Global Scholars Talk Innovation, India, and Hope for the Future

From innovation policy, to green technology, to social sustainability, scholars from across the globe have convened at CC as Dan Johnson, associate professor of economics and business, hosts “Innovation and Sustainability: Lessons from the History of India and Hopes for the Future” on campus this week. Sessions are June 9 and 10 and many are open to the public and the CC community: view the full program.

IndiaLICS ProgramThis multidisciplinary celebration of international scholarship about India brought scholars from India and around the world to CC to join in a conversation to further the regional initiative, IndiaLICS (Learning, Innovation, and Competence-building System), which aims to connect scholars who use the concepts of learning, innovation, and competence-building systems as their analytical framework.

The conference is already building community, both on the international and the local levels. Jay Patel has lived in Colorado Springs for 38 years and is a leader in the Indian community here, which he says has grown over the years. After hearing about Johnson’s proposal for hosting IndiaLICS at CC, and opportunities for the exchange of ideas, best practices, and innovations it would offer, Patel and the Colorado Springs Indian community jumped in to help fund it. The Colorado Springs South Asian Community puts on an annual Diwali event, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of India with festivities similar to Christmas in the U.S., to raise money each year for a local charity or nonprofit. This year, the event’s net proceeds helped fund the IndiaLICS academic conference.

Patel says he’s excited about the energy and ideas the conference brings to CC and Colorado Springs. “The world is not a small place anymore and ideas move quickly,” says Patel. “Who knows what ideas and innovations will be sparked here? This could really be putting [CC and Colorado Springs] at the forefront.”

Lakhwinder Singh, professor of economics at Punjabi University in India, is participating in the conference. He says his core teaching and research interest lies in the areas of innovations and development, and the theme of this conference coincides with his personal research work as well as the research work in progress at the Centre for Development Economics and Innovation Studies, of which he is a founding coordinator.

Singh says that with economists and other social scientists participating and presenting their work, the conference provides an opportunity for interaction with experts in the areas of innovation and development. “Hearing from them will allow me to better understand where public policy interventions in India are required,” he says. “The idea of collaborative research is to build capacity and identify gaps so that in the future, suitable public policy can be designed to meet the challenges that act as stumbling blocks in achieving India’s long-term sustainable economic development.”

One of the challenges Singh hopes to address is in India’s private industrial sector. “India’s national innovation system has some very big achievements, such as space technologies and pharmaceuticals,” Singh says, “but manufacturing and agriculture innovations lag behind, which is a big contributor to the poverty that persists in India.”

Singh adds that conferences, like IndiaLICS, help to begin collaborative efforts that can make a big impact. “There is an ample scope for collaboration across manufacturing and agriculture sectors where India direly needs new innovations, including various science and technology institutions and also with manufacturing firms and national governing organizations.” Representatives from those various sectors are convening on campus now and most sessions are free and open to the CC community and general public.

Patel says he’s hopeful many members of the local Indian community are in attendance; he plans to be. “I’d like to meet some of the intelligent people coming out and get a sense of what’s going on in India,” says Patel. “Much of that information-sharing could potentially affect Indians living here in Colorado Springs, many of whom have families and homes in India. By sharing ideas, putting something on the table, getting new thoughts, that really triggers innovation in its best form. So this will be terrific.”

Hayley Bates ’18 Rides into Cycling Spotlight

Hayley Bates' 18 competes on CC Cycling Team

While many CC students wrapped up final papers and projects at the end of Block 8, Hayley Bates ’18 was not only managing her academic course load, but she was also preparing—physically and mentally—for her steepest competition of the season: representing the CC Cycling team at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.

Bates says she was pleased with her 14th-place finish in the national field May 13-15 in North Carolina. She finished second just a few weeks before in the regional championship, and says despite illness and some crashes in front of her on the race course, she’s happy with the experience.

“It was a bigger field with a lot of really experienced racers,” says Bates of the national competition. “I’m only 19, so one of the younger ones. I’ve still got plenty of time and plenty of chances. There’s a lot of learning in racing, especially when you get to a higher level; it’s more strategy.”

Bates is a double major in international political economy and romance languages, with aspirations to go on to law school to study international law. She’s from Long Beach, California, and has family in Colorado. She grew up visiting the state, skiing and mountain biking in the high country. Both her parents are accomplished cyclists, too. Bates says she was exposed to the sport at a young age, and they’ll have the chance to ride together this summer.

But even with summer’s arrival, Bates gets little in the way of an off-season. For the first time, she has a coach and they’re now working to target races for the coming year. She’ll compete in some non-collegiate races during the summer, working on moving up from “Category 1” to the “Pro” classification. “I love it enough to do what it takes if I have what it takes,” she says of what motivates her to keep training and racing year round. “But, I’m ready to go home to California and ride with my friends there and my parents.”

Bates will be back in Colorado in August, racing the Leadville 100-mile mountain bike race, her second time taking on the grueling, highly competitive course. “This year I’m focused on what time I can get,” she says. “As for an ultimate goal, for cycling, I’m working my way through the rankings, focusing on improving, and racing collegiately. Right now, I’m just trying to see where my momentum takes me.”

It’s not just momentum, but dedication and talent that are carrying Bates in such a challenging and competitive sport. Like many student-athletes, she has to stay on top of her coursework while traveling and competing, and communicates often with professors about expectations and scheduling.

“When I came into school this year, I spent the first weekend on campus, and didn’t spend another weekend on campus until Halloween weekend,” Bates says of the challenging schedule. “It’s a lot of communication with teachers; in between races our team members are studying as opposed to hanging out. During the week, I’m up super early in the morning to fit in training, racing, school, and work.”

But unlike many other student-athletes, Bates is also coordinating the logistical details of her team’s competitions. CC’s cycling team is small: six racers in each discipline (mountain and road) competing regularly. Bates, currently one of the youngest on the team, is the manager. “I’m the driver, the hotel-booker, I get them there, get a place to stay, manage all of that,” she says. “We needed someone who wanted to race and who wanted to organize, so I just decided to make it happen.”

Not only did Bates make it happen, she stormed onto the scene her sophomore year, racing at the front of the pack in nearly every competition. She placed in the top ten at the mountain biking nationals, and took second in the road conference championships. The cycling team travels all over the state for six weeks each season: March-May is road cycling, September-October is mountain biking. Bates says she’ll also incorporate the cyclo-cross season into her racing plan, which she’ll pick up from about November-January. Bates says fortunately, her house on campus has a basement.

“In January and February, I hook up the bike to the indoor trainer, and train in the basement at 6 a.m. So far, no one has complained about any noise that early. I do a lot of training in the mornings; if class and work allow, I’ll ride outside. But, it’s a lot of (indoor) trainer time, you’re that much stronger when you get outside, getting yourself to where you need to be.”

Bates will be back for mountain biking season in the fall, so keep an eye out for opportunities to cheer on her, and the rest of CC’s cycling team when the 2016-17 academic year begins.

 

 

CC Women’s Rugby Second in the Nation

CC Women's RugbyBy Montana Bass ’18

After their first season in the National Small College Rugby Organization Women’s 7s League, CC’s women’s rugby team took home second place in the national championship held in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 30-May 1.

This season marked the first time that CC women’s rugby has qualified for a national tournament. In past years, the team played in the 15s league, with 15 players on the field at one time instead of seven, and had made it to the playoffs. After switching to the 7s format, throwing themselves into their sport, and fostering a tight-knit team dynamic, the players have seen amazing success.

Both coach Michael Windle and the student-athletes say the close relationships they share have been important contributors to their achievements. “Our team is really like a family; they’re super close,” Windle says. “I had to pick 12 players to go to the championships. Every single girl was supportive of her teammates. They were happy for each other to go just as much as they would have been themselves.” Rachel Fitch ’19 agrees wholeheartedly, “The team itself is a fabulous bunch of human beings and we all have great chemistry.”

Still, these women didn’t make it to the national championship solely on heart; they’re an extremely talented group of athletes. “We’ve got a whole lot of athleticism,” says Windle. “We’re incredibly fast.” Fitch was a nationally ranked all-star rugby player in high school. Windle also mentions Naya Herman ’16 and Emilia Delgado ’17 as integral team members. “Naya is and always has been the heart of the team,” he says. “Emilia has taken to the sport like no one I’ve ever seen. She’s a hard runner and has a nose for the goal. She goes for it right away and is our lead scorer.”

Beyond talent and love for one another, this team has one other thing in common: a fierce love for the sport of rugby. Fitch claims rugby will always have a place in her heart and referred to it as, “an artistic form of violence.” Herman concurs, crediting the sport’s ferocity for fostering such close relationships between teammates. “Rugby is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports out there, and it requires a special type of courage and strength that women, and anybody really, are rarely encouraged to have. It demands that you show up for your teammates fully.”

In the post-season, the team won five matches out of six over two days and Nora Holmes ’18 was selected to the elite All-Tournament team

Following such a fantastic season, the women can end the year with a deep sense of fulfillment and excitement for the future. “I’m incredibly proud of these girls,” says Windle. Herman, a graduating senior adds, “I can’t wait to see where the future leaders of CC rugby take the team next.” Be sure to keep an eye out for them in the future!

Let’s Talk About “Relations”

Students perform "Relations"

Students perform in the 2013 rendition of “Relations.” The 2016 performance opens Thursday, April 28.

By Montana Bass ’18

It’s that time of year, when the campus community fills Taylor Theatre for one of CC’s most popular performance events: “Relations,” a show that brings the sex lives of students to the stage.

Through online surveys, word of mouth, and written submissions, the show’s directors create a script that facilitates a conversation surrounding the intimacies of students’ experiences with sex, sexuality, and relationships. Nia Abram ’17, one of the directors, says this year’s show will specifically focus on intersectionality and how it plays out in sexual, emotional, and intimate encounters.

“This year the cast is much more diverse, with different racial and queer identities. We talk about issues of social justice and how that relates to our identities as sexual and intimate beings,” says Abram. Involving such a diverse group of cast members can also be an intimidating part of the process. Much of “Relations’” significance comes from an ability to show the CC sex scene from all angles, and preparation requires complete openness among cast members. Luckily, Abram says she is ready to rise to the challenge. “I am responsible for cultivating a safe and comfortable environment,” she notes, “As a director I have to mitigate a lot of differences in knowledge bases because not everyone was completely on the same page about these concepts.”

Thanks to the directors’ dedication to fostering this environment, actors have been able to commit themselves to their characters and their scenes, and ultimately learn deeply about themselves and their sexualities. “I auditioned because during the show last year, I was pulled into the experience,” says Christian Wulff ’17, a 2016 cast member. “A part of me realized that participating in “Relations” would be different than anything else I’ve ever been a part of, and I was right. This experience helps individuals create an openness with each other as a group.”

It is precisely the uniqueness of the group dynamic that enables “Relations” to make such a deep impact on audiences as well as on cast members. Katie Larsen ’18, who saw the show last year as a first-year student, can’t wait to attend again. “I think the best part is that it makes you feel so many emotions. I was crying one minute and laughing the next,” she says, “The way the story line is presented creates an opportunity to explore themes that are so incredibly central to our lives.”

If you’re looking for provocation to explore your identity and relationships, sexually and otherwise, attend “Relations.” Tickets are now available at Worner Campus Center and shows run Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m. in Taylor Theatre.

Alec Sarche ’17 Pushes the Limits of Experiential Art with Audio Dramas

By Montana Bass ’18

In a mix of creativity and innovation, Alec Sarche ’17 has reinvented the theatre experience with his audio dramas. Inspired by post-modern designers who weight their work more to the audience’s experience than actors’ performances, Sarche created a situation in which the audience becomes the actor, participating in his theatre themselves, all without their sense of sight.

Sarche says he was inspired to create an environment where the audience could witness and interact with art. “Art is becoming more and more ‘make of it what you will,’ or ‘it’s your thing not ours;’ I wanted to take that as far as I could and make something completely designed by my audience,” Sarche says of his original idea to create the audio drama. He decided to take away sight and designed a soundscape that would guide witnesses, a term he ironically coined to describe the participants in his theatre. While witnesses listen to the soundscape, blindfolded, Sarche and his facilitators move physical objects with which the witnesses interact at specific moments dictated by Sarche and his soundscape.

His first audio theatre, “Shore and Woods,” led witnesses towards a fan with the sound of ocean waves playing in their ears. As they moved through the room, Sarche brushed them with branches. The branches acted as an axis prop, the object Sarche uses as the center of his drama. “I tend to write these based around the tactile experience,” he says. “I think about what would be interesting to touch without seeing. If you touch a tree and feel bark and branches, can you picture it?”

The answer turned out to be a resounding “yes,” as witnesses reported seeing vivid scenes in their mind’s eye. “They came up with this incredible rich environment in their heads,” Sarche explains. Even more interesting: the vast difference in the scenes witnesses described, exemplifying the variety of ways their minds interacted with Sarche’s invented world. “Even though you know the script,” says Tinka Avramova ’17, who worked as a facilitator on Sarche’s set, “it changes every time because each new person relates to the directions differently. There is such a rush when something goes right, when someone lets out a laugh or smile. There is this whole world that I get to see as the operator, but somehow I can’t help but feel that the blindfolded audience is actually seeing even more in their imagination.”

During Block 7, Sarche’s final audio drama of the year, “New Season,” pushed the possibilities of this new approach to theatre even further by including two witnesses who move their way through two different, intertwined audiotracks simultaneously. “One track was more optimistic, the other more pessimistic,” says Sarche. “They thought they had the same experience while they listen to the soundscape, but then when talking together, they realized they had this completely different idea of what they thought was the same thing.”

The differing impressions of the two witnesses highlight the powerful psychological results of Sarche’s work. Just as these witnesses were awakened to the misguidedness of their assumption that the other participant would finish with the same perceptions, so future audio dramas can be used to awaken witnesses’ abilities to recognize others’ viewpoints. “I think it could be a really effective tool in social justice,” says Sarche. He plans to gear his next work towards experimenting with that concept. Look out for his thesis, coming out Block 1 next fall.

Better Understand Your Irrational Behavior with Professor Thaler

Monica Black ’19

Humans are attached to their stuff.

This is the idea behind behavioral economics, a blossoming field in finance. The typical neoclassical, traditional economic vision of the human psyche is that it is rational and wants to maximize profits, but behavioral economics, which only came into vogue in the 1970s, takes into consideration the innate irrationality of humans when it comes to economic decision-making. The psychology of the consumer can affect the market.

On Wednesday, April 27, Richard Thaler , professor of economics at the University of Chicago will be giving a talk titled “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.”

Thaler is considered one of the fathers of behavioral economics, a young field.

Mark Smith, CC professor of economics, was instrumental in bringing Thaler to campus. Smith says, “I wanted to bring him to campus because behavioral economics is one of the most exciting trends in economics today.”

Two of Thaler’s books, “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” (2015) and “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Wealth, Health, and Happiness” (2009), lay out his theory and practical applications for the thinking consumer. “I have used both books as required supplemental readings in my microeconomics courses to expose my students to behavioral economics,” says Smith.

Though many students may be put off by the seemingly niche title, behavioral economics’ daily applications are manifold. In “Nudge,” Thaler and co-author Cass Sunstein detail ways that an understanding of behavioral economics can help people save money, encourage contributions to charity, and take care of their health. It also allows us to understand why we are so shortsighted when it comes to impactful economic decisions, and how to rewire that tendency.

“[Thaler] should be interesting to anyone who is interested in economics, public policy, psychology, judgment and decision-making, and simply how people think,” says Smith, who specializes in environmental economy and is interested in the policy implications of Thaler’s work. “He will be a provocative speaker. I think people will enjoy his stories.”

Hear from Thaler Wednesday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Celeste Theatre.

CC Grad Receives National Attention for Investigative Feature

By Montana Bass ’18

Tay Wiles ’08 recently got her big break in a journalism career, sparked here at CC, with a feature-length story in High Country News, where she is an editor.

“I was a winter start,” Wiles says of her introduction to both CC and the start of her journalistic career came during her first year at CC when, “I saw a copy of the Cipher. I remember thinking immediately, ‘I want to work for that.’” And that’s exactly what she did. Wiles went on to become editor-in-chief of the Cipher during her senior year, preparation for her later success. That year, the team received a grant and Wiles was able to help transform the magazine from an extremely radical publication to the more balanced, literary reportage it provides today. “I love that in college publications, there’s a lot of turn over. It makes it difficult, but it also makes for a huge range of alumni who feel invested in it,” says Wiles.

She also worked in both the news and music departments at KRCC during her time as a student. Jeff Bieri, KRCC program manager, hired Wiles as his assistant when he worked as music director. He says she “was absolutely eating up the experience of learning here at CC, getting involved in every opportunity that came her way to gain experience.”

A recent feature for HCN, “Sugar Pine Mine: The Other Standoff,” was Wiles’ first feature since her years at CC, the first in her professional career, and it has received national recognition. The publication of the story aligned fortuitously with national media attention to developments in the conflict. HCN capitalized on the spike in national interest, posting new updates and teasers from Wiles’ feature on the website in the days leading up to its release. “It sort of dovetailed,” says Wiles. “It was really exciting to me because I felt that all the work I’d been doing over the previous year really came to fruition.”

Prior to HCN, she earned a degree in religion with a journalism minor from CC. “A lot of why I was interested in religion was that I really like to try to understand how people perceive their world, how they understand the forces that put them where they are, and how they fit into society,” she explains. Her intense curiosity translated well into her work in investigative environmental journalism with HCN.

The year after she graduated, Wiles completed a fellowship with Mother Jones magazine in San Francisco, which she credits for her precise editing skills. “They really go after environmental justice — hard. I was always fact-checking, meeting with editors, making sure that stories were air-tight so we wouldn’t come under fire.”

The “Sugar Pine Mine” story was a part of the “Sagebrush Rebellion” issue, and drew on those skills. Wiles expertly reports the story of a mining dispute between the radical Oath Keepers and federal government in Josephine County, Oregon, which caused a standoff that threatened to erupt into an armed battle.

Wiles continues to prove herself as an excellent journalist by landing the editing position at HCN, a publication she cares for deeply, just over five years after completing her fellowship. “I love that it’s a small, tight-knit team,” she says of working at HCN, “We really try to pick ideas that mean something to people. We get people calling who say ‘Hey I’m calling from Idaho. This is what’s going on for me,’ and if it’s good we’ll write it.”

The Bulletin, PrintReLeaf, and Reforestation

By Montana Bass ’18

The next time you pick up a copy of CC’s alumni magazine, the Bulletin, realize that not only are you learning about the awesome lives of CC graduates, you’re also holding a publication that is truly environmentally responsible.

The Bulletin has a long history of being green. Sappi Opus, the paper used for printing, is made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. It is certified by both the Forestry Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which means it is approved by two of the most influential forest management and sustainability foundations. It’s also green-e certified, meaning that renewable energy is used in the paper production.

How could it get any greener? Enter PrintReLeaf. Tracking the amount of paper that clients order and consume, PrintReLeaf equates that data to the amount of trees used, and then plants the same amount of trees in areas where forests have been degraded or depleted. Felix Sanchez, CC’s creative director, says a representative from Triangle Printing in Denver where the Bulletin is printed, introduced him to PrintReLeaf.

“It was fairly easy to join the PrintReleaf program,” says Sanchez. “We have been a part of PrintReleaf for the past two issues of the Bulletin. An online account and a customized dashboard show how much paper we have used for each issue and how many trees have been planted based on our consumption. It’s a fun, interactive, and transparent way to understand our impact, not only in paper usage, but in global sustainability efforts, too.”

This system makes responsible paper usage and reforestation efforts highly tangible. The PrintReLeaf certificates and dashboards actually allow CC to follow the growth of trees planted in honor of paper used for the Bulletin.

“Right now, we are helping to replant trees in Brazil through the We Forest project, which is working to combat the progressive loss of biodiversity in the Upper Paraná Atlantic Rainforest Ecoregion. This helps contribute towards the restoration of some of the best and most extensive examples of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil,” explains Sanchez. “PrintReLeaf’s goal is to replant 700,000 to 1 million trees every year. It makes me feel good to know that we are contributing to this honorable endeavor.” From paper consumption of the past two editions of the Bulletin, CC has helped We Forest replant 431 trees.

CC’s partnership with PrintReLeaf doesn’t have to be limited to the Bulletin. Sanchez promises efforts are being made to work with other print vendors to enroll in PrintReleaf to monitor paper consumption for most printed publications in the Office of Communications.

Sanchez encourages students interested in seeing their everyday paper usage equated to reforestation efforts to push for PrintReleaf’s expansion. He adds, “students have a strong voice in the college’s sustainable efforts — in fact, most of the sustainable efforts at the college would not exist if it were not for the demands or activism of students.”

Lizzy Stephan ’11 Puts Her Passion to Work as New Era’s New Director

By Monica Black ’19

CC’s prestigious Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) has produced scores of young leaders who go on to develop the nonprofit sector in Colorado and beyond. One such impressive fellow is Lizzy Stephan ’11, who was recently named director of New Era Colorado, an organization dedicated to increasing political participation among youth in Colorado.

“I work at New Era because I believe in the power of democracy to create change, and I believe in the power of young people to accelerate that change,” says Stephan. “I’ve long believed that young people deserve a real seat at the table.”

New Era’s work includes developing innovative solutions to voter registration problems and advocacy work to bring preregistration and online registration to the state of Colorado. The organization made headlines in 2013 when it spearheaded an effort in Boulder to engage youth in a movement to divest from coal and switch to renewable energy sources, pushing back against the energy monopoly in the city.

“New Era is celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and we’re now one of the largest young voter mobilization programs in the country,” said Stephan. Stephan was named director this March, and she’ll be taking over as the nation heads into the election season. “We’re poised to run our largest statewide voter registration, education, and turnout efforts to date.”

Stephan was a sociology major at CC, co-chaired EnAct for a year, and interned in the Office of Sustainability. She was also always involved in politics, participating in the 2010 midterm election campaign efforts and pushing the school to make responsible investments.

These activities also inspired her career. “Studying sociology at Colorado College made me impatient with and unaccepting of ‘the way things are,’” says Stephan. “At New Era, we’re more driven by ‘the way things could be.’”

Stephan was a two-time fellow through PIFP. “My first PIFP placement showed me that it was possible to make a career out of the full-time pursuit of social change.” Stephan later worked at the Bell Policy Center, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing opportunity for all in the state of Colorado. Through these fellowships, she developed a passion for politics as the vehicle for change.

To this day, Stephan loves her job: “I feel more like I’m obsessively pursuing a hobby than anything else.”

Celebrating Shakespeare with CC’s ‘Sonnet-A-Thon’

By Montana Bass ’18

“Shakespeare was an extraordinary genius and there’s no better way to begin to discover [Shakespeare], than by actually speaking him,” says Andrew Manley, associate professor of theatre. Students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to do just that this Friday from 6-9 p.m. in Cornerstone Main Space. Manley says he created CC’s first “Sonnet-A-Thon”sonnetathonposter in the spirit of community celebration, with participants reciting all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The sonnets are short, 14 lines each, so are accessible for those inexperienced in theatre and literature. “I think they’re cool,” says Abigayle Cosinuke ’16, who will be performing. “They’re very concise, but cover such a range of feelings. Everyone knows Shakespeare but not that many people have read a lot of the sonnets and also don’t realize how relevant and accessible they are.”

With 154 to choose from, it’s not hard to find one with a personal ring to it. Tinka Avramova ’16 connected with “Sonnet 47,” which she explains is about longing and the way that feelings of love are intensified when looking at one’s loved one. “I think I was struggling with not being with the person I love and wanting to see them,” she explains.

Cosinuke chose “Sonnet 142” for its uniqueness. “It’s the only sonnet written in octets,” she says. “It’s also about hate, which is unusual and fun because it’s so dramatic. They think it’s about his wife, Anne Hathaway. I actually already have it memorized because I recited it in high school when I went on a theatre trip and we visited Anne Hathaway’s house.”

The reciting of all of these works will give audience members and performers a chance to connect personally with one of the greatest literary geniuses of all time. Manley adds, “This is a reminder that we are still performing Shakespeare after all this time. His poems are still relevant – they speak to us across 400 years. That’s amazing!” And, according to Cosinuke, “Shakespeare is bae,” so don’t miss out.