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CC Students Place First in Annual Japanese Speech Contest

Japanese Speaking Award

Miriam Brown ’21

Rujun Gillian Xu ’22 and Sherry Xu ’21 took the stage on Nov. 9 for the 33rd annual Colorado/Wyoming Japanese Speech Contest. They each walked away with first place in their respective divisions.

Joan Ericson, professor of Japanese, says when the two were presenting, the crowd was completely silent.

“It was pretty amazing to listen to these two students because the whole audience … everybody was just quiet and listening,” Ericson says. “Not a sound — because they were so impressed.”

This is the third year that Colorado College students have participated in the speech contest. The competition is held in Denver, with other participants hailing from the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Japanese Academy of the Rockies. Students’ speeches must be about three minutes long and written by the students, with only minimal editing help from professors. At the contest, they are then scored by a panel of judges for content, language, and presentation.

In Sherry Xu’s speech, she spoke about a haiku by Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa that she studied in a Buddhism class at CC, linking its message with a personal story of dealing with death and grief. In Rujun Gillian Xu’s speech, she connected a message about competitive stress in her high school to a motto from a popular Japanese TV show.

“I’m very proud of them,” Ericson says. “I was impressed by the fact that they chose topics that were both personal but everyone could relate to.”

Hiromi Onishi, lecturer in the German, Russian and East Asian Languages Department, says when she heard the speeches, she almost cried. Onishi and Ericson hope CC students’ engagement with the foreign languages departments inside and outside of the classroom continues to grow.

“Learning a language is not just learning a skill. It transforms who you are,” Onishi says. “It transforms what you think and how you think. My hope is that we will have more students who realize the benefits of learning a foreign language.”

C-SPAN Films Migrant Caravan Presentation at CC

Did you hope to attend independent journalist Alice Driver’s presentation on the migrant caravan earlier this month and were unable to make it?

You’re in luck: C-SPAN covered Driver’s talk, titled “On the Road with the Migrant Caravan,” which was held in Gaylord Hall on Feb. 5. The entire presentation can be viewed here.

The event, sponsored by Colorado College’s Journalism Institute, was held as the nation grappled with the effects of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, sparked over a funding dispute for a wall President Donald Trump wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Driver, who was introduced by Colorado College’s journalist in residence Corey Hutchins, showed photos and spoke about her on-the-ground reporting from inside the migrant caravan. She covers migration, human rights, and gender equality, and her coverage of the border has appeared in publications such National Geographic, TIME, Longreads, and REVEAL. Driver also is the author of “More of Less Dead: Femincide, Haunting, and the Ethics of Representation in Mexico.”

Professor Richman Shares Insight at Union College Conference

Prof Richman presenting

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Last week, Associate Professor of English Jared Richman returned to his alma mater, Union College, to be the closing speaker at their Blake@Union exhibition on English poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake. Richman has been studying Blake since his time at Union as an undergraduate, and continued the work throughout his master’s and doctorate programs.

He is also still engaged in studying William Blake, as he is currently researching and writing about a project on Blake’s visionary works. The talk, Richman explains, “explored Blake’s concept of America, which he used strategically over several decades as a political symbol in his poetry and printmaking.”

Richman specifically focused on “Blake’s conception of art in politically volatile times, the notion of republican art generally, and Blake’s enduring belief that art and poetry are vital components for a free and just society.” He continues, “I situated Blake’s work alongside British radicals and reformers such as Thomas Paine and Richard Price and artists such as James Barry and James Gillray.”

CC students who know Richman will recognize his Blake expertise, as he teaches a class called Blake and the Idea of the Book with Printer of the Press Aaron Cohick. The class studies Blake’s poetry, printmaking and painting, and spends time in the CC Print Shop.

CC Makes Sustainability Gains in STARS Report

Tutt Library

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

CC made a number of appearances in the recently published 2018 Sustainable Campus Index. Run by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainable Campus Index is a self-reporting system to highlight colleges’ and universities’ sustainability efforts.

They measure 17 different areas and rate them on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Ranking System. CC’s Director of Sustainability Ian Johnson highlights the significance of the report, saying “it is important to be in the know about what other schools are doing and to make sure that we remain leaders in our work.”

The newly renovated Tutt Library was highlighted in the “Buildings” section of the report, saying the library is a “major contributor to the college’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.” CC also tied for 10th place on the “Purchasing” list, which reviews the environmental and social responsibility of a school’s services and products.

The “Water” section evaluates conservation, recycling, and reuse of water, as well as effective use of rainwater; CC was number two on the list. Johnson sees these results as a big step for CC, as it “is a clear indication that not only is our approach working, but that in some cases it’s put us at the head of the pack.  That tells me that we’re doing something real and doing it right, not just embracing an image.”

Exploring the Watershed

Where Does Your Water Come From?

By Annabelle O’Neill ’19 and Rosa Mallorson ’20

“Where does your water come from?” asked Environmental Studies Program visiting faculty member Rory Cowie ’04 on the first day of class. Like the places we had yet to visit, our responses stretched far, from groundwater wells in Hawaii to water tanks above Philadelphia to snowmelt in the Rockies to pipes in New York City to “I don’t know where…”

Thus began EV 311, Water: Stream Ecology and Hydrology, a Block 8 course that took students to the San Juan Mountains where we studied water chemistry and the impacts of mining. The upper-level environmental science course, which allowed us to engage in meaningful field-based learning that included environmental science subject areas such as geology, chemistry, hydrology, ecology, climate, and human/ecosystem interactions through the analysis of rivers and water, included 14 students from several majors. This course is worth documenting because it embodies the boundless opportunity CC provides for its students to investigate the world’s workings. Cowie was a biology major at CC, so he knew how to balance lecture with field trips nearly every day. Here, we share some of what we learned in the class, while illustrating the beauty of students doing science in the San Juan Mountains.

Why We Care
CC teaches us to examine and tend to our sense of place, which includes the communities, lands, rivers, challenges, and cultures that exist in the Rockies. While many of our studies center in the Front Range, the San Juan Mountains are just six hours southwest of CC and provide much of the Front Range’s water resources.

Since Cowie is an EPA-contracted hydrologist who leads a water sampling project at Bonita Peak Mining District, the Superfund Site where the Gold King Mine, near Silverton, Colorado, spilled in 2015, our coursework focused on mining hydrology. The legacy of heavy metal mining, which boomed from 1870-1990, left nearly 23,000 abandoned mines in the San Juans.

When the surface area of rock containing trace minerals such as pyrite increases due to mine tunnel construction and contacts air and rising groundwater, pyrite’s ions oxidize and form acids in water. This water then flows out of mine tunnels and nearby springs into streams, which soon flow into major rivers that are comprised of watersheds shared by seven states, 12 Native American tribes, millions of people, and vital aquatic life.

The Challenge: Five Watersheds in Five Days
We embarked on a weeklong field trip in the San Juans, studying five watersheds in five days. The trip followed two weeks of theory and practice in hydrology, mine water chemistry, stream ecology, agriculture, development, and snow science. We examined four Legacy and EPA Superfund mines with mandated clean-up, one active mine, and two major active water treatment facilities.

The trip also provided us with diverse data sets that we compiled for our final projects. Our task was to collect stream flow measurements, water quality parameters, and habitat assessments coupled with USGS historic data and lessons from experts we met along the way. This data provided evidence to compare watershed health across the San Juans and extrapolate to the entire Southwestern water regime, which eventually converges with the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Trip Log:
Day 1: Uncompahgre Watershed
Discharge and water quality parameters collected in Ridgeway, Colorado
Underground mine tour of Ouray Silver Mines and biomass filtration system
Evening soak at Ouray Hot Springs

Day 2: San Miguel Watershed
Observations of diverse, underlying geology that influences ion-availability in the rivers at the Idarado Mine passive water treatment facility
Appreciation of beavers’ tenacity and ecosystem health value
Habitat assessment of Telluride Valley Floor with Scott Johnson of the Mountain Studies Institute and Laurel Sebastian ’16

Day 3: Animas Watershed
Tour of Gladstone Temporary Wastewater Treatment Plant and Bonita Peak Superfund Site above Silverton, Colorado. Active mine water treatment requires lime, a polymer, large conical holding chambers, and the storage of heavy metal “sludge” to purify acidic and metal-loaded water
Examination of outpouring of American Tunnel and flumes at lower elevations measuring discharge
Water quality and discharge sampling of heavily impacted streams (pH ~4) during a blizzard!

Day 4: San Juan Watershed
Forest ecology lesson in Durango, Colorado
Wolf Creek Ski Resort forest health assessment
Lots of driving
Evening soak at Pagosa Hot Springs

Day 5: Rio Grande Watershed
Mining conference in Creede, Colorado
Visit to Bachelor Mountain, the Nelson Tunnel, and multiple mine portals at a Legacy mine on the Amethyst Fault in the Bachelor Caldera
Examination of discharge and water quality parameters at Willow Creek, which includes untreated water from the Nelson Tunnel
Tour of Summitville Mine Superfund site including the active water treatment facility of the open-pit mine using a high-density sludge process, ultimately purifying the water of a large quantity of metals
Analysis of San Luis Valley agricultural impacts
Data analysis and creation of final watershed report cards


  • A historic, large rock drill is difficult and heavy to hold! Rock-drill competitions still occur in Creede, Colorado, to showcase miners’ talent.
  • Beavers can plug up and flood wetlands by building dams of sticks. However, they can be deceived with large wire nets over drains called “beaver deceivers.”
  • Fire suppression has had detrimental effects on forest health and allowed the pine beetle to infiltrate Colorado’s forests.

Our class expresses gratitude to Cowie, Technical Director Darren Ceckanowicz, and Paraprofessional Hanna Ewell ’17 for teaching us how to do science, have fun, and be a team.

Annabelle O’Neill ’19 and Rosa Mallorson ’20 are biochemistry majors at Colorado College.

CC Launches eSports Team

CC eSports

 By Alana Aamodt ’18

The newest team at CC doesn’t practice at the gym or the fields. Nope, they practice from the comfort of their dorm rooms and meet up in the library to go over strategy. It’s CC’s new eSports team, currently consisting of the eight-member Overwatch A-team, with a B-team and a League of Legends team currently in development. Brian Young, vice president for information technology, defines eSports as “competitive, skill-based, usually online gaming where teams play against each other using a specific set of rules set by the game they’re playing.”

eSports at CC is currently an organization supported by the college through the Division of Information Technology. More than 100 students have shown interest in participating in CC eSports following an initial ITS call out; that number could easily be higher, Young says, because many students play eSports that did not come to one of the open information sessions.

Overwatch is an objective-based six vs. six, team game, with each match lasting between 10 and 20 minutes. Set in the future, “every match is an intense multiplayer showdown pitting a diverse cast of heroes, mercenaries, scientists, adventurers, and oddities against each other in an epic, globe-spanning conflict,” according to the game’s Wikipedia page. The game is unique in that players can switch characters mid-game, keeping both teams’ strategies constantly and quickly evolving. One game, the objective may be for one team to move an object from one side of the map to the other, while the other team tries to stop them, while the next game could be a king-of-the-hill style match.

Or, as Chad Schonewill ’03, ITS Solutions Center team lead, summarizes, “it’s a bit like football if the players had guns and swords and force-fields and magic spells and some of them could fly.”

CC’s Information Technology Team has been the main group getting the CC eSports team up and going, with Schonewill leading the way, supported by great student staff members. The project began in December 2017 with the first scrimmages in January 2018.

The team competes against other collegiate teams in competitions and scrimmages, most recently defeating the University of Denver handily just last week. “eSports has skyrocketed in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. The last world championship for League of Legends had physical attendees and people who watched in numbers that rival the Super Bowl, and is projected to easily surpass that this year,” Schonewill says. “Some large universities are already offering it as a varsity sport, complete with scholarships. I personally think it’s important to include it at CC because a significant part of our student body is passionate about video games. Even if they don’t play at a competitive level, many students like to spectate.”

And viewing a competitive game has never been so easy — their matches are livestreamed on the popular video site Twitch. Schonewill continues, “Having an official program does a lot to legitimize that passion for said students and helps them feel much more engaged with the college than if they just played games on their own in the background.”

Mataan Peer ’21, a member of the Overwatch team, says he enjoys “the communication required in the game. If you want to win with a team, you need to talk to them and organize attacks or defenses with them.” According to Peer, these games are typically with randomly-selected strangers, but because of CC’s eSports team, the players can work out a more personalized strategy, developing a more “intuitive understanding of how each other play and we can work around it.”

Maggie McNeil ’21, another student on the Overwatch team, shares her perspective: “I play mostly support heroes, or healers. For me, Overwatch is great not because you can rack up eliminations on damage heroes, but because I’m able to look after my team and keep them alive in the game. Another reason why I play so much Overwatch is because it’s a good way to stay in touch with my siblings and friends back home in Connecticut; video games are more social than a lot of people might expect.”

For those who still question how a video game may be viewed as a sport, McNeil asserts that “Overwatch shares many of the qualities that sports do: working as a team, developing strategies and mechanical skills, and accomplishing an objective. It’s obviously very different from traditional sports, but if anyone watches the CC live stream of our matches, they would understand that it’s just as complicated with just as many rules as mainstream sports.”

As the eSports community grows at CC to encompass more games and more people, hopefully the greater student following will too — watch their matches. CC’s athletic conference, the SCAC, is exploring what eSports could mean for conference play. Some conferences have already started e-sports programs. CC’s eSports team plays matches with college and university teams around the country and will play in their first tournament at the end of February.

Geoffrey Hartley Documents Power of Art Therapy

By Leah Veldhuisen

Over the summer, CC student Geoffrey Hartley ’19 immersed himself in a program at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College in a way few students get to experience. Hartley filmed a documentary about the FAC’s Military Artistic Healing program, a program that currently has little student involvement. As a part of CC’s summer course the Colorado Documentary Project, a class conceived and taught by professors Dylan Nelson and Clay Haskell, Hartley learned about the documentary genre and how to film documentaries, and was able to make his own movie.

The course is a collaboration between CC’s Film and Media Studies program, Rocky Mountain PBS, and other Colorado organizations, and allowed students to do an externship with a local organization during the course. Hartley explains “after the week-long externship, everyone comes back to class and pitches an idea for a documentary inspired by our experiences.” Each student presented an idea to Rocky Mountain PBS, and then spent the rest of the class organizing, shooting, and editing a documentary. Hartley spent time at the Bemis School of Art and that’s where he learned about instructor Kim Nguyen’s art class for military veterans. “After hearing about the work that Nguyen was doing to provide a creative outlet for military veterans to express themselves and work through their PTSD, I knew that this was a story I wanted to share in my documentary,” Hartley says.

Because he saw art as a frequently overlooked therapy, Hartley says it was particularly important to portray it in film. He tried to highlight the positive impact painting has had on the lives of many Colorado Springs veterans, and the simplicity of art as therapy. Working on this project had a strong impact on Hartley. “I think the most important thing I learned from working with the Military Artistic Healing program,” he explains, “is how art works for each person differently. Everyone can find comfort, safety, or understanding through art, but it truly is an individualized experience and the meaning of art only exists through the individual.” While his documentary was about painting, Hartley also notes that “poetry, film, music, or countless other art forms can provide an outlet that might really help work through troubling issues.”

In addition to learning about this special program at the FAC, Hartley also gained a strong background in documentary filmmaking. All that he learned, Hartley feels, will be essential to pursuing a career in the film industry. View the full documentary, “Just Paint.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Gets Political with Don Coen, Force/Resistance

CS Fine Arts Center, Migrant Exhibit Get National Recognition

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has been named the Best Gallery and Museum in Colorado, and one of the top 25 in the country by board of the American Art Awards.

Additionally, Don Coen’s exhibit of migrant workers, now on display at the museum and recently included in a Colorado College story, was featured April 8 on NBC Nightly News in a segment called “An Artist Paints the Nation’s Forgotten Migrants, One Canvas at a Time.”

Colorado College and the FAC are in the process of an historic alliance. The agreement between the two institutions calls for a four-year transition period to allow for careful planning and integration. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will retain its current name until July 1 of this year, when it will become known as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

CSFAC Named One Of America’s 25 Best Galleries And Museums