Students, faculty, and staff learned about the complex system of infrastructure that feed water to Colorado Springs from over mountains on a Sense of Place water tour this fall. They visited Catamount Reservoir, Princeton Hot Springs, and local farms on the Lower Arkansas River. The water tour is one of several trips in the Sense of Place program put on by the Offices of Sustainability and Field Study. View a full gallery of the trip. Photos by Jennifer Coombes.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Last year’s Big Idea competition highlighted the work of many talented CC students. FlyPhone won the competition, and the six then-seniors are still pursuing their startup idea here in Colorado Springs. The company designed technology to pair cell phone cameras with drones as a hands-free mode of adventure filming, and was recently featured in Denver’s 5280 magazine, in an article titled “Where to Find Colorado’s Next Tech Hubs.”
But things don’t always go exactly as planned when it comes to starting a tech business. Dan Keogh ’17, one of the six FlyPhone creators, says the company is having to make adjustments and must be nimble to succeed. Keogh explains that FlyPhone is currently focusing on two things: integrating their software into hardware other than drones; and fundraising. “Over the summer we did a lot of great work both developing our software as well as implementing it onto drones,” he says, “and were able to capture some pretty awesome shots.” Despite these positive developments, “murky” conditions around patenting and high barriers to entry for the drone industry have necessitated a change for FlyPhone. Keogh explains that the group is now targeting markets that are more accessible than the drone industry, and they have modified the FlyPhone software so that it’s applicable to a broader a wider range of organizations.
With all these changes, the FlyPhone creators are now hoping to make their first sale to an organization. Keogh says they hope to make the initial sale to a group in Colorado Springs that could use the FlyPhone software as a training tool. “In many ways, a lot of our software development is done,” Keogh explains, “and we’re looking for the right match between the value FlyPhone can bring to an organization, and what that organization is willing to pay for that value.” Despite all the changes FlyPhone has undergone since its start in 2015, the group has made itself into part of the burgeoning Colorado Springs tech community, and hopes to continue the develop of their company and software.
Collaborative for Community Engagement Hosts Event Oct. 4
By Alana Aamodt ’18
On Wednesday, Oct. 4, members of the Colorado College community and the greater Colorado Springs community have the opportunity to come together to help clean up the area around Monument Creek as part of the second-annual Colorado College Day of Service.
The event, organized by the Collaborative for Community Engagement and the Office of Sustainability, will contribute to Fountain Creek Watershed’s “Creek Week,” which organizes over 70 similar clean-ups. This is an effort to “improve water quality, wildlife habitat, and health of our local waterways while fostering community and environmental stewardship,” according to Jonah Seifer with CC’s State of the Rockies Project.
The CCE is partnering with the Office of Sustainability and the State of the Rockies Project to mobilize the CC community. Grits and the Ponderosa Project, two CC clubs focused on homelessness in Colorado Springs, will also play a role in this year’s event, helping to organize information sessions on ways to engage with the homeless community.
Radke shares, “the broad goal of the CC Day of Service is to support a culture of community engagement on our campus by raising awareness around stewardship of our local watershed, as well as the numbers of individuals experiencing homelessness in our city. We hope this event will serve as an educational space and way to inspire the CC community to engage in these issues in ongoing ways.”
So far, groups like the Community Engaged Scholars program, EnAct, Office of Sustainability interns, Greek organizations, and athletics teams have committed to help out.
If you’d like to be part of improving and engaging in the community surrounding CC, form a clean-up team or sign up solo: register today! The event will consist of small groups spread over three two-hour shifts: 9-11 a.m.; 1-3 p.m.; and 3:30-5:30 p.m. All groups will meet at the Van Briggle Building, 1125 Glen Avenue, at the start of their shift to collect materials and proceed to their site. CC will provide gloves and trash bags; remember to bring your own water bottle. Sign up by Friday, Sept. 29.
Staff members: Check with your supervisor for approval before registering for a shift at this CC-sponsored event. Read more about the College Sponsored Community Service Policy.
Colorado College alumna and accomplished musician Abigail Washburn and her husband, musician Béla Fleck, perform a piece for an informal gathering of students, faculty and staff in Packard Hall. The performance was part of a workshop Washburn and Fleck hosted with Keith Reed’s bluegrass ensembles. Photos by Andy Colwell.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Learning to preserve historic artifacts, traveling the Southwest to explore contemporary art, and discovering a new understanding of Southwest culture were a few highlights of an internship this summer at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.
Matthew Harris ’18 and Anna Doctor ’18 spent the summer interning at the FAC with the Museum Internship Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The internship, led by Michael Howell, museum internship director and registrar and collections manager, is designed to help students to learn about museums, with a focus on care, handling, documentation, and research of objects, artifacts, and fine art from the American Southwest.
Interns learn about the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, Southwestern cultural diversity, and art conservation, as well exhibit and copyright practices relevant to working in a museum. “Interns get as close to a real-world museum experience as possible with access to learning experiences generally not found in an undergraduate program,” says Howell.
Both Harris and Doctor were looking to learn more about museum work, which is why they decided to spend their summers at the FAC. Doctor is a senior art history major who is exploring her post-college options, while Harris was inspired by his own work as a potter. He heard that the FAC has a large pottery collection, and was interested in studying it. “Looking through the collection of Southwestern pottery gave me many ideas and will likely shape how I make pots,” he says.
Harris and Doctor also had the opportunity to travel to New Mexico to visit the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Harris says the trip supplemented his knowledge of contemporary Native American art. During this trip, he was introduced to the art of Crow artist Kevin Starr, about whom he wrote a profile for the FAC website.
During the same trip, Doctor was inspired to research female Native American artists, and wrote a short piece on Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and her world-renowned art.
Harris and Doctor both credit Howell for giving them a thorough museum experience, and say that they learned lots about the wide variety of roles necessary to run a museum. Harris says this summer inspired a possible interest in installations or exhibit design, while Doctor hopes to interact with visitors in a smaller museum. Both interns say their time at the FAC deepened their understanding of the people and art of the Southwest, and anticipate using their deepened knowledge in the future.
During the field trip to New Mexico, Doctor and Harris had the opportunity to spend time with:
Rachel Moore, Curator at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque;
Amy Baskette, Registrar at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History;
Joseph Diaz, Curator, and Deborah King, Registrar, at the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe;
Tom Leech, Director of the Palace Press, Palace of the Governors;
Della Warrior, Director, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe;
Jonathan Batkin, Director, and Cheri Falkenstien-Doyle, Curator, at the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe
By Leah Veldhuisen
Hone your chess skills and take a quiet break from the hustle and bustle of the Block Plan by visiting Bruce Munro’s “Thank You for a Very Enjoyable Game,” exhibit, currently on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. The exhibit invites museum-goers to interact with the chess-themed concept of the installation, which features 30 chess boards inlaid with colored Formica. They are positioned in a linear formation, tracking the moves made in the chess game.
Munro’s inspiration came from Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” as well as his interest in the ever-increasing presence of technology in our world, according to the FAC website.
In addition to Munro’s art, usable chess boards are set up around the gallery. The boards are meant to provide viewers another way to interact with the art and the artist’s intentions, as well as to diversify patrons visiting the museum. Joy Armstrong, curator of contemporary and modern art at the FAC, says it’s been wonderful to see many levels of chess being played by all ages throughout the summer, and she hopes visitors will continue to enjoy the boards for the duration of the exhibit though Jan. 7, 2018.
Armstrong says she is excited about this exhibit, as it is the first time the FAC has collaborated with the Green Box Art Festival, in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, where Munro’s “Field of Light” installations are on display until Sept. 17.
CC’s new partnership with the FAC allows members of the campus community free access to the museum’s galleries.
From ropes courses to hip-hop dancing to re-enacting art, Bridge Scholars immerse themselves in a multi-disicplinary introduction that brings the CC liberal arts experience to life. See how they engaged with CC’s vibrant community of scholars.
Professor Dwanna Robertson and Judy Fisher ’20 are working together on research that is not only academically relevant, but also meaningful to them both on a personal level.
“Our research is so relevant, not just to Judy or me, but to all Native scholars,” says Robertson, assistant professor of race, ethnicity, and migration studies. As part of the Summer Collaborative Research program, they are examining the low rates of recruitment, retention, and tenure granted to Native women faculty in predominantly white higher ed institutions.
“There is scarce research available about Native women faculty and the stagnancy of their integration into academia,” Robertson says. “I plan to expand that to Native men faculty in the future. Judy’s also looking at retention rates for Native students in college and the tactics they employ to succeed in spaces that, originally, weren’t meant for them.”
“This research has allowed me to work on something that will directly benefit other Native scholars navigating higher education institutions,” says Fisher. “This is significant to me personally because, as a Native person, I pursued higher education to fight for marginalized people at an institutional level, particularly Native people. I want to give back to my people for all the love and support I receive through my tribe.”
Fisher says the summer research opportunity has helped grow confidence in her ability to do research, while working directly with afaculty member and expert in the field. Robertson says it’s easily a two-year project and she and Fisher will continue their work together.
Middle schooler Sydney Murphy took the phrase “embracing the concepts” to a whole new level during her summer course. Holding a baby goat, she got up close with the farm animal, which was brought to her Caring for Critters class for a petting and milking demonstration.
Throughout the class, co-taught by Scott Purdy ’18 MAT, CC Master of Arts in Teaching student, and Brittni Darras as part of CC Gifted and Talented+ summer program, middle schoolers explored a wide range of research and got to apply their knowledge on visits to local animal shelters and rescues. Students also learned about local and global impacts of animal conservation and treatment, and developed their own action plan to address problems locally with our animal population.
Caring for Critters was just one of dozens of courses in the GT+ program that brought elementary, middle, and high school students to campus for three weeks this summer. Now in its 42nd year, the program is designed for students entering first through tenth grades with offerings to challenge their intellectual and creative abilities.
The program also brings to campus teachers who are experienced and skilled in working with gifted children and who are well educated in their fields. Plus, it provides an opportunity for CC’s Master of Teaching students to work directly with students and expert teachers in the classroom; each teacher has a CC graduate teaching assistant to help provide the individualized attention that gifted children need.
“I love to share these tools and then model for the MAT students those same strategies with the summer program students. It’s my goal to send them off as a new teacher with as many items in their toolkit as possible,” says Tiffany Hawk, teacher in the GT+ program of working with the master’s students. Hawk co-taught a course titled Farm to Fork for ninth and tenth graders with CC MAT student Savannah Teeple ’18 MAT.
Throughout the class, students explored local and global issues surrounding food scarcity, waste, and ethical practices of sustainability of food sources around the world. Students also studied real-life struggles of various cultures and developed plans to address issues that affect international citizens.
The students spent three days working directly with seven Habitat for Humanity families building and planting backyard raised garden beds in the Crestone Peak Trail neighborhood in Colorado Springs. Students also provided seeds, student-created recipes using crops from the gardens, and care instructions with the beds so that homeowners could put their new gardens to good use.
“When we are able to open our minds and explore the connections between global and local issues, we begin to see that there are so many experiences that bond us throughout the world,” Hawk says of developing the concept for the Farm to Fork class. “The beauty of this program is that students are able to experience the impact of their action. They are making community partnerships and experiencing the power of collaboration. They learn that they can make a difference.”
Hawk says she hopes the MAT students also gain practical knowledge throughout the program. “It is my hope that they take ownership and embrace the power of reflection and taking risks. My emphasis is to remain flexible with instruction and allow students to take you, as the teacher, in different paths to explore what they want to learn within our course objectives.”
From waterfalls to greenhouses to a glacial lagoon, students explored the far reaches of the Icelandic landscape, immersing themselves in the country’s culture and thriving ecotourism industry. This summer, two guides and 10 students embarked on the second-ever international trip with the Office of Outdoor Education, a partnership with the Office of Sustainability.
“Iceland has been on the top of my bucket list as a travel location for years because of the untouched wilderness,” says Matt Cole ’18 of why he wanted to participate. “This trip was the perfect opportunity to travel to Iceland and see a wide variety of all that the Icelandic wilderness and culture had to offer.”
Students completed an application process and attended pre-trip seminars before being accepted into this summer’s nine-day Iceland summer program. The trip itinerary was based on outdoor activities, with educational elements delving into sustainability and aspects of Iceland’s growing ecotourism industry.
“When we put a trip like this together, we want it to be thematic and intentional,” says Ryan Hammes, director of the Office of Outdoor Education and one of the trip’s two guides. “This one combined sustainability and the timely ecotourism topic with outdoor experiences in the natural environment.”
The group tackled hut-to-hut backpacking treks, as well as numerous day hikes. They visited a farm using greenhouses heated by geothermal to grow tomatoes, an exceptional feat, the group learned, for a country where growing such produce wouldn’t otherwise be possible because of the climate. They traveled to a horse farm and learned about the Icelandic horse, a significant part of the country’s culture. And they took a boat tour into a glacial lagoon. “In 60 years, that glacier will be completely melted, so it was a special part of our trip to get to see it,” says Ian Johnson, director of the Office of Sustainability, who co-led the trip with Hammes.
“Traveling and having the opportunity to explore the world is a wonderful experience we should all do at least once in our life, especially when it’s with a purpose,” says Jubilee Hernandez ’20 of why she wanted to be a part of the trip.
Hernandez and the rest of the group experienced all four season during their visit — from blue sky to snow. “What really makes a trip memorable is taking the time to truly explore the area, by going on walks, hikes, car rides, taking a ferry, as well as getting to know the others on the trip and making friends with strangers,” she says.
When talking about first impressions, Johnson says many students were surprised at how clean the country is, especially in the big cities and urban areas. Another theme students discussed was the environmental impact of tourism and how Iceland is working to balance tourism and preservation.
“We saw how all of these natural resources can be an asset and something to be protected; it’s very different than how we have our national park system set up,” Hammes says. “The students were doing personal reflection on how this place is different from what they call home.”
“I learned a lot about the geothermal process and what makes Iceland such a sustainable country, and that this geothermal energy potential could be possible in theoretically every country on Earth,” says Cole.
One-hundred-percent of Iceland’s energy comes from renewable resources — primarily geothermal and hydroelectric; a small percentage also comes from wind power. It’s also historically been a self-sufficient country, with many sustainable farming and fishing villages.
“Since 2010, tourism has been picking up, due to the nature, waterfall, geysers, hiking, black sand beaches, glaciers, puffins, whale watching; all of the things we experienced here,” says Johnson. “As a country, they’re struggling with it and how to [support tourism] responsibly.”
The group got a behind-the-scenes tour of a geothermal energy plant and saw how the “wastewater” from the plant spills into Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon.
“The thing that stands out to me weeks after the trip is the connections with the group of students as well as the leaders. I knew no one on the trip and would have never crossed paths with any of them at school, however we all became very close,” Cole says.
Building relationships with one another also empowered students to embrace opportunities to venture outside their comfort zones.
“Every day brought a new adventure spent outside,” Hernandez says of her experience. “Most challenging was the trekking. I absolutely hated my life when we were hiking, but I wouldn’t have changed any part of it. It was the slips, falls, and challenging paths that I remember the most.”
Hammes and Johnson say there was certainly enough student interest in the trip to offer a similar program in the future.