Posts in: Upcoming Events

Discussing the “R” Word

How we speak about racism is central to CC’s academic mission and role as a residential liberal arts college. An upcoming workshop on campus promises to provoke thoughtful and challenging discussion that allows students, faculty, and staff to come together as a community and think about essential issues.

The local chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Beta of Colorado, along with the CC Crown Faculty Center and President Jill Tiefenthaler, invite you to take part in a Phi Beta Kappa Deliberation Workshop Friday, Feb. 24, 3-4:30 p.m. in Gaylord Hall, Worner Campus Center.

Jane Murphy, associate professor of history and director of the Crown Faculty Center, is a Phi Beta Kappa member, and says, “What liberal learning is or should be and how we enact liberal learning are always relevant questions for a campus with our aspirations. The selected reading for the workshop cuts to the heart of several ongoing initiatives and questions we are already discussing. This deliberation workshop allows us to further these discussions and become a more informed community.”

The workshop will be led by Brooke Vick ’97, associate professor of psychology at Whitman College. Vick has titled this deliberation, “The ‘R’ Word: Acknowledging Racism While Valuing Diversity.” Students, faculty, and staff are all invited to attend the workshop and contribute to these discussions.

Space is limited and refreshments will be provided during the event. Please RSVP.

To download the short reading that Vick has selected and for more information about the event, check the PBK Deliberations Canvas site.


Fostering Dialogue and Contemplation at Coming Together Conference

By Alana Aamodt ’18

 The eighth annual Coming Together Conference, a national interfaith conference for students from across the country, is happening on campus right now, Feb. 16-19. The CC Chaplain’s Office is hosting student representatives from more than two-dozen colleges joining 53 CC students on campus this weekend, gathering to engage in spiritual discussion and practice. An exploration of what it means to be a spiritual community in an academic setting, the conference has been hosted at places such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale Universities and the University of Puget Sound.

Colorado College Chaplain Kate Holbrook, the driving force behind the weekend’s activities, says she wants to “highlight what we do well,” referencing CC’s contribution as conference host. “The focus is the intersection between interfaith dialogue and contemplative and embodied spiritual practices,” she says.

In other words, this conference aims to expand beyond intellectual conversations and include actual engagement in various spiritual practices. In a world as fragmented as academia, Holbrook emphasizes the importance of “finding ways to connect our heads, our hearts, and our bodies,” in an effort to “integrate the whole person.” From “praying five times as day to walking barefoot in the grass,” she says this connection can be done through traditional and nontraditional practices, both of which will be featured and discussed at the conference. The result will be a weekend of diversity, intimacy, and rejuvenation.

The conference will be take place in three segments. The first focuses on interfaith engagement and contemplative education as spiritual practice, the second on rest, renewal, and the Sabbath, and the third on disruption, compassion, and social justice. To facilitate these themes, teachers and practitioners in Qigong, Five Rhythms Dance, Jewish mysticism, Sufi mysticism, and Christian monasticism will gather in various places around campus, marking the first time CC has hosted the annual Coming Together event.

The Big Idea is Coming

Big Idea 2016

The annual Big Idea pitch competition highlights innovation and entrepreneurship at CC, providing $50,000 in seed money for winning ideas. It’s coming up Wednesday, Feb. 22.

This year, 17 teams registered for the competition, representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ventures; that pool has now narrowed to seven. After presenting to a panel of community members this week, five teams will be selected to compete in the final round.

“The process of thinking through the idea, how to articulate it, and how to execute it is a really valuable process for students,” says Dez Menendez ’02, director of Innovation at CC. “And it’s great to see students interacting with the community and working together, and watching how they build strong, diverse teams to balance one another’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Patrick Bultema is overseeing the pitch competition for the fourth time this year, providing leadership and guidance as students refine their ideas from initial concepts to a thoughtful, comprehensive pitch presentation.

It’s the first year that female-led teams have made it into the final rounds, which Menendez says is also exciting for the Big Idea program. “Patrick has built a really successful program and I’m looking forward to carrying it forward,” she says.

The 2017 Big Idea judging panel includes Trustee Bob Selig ’61, Meriwether Hardie ’09, Trustee Kishen Mangat ’96, Susan Smith Kuczmarski ’73, and Richard Koo ’82. The fifth annual Big Idea competition is Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m. in Celeste Theatre.

Recyclemania Starts NOW

Recycle mania

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

With sustainability as one of the college’s strategic priorities, CC is always looking for ways to reduce environmental impact. Each year the college is involved in a competition with other universities to do just that.

The eight-week competition, called Recyclemania, incorporates more than 400 colleges and universities nationwide and keeps tabs on who recycles, composts, and throws away the most.

The program has existed since 2001 and began as a competition between Ohio University and Miami University to motivate students to recycle by way of competition. From Monday, Feb. 6 through Saturday, April 1, CC will participate by measuring the daily weight of waste, compost, and recycling and will post results in Worner Campus Center.

Zoe Holland ’17 works as the zero-waste intern in the Office of Sustainability and is spearheading CC’s participation in Recyclemania for 2017. Holland says she’s excited for Recyclemania because it’s “an awesome opportunity to get students aware of waste reduction initiatives on campus,” and although many CC students are “environmentally conscious, it doesn’t always manifest in our daily habits.”

She says she hopes the competition will be an incentive to remember small, daily tasks, such as using reusable mugs and sorting waste before throwing it out. Holland says the Office of Sustainability hopes to improve upon CC’s competition standings from last year, but also to promote sustainable habits beyond the completion of the competition.

Participating in the competition is easy for students, as they can “simply be conscious of what they throw away and where they do so.” Holland also emphasizes the importance of “paying attention to signage, reading packaging for recycling information, and trying to minimize use of disposable items like coffee cups, to-go ware and other single-use products.” Eco-RAs across campus are also a great source of information for waste management in on-campus housing, Holland says. Supported by the Sustainability Office, the Eco-RA program promotes peer-to-peer education to foster sustainable living practices and all residential areas, including large residence halls, apartments, smaller campus houses and off-campus areas are served by one or more student Eco-RA.

Throughout the competition, the Office of Sustainability will host recycling-themed events. On Thursday, Feb.23, the campus community can participate in a crafting night that will repurpose old books from Tutt Library into storage bins. As a finale to the competition, there will be an art show Thursday, March 30, with student pieces made of recyclable materials. Both events will take place in Perkins Lounge in Worner Campus Center. Anyone interested in getting involved in the show or other sustainability initiatives should contact Holland at

Cate Stetson Shares Post-Inauguration Insight


The U.S. Supreme Court is experiencing an unprecedented moment. With an anticipated vacancy on the bench on Inauguration Day, the stage is set for a historic change to the judicial landscape.

Cate Stetson, co-chair of the appellate practice and partner at Hogan Lovells, will address the current issues before the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential impact of the Trump Administration. Join Stetson for a post-inauguration discussion Wednesday, Jan. 25, 4 p.m. in Celeste TheatreThe event is free, but tickets are required and available at the Worner Desk.

While on campus, Stetson will also connect with political science students. “Having students interact with someone like Stetson brings the material alive,” says Dana Wolfe, assistant professor of political science. “It allows them to consider the real-world consequences of elections and Supreme Court appointments.”

Wolfe says it’s also a timely opportunity to connect course material to the current political climate. “I am excited to have Stetson to campus so that we can consider some of the most important consequences of the election,” she says. “Specifically, it will be wonderful to hear her perspective about the future of the Supreme Court.”

Stetson handles high-stakes and complex appeals in federal and state courts across the country. She has argued nearly 75 cases, including before the U.S. Supreme Court, in federal courts of appeals, and in multi-state appellate courts.

Catch Up, Get Ahead, or Explore with Summer Session

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Whether students are looking to study a language abroad or knock out a major requirement, Summer Session 2017 offers them the opportunity to catch up, get ahead, or explore a new topic.

While Summer Session provides an opportunity to enroll in some of the same academic courses offered during the regular school year, there are also courses that explore more unique topics, such as American bluegrass and videogame culture and design. Off-campus summer courses apply academic subjects to specific locations; this summer offers study of Portuguese in Brazil, arts and culture of Bali, and environment and culture in the Himalayas.

Jim Burke, CC’s new director of Summer Sesison, says he’s excited for his second summer on campus and he, “wants Summer Session to continue to serve our students with dynamic and rewarding academics that explore a new subject matter or fulfill degree requirements.” He is also excited at the opportunity Summer Session provides for faculty, as they are able to “work on new projects and courses, and delve into new topics they may not get a chance to teach during the regular acadmic year.” For Summer 2017, more than half of the courses fulfill a degree requirement and/or one of CC’s general academic requirements, something Burke says many students have requested.

One new course being offered partially on campus this summer is Advanced Topics: On the Road — American Bluegrass, taught by Keith Reed, music instructor and director of the CC bluegrass ensembles. The music course focuses on how live performance has affected the development of American bluegrass. Students will spend half of the block in Nashville, Tennessee, working with professional musicians, recording their own music, and attending music festivals. Reed says the idea for the course grew from a grant he received two years ago for a student ensemble. He says, “that experience inspired students so much that I wanted to open it up to all students looking to experience the music industry through the process of touring, performing, jamming, and speaking to professionals in the music industry.” According to Reed, the course will “create a lasting bond with others through music and traveling as a group.”

Off campus, professors Miro Kummel, associate professor in the Environmental Program, and Brot Coburn, visting professor, are teaching the course Himalayan Odyssey: Environment, Culture, and Change in Nepal. Students will spend a block and a half looking at how the environment of the upper Buri Gandaki Valley is intertwined with the traditions and culture. This course fits in with what Burke explained as the “diverse range of topics and departments represented” in the summer courses. Combining ecology, geology, and climatology with culture and history, the course offers an intriguing mix of topics in a location across the world from CC.

Registration for Summer Session 2017 is open now.  Also coming up after Winter Break, the “Summer in January” event is a partnership between the Offices of the Dean and Student Life to promote all opportunities available to students over the summer and offer coordinated guidance on how students can be intentional when planning their summers.

You’re invited Thursday, Jan. 26, noon-1:30 p.m. in Gaylord Hall to learn about Summer 2017 opportunities, funding resources, applications and deadlines, and/or experiences to consider. No RSVP is needed and lunch is provided. Resources involved include: Summer Session, Career Center, research offices (Public Interest Fellowship Program, Venture Grants), Collaborative for Community Engagement, Outdoor Education, The Quad, and State of the Rockies.

Professor Emeritus Gamer Finds Composition Inspiration in CC Logo

CC logo

By Alana Aamodt ’18

The open skies and towering mountains around Colorado Springs have long inspired artists — Katharine Lee Bates, while working at CC, found inspiration from them to create her famous poem, “America the Beautiful,” for example. The new CC logo, introduced in January, takes the same inspiration, incorporating these mountains and clear skies into its design.

From this logo, Carlton Gamer, professor emeritus of music, found his own inspiration for a new musical composition, which will be performed by the CC Concert Band on Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.

Gamer, a professor at CC from 1954-1994, taught a vast array of music courses as well as interdisciplinary courses ranging from Asian studies to history. He has composed more than 70 pieces that have been played all over the world. Still connected to the CC community, Gamer’s new piece “Mountains and Skies: A CC Fanfare” attempts to depict CC’s logo through music.

Gamer interpreted the two “C’s” on the logo as musical pitches. “It has two mountains,” he explains, “a big one and a little one, that can be conveyed in musical terms, the big ones by layers of low brass instruments, the little one by layers of low woodwind instruments. It has a clear background, the sky, which can be suggested by lighter layers of higher-pitched woodwind instruments.”

The buildup of a series of chords creates the “mountains,” trumpets cut across the piece, playing “C, C,” and the flares of the high woodwinds are reminiscent of the sharp diagonals of the logo. The effect is “chord-mountains” that rise and fall, eventually climaxing: “Finally, a big chord built on C arrives, and the mountains that form on this chord, the flares in the woodwinds, and a final flourish in the trumpets create the climax of the piece,” Gamer says.

Gamer took care in making his work both technically challenging and accessible for CC student musicians. He hopes that this balance, in combination with the piece’s deep connection to CC, will make it enjoyable to play and listen to, possibly becoming “a staple of the CC Concert Band repertoire.”

Come hear Gamer’s new work during the Colorado College Concert Band performance, “The American Experience,” directed by Jeremy Van Hoy and featuring rock, jazz, and music inspired by World War II Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:30-9 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.

IDEA Space Looks Inside the Criminal Justice System

Incarceration Nation exhibit at the IDEA Space in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center.

By Laurie Laker ’12

Colorado College’s IDEA Space, the InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts Space, is currently hosting an exhibition titled “Incarceration Nation.”

“It addresses a crucial topic in the American landscape,” says Briget Heidmous, assistant curator of the IDEA Space.

“The mass incarceration of human beings is an epidemic in this country,” explained Heidmous. “Currently, there are 2.3 million people being held in a system that is broken, serving up mandatory minimums, often for profit.”

The exhibition, consisting of a series of showings and events across campus, and – as Heidmous says, “offers a visual art experience that serves as a platform to generate conversation surrounding issues of mass imprisonment, reform, and the human experience.”

The opening reception and panel discussion took place in late October, and was well-attended by students, faculty, staff, and local community members. The panel featured exhibited artists Michelle Handleman and Jessie Krimes, visiting performer Yannis Simonides, activist Jean Casella, CC faculty members Jane Murphy and Carol Neel, and CC student and researcher Madeleine Engel ’18.

Casella, the director of the solitary confinement watchdog project Solitary Watch, opened the panel by saying that “art is always about our common humanity, so fighting any form of injustice with it is brilliant.” It was a sentiment shared by all on the panel, including formerly incarcerated artist Jesse Krimes.

“Work, particularly my art, served as a way to keep my sanity, but also as an act of resistance,” says Krimes. Krimes’ featured work, a massive patchwork of print-adorned prison bedsheets, “allows the facilitation of dialogue, and the artwork makes the dialogue easier to have because it’s a focal point,” he says.

Michelle Handelman’s work, first begun in 2009, uses the medium of video to investigate and express the prison experiences of queer inmates. Her piece, screening in a replica solitary confinement cell in the IDEA Space, is hard to watch – but that’s why it’s important.

“Solitary is only a punishment,” she says. “You lose track of yourself as a person after a while, it’s heartbreaking.”

“It’s often spun as protective custody for queer inmates, but it’s really an excuse for the system to stop treating them like any inmate at the facility. It marks them out as different, which is incredibly damaging emotionally and mentally.”

Converse to much of the discussion of contemporary criminal justice and imprisonment, the work that Greek performer Yannis Simonides does reawakens the punishments of the past. His international touring one-man production of Plato’s “The Apology,” presents a speech of legal self-defense against charges of impiety and corruption in 399 BC.

“What I always try to do, with every performance, is bring the audience into their ‘I’ mindset,” Simonides explains. “What that means is that I try to have them feel as if they’re on trial, as if they’re being forced to defend themselves in court. It’s discomforting, but it starts a dialogue and that’s what all good art should do.”

“In ancient Greece, prisons were not the places we know now. They weren’t barbaric. Socrates, for example, was held in a room with no doors or windows – fresh air could circulate, he had visitors at all times, and was free to move as he pleased. It was humane, incredibly.”

Continuing until December 17, the next events in the series are two events on First Monday, November 28, with a presentation and reception with photographer and activist Richard Ross, whose work deals with the placement and treatment of American youth in the penal system. On December 6, there’s a film screening and performance by Carolina Rubio MacWright, whose work explores the theft of freedom due to kidnapping, incarceration, or the denial of a safe and peaceful homeland.

Please contact the IDEA Space  for any further information on these, or other exhibits and events.

Meet Filmmakers at Exclusive RMWFF Student Symposium


By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute will screen two films and host lunch with the filmmakers at Colorado College as part of the institute’s annual film festival. RMWFI annually puts on the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival, which is the longest continuously running women’s film festival in North America. The goal of the festival is to promote films and filmmakers that portray the world from a female perspective, as well as support female filmmakers and encourage curiosity and diversity.

RMWFI has partnered with CC to bring two films to campus this Sunday for the student symposium exclusively for college students, and both will be followed by question and answer sessions with the filmmakers. The two films are “I, Destini” and “Newtown.” The screening of “I, Destini,” from directors Destini Riley and Nicholas Pilarski, is sponsored by CC’s Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies Program. The film is an animated, autobiographical documentary that focuses on the effects on young people of having a close family member or friend that is incarcerated. It covers the story of 13-year-old Destini Riley and her observations on race, class, media, and police in her town of Durham, North Carolina.

Claire Garcia, director of the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies program, says she’s excited to have REMS sponsor the film and that it will promote awareness of diverse perspectives and life experiences. As Garcia explains, “there are many ways to theorize lived experience,” including art and film. “I, Destini,” portrays a “young woman using film to theorize her place in the world,” which Garcia says is important to discourse related to race, ethnicity, and migration outside the classroom.

“Newtown” from director Kim Snyder traces the aftermath of the worst mass shooting ot schoolchildren in American history, the traumatized community, and its new sense of purpose.

The event starts at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in Packard Hall. There is no admission fee, but students must RSVP on the RMWFI website.

Seeing Through the Haze: Election 2016

Purple State, Purple Haze

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

On Saturday, Nov. 5, just days before the 2016 presidential election, the CC departments of music, theatre, and political science, as well as Innovation at CC, will put on “Purple State, Purple Haze.” The event is a live combination of music, drama, and news clips that highlight stories from throughout the 2016 presidential primary campaign trail from across the country.

The CC constituents are partnering with New York musical theatre composer Michael Friedman and have been working on the event since January. According to Andy Post ’16, paraprofessional for Innovation at CC, Friedman traveled the country during the presidential primary elections, interviewing people and creating songs using the exact transcript of their stories. The Department of Music selected four students to work with Friedman to collect additional interviews to feature in “Purple State, Purple Haze.” As part of the process of developing the performance, Post and Ben Pitta ’18 traveled to New Orleans to collect more interviews from people living and working in the Ninth Ward.

The goal of the event is to highlight themes found throughout the interviews. Post says the themes range from memories of 9/11 and how it changed the national discourse, to Trump supporters’ celebration of his businessman acumen contrasted with a disillusionment with corporate America, to discussions of race in New Orleans.  Post says the goal of the performance is “to be satirical, honest and provocative,” and to “delve into real people’s relationships with the political climate.” Instead of repeating the scandals and clichés of mainstream media, this event encourages people to ask: “how did we get here?” on issues like immigration, race relations, and other important current issues. Along with a live band, actors on stage will perform a script comprised of the interviews documented throughout the campaign season. It will tell an intriguing story of the country’s intricate political climate during the exhausting run up to election day.

With the performance only three days before the 2016 presidential election, its relevance is obvious. The show attempts to “imitate, satirize, and make sense of the wilderness of the media coverage and anxiety” that come with it, says Post. It is an attempt “to be jarring and raw” and make people laugh, as well as question their political beliefs and opinions. You’re invited to “Purple State, Purple Haze: A Political Performance,” Saturday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Kathryn Mohrman Theatre.