply art majors. It’s a real community, and I loved being a part of it.”

Get to Know Allen Bertsche: Director of Global Education

Allen Bertsche

By Ritik Shrestha ’22

In January, Allen Bertsche joined CC as director of global education, a role that aims to expand on the college’s emphasis on cultural exchange. He says he’s excited to become a part of the campus and to help give CC students the chance to expand their horizons through international travel. Here is your chance to get to know Bertsche as he shares his experiences as well as his goals.

What is the main way your position will impact students at CC?As the new director of global education, I am involved in all international exchange on campus. This means that I work to bring international students to Colorado Springs as well as send our own students on study abroad trips. A big part of my job is putting together budgets and programs so that our students have places to go on their study abroad trips as well as the financial backing to make said trips possible. I will also play a role in selecting mentors and processing applications and visas for international student orientation, and the global scholar’s program.

What is your professional and educational background before CC?
I was born in Long Island, New York, but I decided to travel halfway across the country to Indiana University for my undergraduate schooling. I majored in Spanish with a focus on Latin American Studies, and I spent my entire senior year abroad in Spain. I then went to the University of Wisconsin to get a master’s degree in Spanish literature which I then followed by going back to Spain to work as an English teacher. Finally, I came back to the University of Wisconsin to finish my schooling by getting a Ph.D. in Spanish literature. After I finished my studies I joined Augustana College in 1996 to become a Spanish professor. I taught all sorts of courses but I wanted to have a bigger role in promoting cultural exchange. In 2006, I switched roles and started to work in the college’s Office of International Programs where I did a lot of the same things I will be responsible for at CC. The problem was that it was a one-person office and having to send 350 students abroad every year got very tiring. I figured that I had maxed out what I could do there and it was time for a new challenge, which ended up being CC.

Why do you think you are a good fit for the job?
Given my own experience as a former faculty member who led study abroad programs, I feel like I have a good amount of insight into what work is needed to get the job done. I have been through a lot of these situations and I know how to tackle them. My old job at Augustana College had many responsibilities dealing with budgets and visas so I am also very used to that aspect of my job and I know how to work efficiently. Finally, I feel like I am pretty creative and I work well with solving problems on the fly such as budget issues, program vacancies, and difficulties that occur while students are abroad.

What influenced you to get into this field and profession?
My grandparents spoke Spanish and my mother was bilingual so I always had a desire to discover this other part of me. I got my first chance of doing that in 10th grade when I went to Venezuela for a month on an exchange program. This along with my other travels to Spain got me very interested in languages but more specifically the learning that comes with cultural exchange. I originally wanted to be a Spanish teacher but I wanted a way to combine cultural immersion into my job and this position was a great fit.

What do you like about CC so far?
The students here are very entrepreneurial. There are a ton of great ideas that they want to make happen and that lets me be creative to try to turn these ideas into a reality. I also feel like the staff here is very friendly and there is a strong emphasis on collaboration and support which always makes working more fun. This is also apparent in the student body as I like how inclusion and acceptance are two values that are very important among the members of this campus. Finally, I love Rastall! Compared to what my college food was like, I can tell you that this is great.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
Being new to Colorado Springs I have really gotten into hiking. This place is great for outdoor activities and I plan to take full advantage of all the great spots around the city. I’ve already been to trails on the prairie as well as the foothills and I plan to do a lot more. I’m also a big football fan so I like to catch games on Sundays and I really like soccer although my team (Everton) isn’t having the best of seasons right now. I actually got to see them play live in England and let me tell you, the atmosphere is really something else!

What is one interesting fact that people might not know about you?
When I was in college I actually managed to build quite the FBI file although it was all by coincidence. A few friends and I were in DC when we decided to go to the Andrews Air Force Base where they house the president’s plane, Air Force One. We were able to get on the runway and we were poking around the new F16 fighter jets which probably wasn’t the best idea now that I think about it. Little did we know that while we were on the tarmac, the base was conducting an anti-terrorist drill. I guess they thought we were the simulation terrorists and next thing I know a bunch of army cars and armed officials are surrounding us asking for IDs. They actually even looked us up in their database and were telling us information about ourselves that they shouldn’t have known. It was pretty scary at the moment but now it’s definitely a good story to tell.

Get to Know: Anna Thompson, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator

Anna Thompson

By: Ritik Shrestha ’22

In January, Anna Thompson joined CC as the new sexual assault response coordinator, a role that supports the campus’s initiative to become a safer and more open place for students to discuss their experiences. Thompson says she’s excited to work with students to make a lasting impact on campus culture. Here, Thompson shares a little bit about her life and what she hopes to accomplish while working at CC.

What is the main way your position will impact students at CC?
As the sexual assault response coordinator, I’ll be someone on campus that students can seek out for help about their case. I want to make people comfortable coming to talk to me about what they have experienced and I can help them make the next steps whether that is through law enforcement or through on-campus resources. I know that all cases and people can be very different so I just want everyone to know that I am here to help with anything.

What is your professional and educational background before CC?
Before I came to CC, I attended New York University where I majored in Spanish and a minored in public health. After my undergraduate studies, I went to Ohio State University where I got my master’s degree in public health. While I was in Ohio, I developed an interest in public health by volunteering at a local rape crisis center. During my time there I was a volunteer advocate who helped victims figure out their options to move forward and eventually I was hired at the center full-time to work as a long-term advocate and continued that work full-time.

Why do you think you are a good fit for the job?
I think my biggest strength is that I am an adaptive person. During my time at the rape crisis center, I got a lot of experience working with many people with different backgrounds and viewpoints and I was able to learn how to bridge the divide caused by differences. I also think I am someone who is very encouraging and supportive in a way that brings out the strengths of others so that work can be done as effectively as possible.

What influenced you to get into this field and profession?
Public health is something that I’ve been interested in since high school and I explored it outside of my schooling. When I went to NYU and did my minor, that was a great hands-on educational experience with the subject and I wanted to pursue it even further during graduate school. I also think that my strong background with Spanish helps because I always wanted to be able to break down barriers of communication with others.

What do you like about CC so far?
When I visited I was amazed by the energy of the campus. I feel like students here are dedicated and genuinely want each other to succeed. These were values that I have as well and I knew for sure that I wanted to work here. I also love the small and close-knit campus community; this is a very personable place which I like. 

What do you like to do when you are not working?
Being new to Colorado Springs I’m still in the phase of discovering all the outdoor activities this place has to offer. I definitely want to visit the Garden of the Gods and the different hiking trails. I also really like to read and I’m a big soccer fan although my team, the Columbus Crew, aren’t doing too great right now. I’ve also been involved with the Democratic Socialists of America back in Ohio so I hope to get back into that especially since Bernie Sanders just announced that he’s running!

What is one interesting fact that people might not know about you?
Back in high school I did a study abroad where I traveled around Japan and did a homestay in Hefei, China. I was able to live the life of a high schooler in China and I can confirm it was really intense. The kids in my homestay family were constantly studying and it was a completely different environment from what we have here. Although the stress and workload wasn’t something that I loved, it was still a great experience and I’m glad I did it.

Opportunity Knocks for Annabelle O’Neill ’19 and Life Is Good

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Annabelle O’Neill ’19 has loved the Life is Good brand and message since she was quite young, which is why she was particularly excited when she got to visit their headquarters in Hudson, New Hampshire, in early October.

O’Neill’s love for Life is Good is demonstrated by the 17 t-shirts she owns, the first of which she received when she was a young child, before she could choose her own clothes. This started her lifelong passion for the clothes, as well as the brand’s message of always having a positive mindset. O’Neill’s appreciation for Life is Good was obvious when she happened to run into the company’s president and first employee at the airport in Denver while she was wearing one of their t-shirts. After chatting, the two women offered O’Neill their business cards and invited her to the Life is Good warehouse in New Hampshire, which is where she went in early October. The trip was specifically planned so O’Neill could attend LIG’s biannual all-company meeting called “Jake Jam” to learn about the company and share her own story.

O’Neill says the trip was a dream come true, and adds “it shows how being open can lead to unexpected opportunities!” She particularly enjoyed seeing the workplace culture of LIG, where everyone knows each other and has fun throughout the day, high-fiving and throwing frisbees.

The best part of the trip, O’Neill says, was talking to one of the first employees, Keith. “During the Q and A, John asked me about a special college memory, and I shared about an event at Synergy called the Grateful Feast when about 50 students sang ‘Lean on Me’ together. Keith took me to a huge mural in the warehouse that says ‘lean on me’ with Jake (one of their characters) leaning on Rocket (the company dog character). Keith and I tossed a ball around, and shared an honest, fun conversation.”

Although retail is not directly related to O’Neill’s geology studies at CC, she is currently a brand ambassador and plans to work at LIG after graduation. O’Neill says she is excited to learn about business “while giving back to a company that has supported me throughout life.” No matter where her post-graduation path takes her, O’Neill will always continue to wear LIG t-shirts and spread their message of positivity and optimism

First Person: Gathering Plant Data and Research Experience on my Venture Grant to Bolivia

Bolivia

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Although many students choose to pursue Keller Venture Grants that are not directly related to their majors, my Venture Grant in Bolivia provided the first set of data for my senior thesis with the Department of Organismal Biology and Ecology.

The idea first came from Assistant Professor Rachel Jabaily when she heard I would be travelling in Bolivia before my semester abroad program in Chile. There is a species of plant in Bolivia that is endangered, but not well studied, she explained. The species, Puya raimondii, lives at high elevations (11,000 to 14,000 feet) in the Andes Mountains of Peru and Bolivia. She suggested that I could gain unique and valuable field research experience by collecting basic data from these plants.

After a little background research and a few emails to Jabaily’s Bolivian colleagues, I decided I would spend a few days of my independent travel time collecting size and reproductive category data on P. raimondii. One day of data collection would be with my dad, who was travelling with me for two weeks, and the other four days I would be accompanied by Bolivian botanist Carolina García Linowho studied P. raimondiifor her undergraduate thesis.

My dad and I travelled around southern Peru and Bolivia for almost two weeks before starting on the data collection, which ended up providing valuable acclimatization time. Hiking off-trail across rocky hills at 13,000 feet was not easy, even after those two weeks. The first data day took place a few hours outside of La Paz, where we easily found the P. raimondiiwith the help of Bolivian graduate students. Fueled by llama chicharrones (fried llama meat) and cookies, I was able to collect data from 40 individual plants.

A week after the first data day, my dad returned home, and I travelled to Cochabamba to convene with García Linoand her husband and new baby. We met in a hotel to plan our data collection and decided to rent a car and stay overnight in the little towns in the area known to have P. raimondii. Although I had a list of GPS coordinates of Puya locations, we spent the first day driving, searching for plants, and not finding any. The area was very rural with patchy cell phone coverage, and locals were suspicious of outsiders. After a day and a half of driving and not seeing a single Puya, we finally found ourselves in the Municipalidad de Vacas, where Bolivia’s largest Puya population lives. Data collection went smoothly from there, despite the rainy weather. After a day and a half of measuring Puya, I had enough data to head back to Cochabamba. Working in Bolivia was quite successful, but there is always room for improvement with methods, and a potential to have more data. In October, I will travel to Colombia, this time with Jabaily, to collect the same types of data in different species of Puya, with the goal of comparing reproductive data for the different species.

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.

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.

Get to Know: Jordan Travis Radke, Director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement

Jordan Radke

Jordan Travis Radke took on the role of director of CC’s Collaborative for Community Engagement in March, and jumped right in to the work of deepening, supporting, expanding, and assessing community-based learning and community-based research and its integration into the scholarship of the college. It is what she calls, “a fantastic job.” Here’s your opportunity to get to know Radke as she shares insights on her role and the impact of a community-engaged campus:

How do you think your position will impact CC?
I hope that my work, and the work of our entire office, has a large impact on CC. I am passionate about the integration of community-based work into teaching, learning, and scholarship. For students, I believe community-based learning experiences foster empathy and awaken in students a hope and an obligation to build a more just, humane world. For both faculty and students, I believe community-based research offers the chance to generate knowledge and insights of public relevance, applying knowledge to improving the quality of life of the community.

Where did you work before CC and what where you doing?
Before I came to CC, I was a Ph. D. candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (she finished up her Ph. D. in the fall, congrats!).  As a late-stage Ph. D. student, the majority of my time was devoted to undergraduate teaching. I also spent much of my time seeking to gain experience in community-based learning, teaching, and co-curricular programs, and became heavily involved in a year-long, service-learning sequence oriented around race, class, and gender, in which students mentored at-risk middle school students. My training and experience in qualitative research throughout my dissertation was transformative for me, and I hope to draw on these skills and this interest, as well as to continue to explore my interest in the trend to individualize collective action.

What do you bring to this job?
I am a deeply committed person with strong convictions, and my hope is that this passion and energy will enable me to build a vibrant, active culture of community-based learning. I would like to bring stability and longevity to this position, and build something long-lasting and transformative. Lastly, I am by nature collaborative and hope to build bridges and relationships to transform the CCE into an office connected to the campus and our community.

What are some personal or professional experiences you’ve had either at CC or outside of it that play into your current role?
My Ph. D. certainly plays into my current role and gave me a range of skills and knowledge from which I draw. Additionally, before I went back to graduate school, I worked as a UNITE HERE union organizer for a short time, worked the front desk at a Ronald McDonald House, and was a volunteer grant writer at an organization that supported African immigrants. These experiences gave me interesting insights into the world of community organizing as well as the nonprofit sector, and I take those experiences with me in all that I do. In particular, these experiences revealed to me how difficult yet inspiring it can be to try to work toward social changes.

Who/what was the biggest influence on you?
Two things come to mind for me. First, I studied abroad in Madagascar my junior year of college, and it was a life-changing experience. Living there gave me a glimpse into a totally different culture and pace of life, and made me deeply question the American ethic of ever-increasing consumption and unwavering focus on achievement.

The other experience that deeply shaped me was the recession. My husband, a wide and bright-eyed first-year teacher, lost his publically funded high school teaching job along with all other new teachers in his district. It took him 15 months to get a career going again, and that was to return to graduate school for a different degree. While difficult, this time left me feeling ever grateful and privileged in our current, secure lives, and to empathize more deeply with those who struggle for stability.

What have you noticed about CC?
This campus is a true community, in which relationships are built between and among students, faculty, and staff. I love that I am on a campus where, when I walk to grab lunch or run to the library, I am likely to run into another person who knows me by name. After several years at a very large public university, that feels like a distinct privilege. I am also amazed at the extent to which CC is committed to students as entire people — providing programs and support to develop not only students’ intellectual interests and foundations, but every other aspect of their humanity.

Tell us a little about your background
I grew up in a family of eight with five siblings. I also come from a very long line of Presbyterian ministers. I credit my childhood and parents with instilling in me deep empathy and a desire to live a life that is other-oriented.

What do you like to do when not working?
In most of my free time, you’ll find me running after my firecracker of a three-year-old, Avery, and trying to make my 1-year-old Brynn giggle.  When I do get to enjoy some time to myself (I am told this will happen in 18 years), I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy, and watching TV shows like “Game of Thrones” with my husband. I also love nature photography, and enjoy being outdoors, playing in the water, listening to music, writing, and have been playing with meditation as well.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I am an identical twin! My twin, Jesse, lives outside of San Antonio with her husband and three adorable children. For 18 years of life, my identity was totally intertwined with another person — and we still understand one another in a way that I think non-twins could never understand.  I am grateful to have been born with a built-in best friend.

 

Felicia Chavez Finds Writing and Teaching “Transformative” as CC Riley Scholar

Felicia Chavez

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Felicia Chavez, a Riley-Scholar-in-Residence at CC, is having a busy year. Throughout 2016, Chavez, visiting assistant professor of English and film and media studies, published five works in four months, and has two more pieces to be published in Fall 2017.

Chavez is part of CC’s Riley Scholars program, which started in 1988 with the goal of diversifying CC’s faculty. The program sponsors a selection of Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral students each year to work and teach on campus. The program has produced many current tenure-track professors, including Mario Montano, associate professor of anthropology, and Claire Garcia, professor of English. Chavez is a post-doctoral student and has been teaching courses in the Departments of English and Film and Media Studies throughout this academic year. Before teaching, Chavez worked as a thesis writing specialist in CC’s Colket Center for Academic Excellence. She has also worked as Program Director to Young Chicago Authors and founded the literary webzine GirlSpeak.

Chavez’s recent publications address varying topics, such as life and death, violence against women, medically induced seizures, and the military. Chavez says she, “considers art a vehicle for community mobilization,” which is what led her to include themes of “power, agency, and activism” in her work. Chavez says her time at CC has been transformative. She explains, “teaching at Colorado College has inspired me to couple rigorous writing production with a holistic concern for the whole student.”

Chavez also says “writing is psychological, emotional, and physical,” and always makes a point to “incorporate well-being exercises into CC coursework to balance the effects of creative or thesis production.” These exercises include walks before writing responses to assigned readings, pleasure reading as homework, and time to write freely about the difficulties of writing.

The Riley Scholars program has allowed Chavez time to sharpen her teaching skills and advance her experience as a professorial candidate. Chavez says she is grateful for this opportunity, as teaching is her ultimate goal, and she is hoping to find somewhere to teach permanently. Listen to Chavez’s recent audio documentaries in “The Pinch Literary Journal” and “Noise Medium.” Her graphic essay “Warning U. S. Military” is also available. In the fall of 2017, she will have two more works published in Black Warrior Review and Pilgrimage Magazine.

Meet Ben Kieklak, 2017-18 Student Trustee

Ben Kieklak

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Each year, the CC Student Government Association sponsors the election of a new student trustee and this year, the student body elected Ben Kieklak ’18 to serve as student trustee for the 2017-18 academic year.

To officially run as a student trustee candidate, student must complete a comprehensive process even before his or her name is put on the ballot: Kieklak had to submit 50 signatures of support, complete a CCSGA application, and be interviewed. As the student trustee, Kieklak will be a member of the CC Board of Trustees. Since many of the trustees do not live near campus, Kieklak’s main role will be to bridge the gap between trustees and students by keeping trustees informed on student interests and goals. Kieklak says he will also “communicate and explain the decisions of the board, reporting back to the student body.”

Kieklak says many things inspired him to run for the position of student trustee, the first of which was his glowing experience at CC as a first-year student. He says that CC has given him so many opportunities, and this is an opportunity to give back to the school.

When he was a sophomore, Kieklak learned that not all students have had the same positive experience at CC. As a resident advisor for the Enclave, a Living Learning Community with many students of color, he discovered many of his residents felt left out of aspects of the CC community. Kieklak says his experience working with these students as an RA helped formulate his goals as student trustee, one of which is “not merely to help individual students, but also to help affect long-lasting, institutional changes that will have a positive impact on the college many years down the road.” These changes, Kieklak says, will enable the college to grow and thrive as a whole. To achieve his goals, Keiklak plans to “specifically focus on the areas of financial aid, diverse hiring and admission, and the granting of tenure for professors.”

In June, current student trustee Mayss Al Amani ’17 will pass the baton to Kieklak at one of the biannual Board of Trustees meetings. He will start his position in the fall.