J Street U is a national organization that works towards a two state solution between Israel and Palestine. This year, it has a presence on the CC campus, an effort led by several students, including Elam Klein ’20, who says he wanted to bring conversations, activism, and education about what can often be a heated topic. “We felt there was a lack of discourse about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on campus, even though people were interested in the topic; J Street U fills this void.”
The primary focus of the J Street U organization is that it is Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, and Pro-Peace, and is generally seen as in-between the polarized right and left of the political spectrum. Klein along with Rachel Powers ’20 and Kalie Hirt ’20 started a chapter on campus this semester. “We hope to open up a dialogue and lead some activism on this issue on campus,” Klein says. So far, the group has hosted weekly meetings to discuss current events and the response from the campus community has been a positive one.
“We provide a space for a more nuanced understanding of the conflict, which has appealed to many students who simply wish to learn more about the issues at play, and our open, candid discussions bring in people from a range of ideological backgrounds,” Klein says. “Even people who know little about the conflict have come to our meetings simply to listen and ask questions.”
Wednesday, May 10, 7-9 p.m., J Street U hosts its first big event: A screening of the film “Bridge Over the Wadi,” which gives an overview of the trials and tribulations of starting a school for Arabs and Israelis in Israel. Lee Gordon, a co-founder of this series of schools, called Hand in Hand, will both introduce the film and lead a question and answer session afterwards, both in Cornerstone Screening Room. With this event, “we hope to present a more nuanced look of the conflict on the ground, which will provide a strong foundation for both having important conversations and affecting concrete social change in the future,” says Klein. In addition, J Street U is working to expand outreach and influence on campus as a new student organization.
“We hope that people realize that the whole conflict is more complicated than it is often described,” Klein says of the purpose for the screening and discussion.” In the United States, we tend to oversimplify complex issues and are generally disconnected from the reality on the ground in Israel, so this event will provide a much-needed human look at the situation,” he says.
Klein says he hopes, at the very least, the event helps us all learn a little bit more.
By Montana Bass ’18
Students go to their friends when they’re dealing with a problem, and knowing how to best support a friend in need is the premise behind START, the Student Title IX Assistance and Resource Team. This program provides a new resource for students seeking Title IX-related support, including sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, or any form of gender-based discrimination. It was founded by McKenna Becker ‘17, Jamie Baum ’18, and Leah Ciffilillo ’18, with support from Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Maria Mendez.
It’s a program started by students, for students, and it depends on students offering to participate on the START team. The application period is open now through April 26. Once selected, the START team will complete 40 hours of training with TESSA, an organization that works to support victims and end sexual and family violence.
The team will learn about sexual assault and domestic violence confidential victim advocacy as well as participate in multiple sessions with Mendez and CC’s Title IX office. The result will be a group of student-experts on both sexual assault response and Title IX proceedings, equipped with all the resources necessary to be effective first responders to students who experience sexual assault and explain the options they have for further resources.
The cofounders are launching the program in an effort to make resources and support more accessible to students. “This started from going to parties or talking to friends and seeing how often, students would like help and support, but they don’t take advantage or are not comfortable accessing them,” says Becker.
“Hopefully this will provide a lower risk entry point for students,” says Mendez. “We know the majority of the time students feel most comfortable reaching out to a peer or friend and so we want to make sure we have a trained group of their peers who can help them access the resources available to them. Often, students see coming to my office as a really big step, and so having a resource comprised of peers may lower any barriers that might prevent students from getting the information they need.”
“Our team will meet students where they want, when they want to meet, and they’ll be able to both sign up for these meetings and ask questions to our team anonymously,” explains Becker.
A main goal of the cofounders is to develop the START team so that it is representative of all students on campus. “It’s really important that the students using this resource identify with it, so they don’t hesitate to use it,” says Baum. Adds Becker, “We really want to make sure that our members understand how sexual assault and intimate partner violence affect different communities differently.”
Based on the acknowledgment that students will talk to friends about their sexual experiences, the START team will attempt to bring preparedness to the role of confidante. “There have been many studies that have shown that the first response is the most impactful on the way that the survivor views their experience and moves forward with recovery and healing,” says Baum. For this reason, well-meaning, uninformed friends can actually do more harm than good. “We find that even the acknowledgement of needing a resource is huge. Even if somebody doesn’t want to go through the process, that’s fine; at least they’re aware of what’s available” she says.
In the eyes of START founders, an arena for open dialogue and support between students will not only fill a need, it will counter the normalization of rape culture and destigmatize talking about the issue. “We aren’t considered advocates,” Becker clarifies. “We aren’t counselors. We aren’t there to give advice or tell people what to do. We are providing options so they can make the most informed decision and regain agency that can feel lost when you’re going through something like this.”
Mendez notes that Title IX related services are available through several offices including, but are not limited to, confidential consultation with access to information about what the Title IX complaint process looks like, who to reach out to should they want to pursue a formal complaint, access to accommodations in class, housing, or referrals to counseling. The Chaplain’s Office and Tre Wentling, gender and identity development specialist in the Butler Center, also offer these confidential resources.
Interested in becoming a member of the START team? Email START@coloradocollege.edu today and submit your application by Wednesday, April 26.
By Montana Bass ’18
A special collaboration is on display in Block 8: CC student art work will be featured at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center. Jenny Welden ’17 and Jake Paron ’17 were chosen in a campus-wide call for student art installation proposals. Nelson Kies ’18 originally envisioned the project, which is indicative of a growing partnership between Colorado College and the FAC. In celebration of the new alliance, a committee composed of FAC staff and CC faculty selected the students’ proposals to create site-specific installations for the FAC courtyard.
Kies approached curator Jessica Hunter-Larsen last year with a wish for more space for students to display their artwork. Coincidentally, the development of the CC-FAC alliance provided an opportunity for Kies and Hunter-Larsen to focus on a venue for students, which presented an exciting new opportunity for student artists to showcase their work in a prestigious space. “Proposing installations in the FAC was initially intimidating because of the caliber of artwork that is featured in the museum,” Kies admits, “but I was completely overcome by all the support that was provided to this project.”
Hunter-Larsen says this installation encourages students to challenge themselves to connect their art to the community. “I think this kind of program offers wonderful opportunities for students to think through some of the issues surrounding art in public spaces, and affords our community an equally wonderful opportunity to experience our students’ creativity,” she says. Kies adds, “This art project provides an avenue for community members to engage with student thought. Additionally, the insular nature of the CC community can benefit from sharing with the community they belong to.”
Chosen for their attention to the specific site where their works will be displayed — the FAC courtyard — seniors Welden and Paron, both studio art majors, will be the first to creatively initiate this connection. Welden’s “Heart of the Mountain” installation represents the foundations of textile art through the use of non-fibrous materials. These materials create a network of interlocking fragments, demonstrating the dual contributions of the natural and the sacred in a textile image. “I hope that viewers may understand new connections between the forces of the sacred and of the natural in the art of textile through these non-fibrous forms,” Welden says of her piece.
Paron constructed his piece, “Alterne,” out of a non-native grass species that covers much of the landscape surrounding institutions in the Colorado Springs area. The piece explores how the lawn is used to represent nature. However, in an attempt to represent nature, the lawn substitutes the natural composition native to a specific site. “Making art is something I have always done instinctually,” Paron says, “But recently I have been fascinated with studying ideas and philosophies through form. Making art has become an important way for me to communicate ideas to myself and others.”
The installations will be on view in the FAC courtyard Friday, April 28-Tuesday, May 23. You’re invited to the CC Student Artist Exhibition Opening Friday, April 28, 4:30-6:30 p.m., to honor these student artists and further celebrate the FAC CC alliance.
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
The CC’s men’s ultimate Frisbee team is made up of a strong group of talented athletes, and this season they have big goals. The team is currently ranked in the top five teams nationally, and they hope to cement this status at the national tournament in May.
Last year, the team made it to the national competition and this season, they hope to place higher, making it to the national semi-final round. Grant Mitchell ’17 says they came into the season with “higher expectations than we have in a while.” This is principally due to the “large and talented” senior class, individuals who Mitchell describes as “important on the field and as emotional leaders for our team.” Despite these expectations and prior successes, Mitchell says the team reamains pleasantly surprised by how well they’ve been doing. He explains, “getting first place in a tournament and taking down our regional rival Air Force really showed us that we have a chance to make a run in the series this year.”
Even though the team is currently ranked third in Division III by the Ultiworld Ultimate Frisbee rankings, they have yet to qualify for the national tournament in Lexington, Kentucky, coming up May 20 and 21. Mitchell explains that “everything leading up to the series helps to earn bids for the region you are in.” Now the team has to play through sectionals, then regionals, and place top three in the region to move to nationals. Once there, the team is hoping for the accomplishment of making the semi-finals, and possibly going onto the finals.
Although this year’s senior class is strong, Mitchell expects the 2018 season to continue current successes. “We have a ton of super committed, motivated players who have begun to step into roles on the field that we hadn’t seen from them before,” Mitchell says. It won’t be a rebuilding year, and Mitchell sees no reason the team can’t compete on the national scale again.
They head to a competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend and then on to Kansas City the following weekend. Good luck!
By Montana Bass ’19
Currently on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the “Force/Resistance” exhibit speaks to the relationship between power and violence, particularly as demonstrated through tensions between U.S. police use of force and citizen protest. The exhibit features the work of artists Floyd Tunson, Dareece Walker, and Walter and Bunky Echo-Hawk, along with the film, “Force/Resistance: From Standing Rock to Colorado Springs,” produced by CC’s own Arielle Mari ’12, Han Sayles ’15, and Dwanna Robertson, assistant professor of race, ethnicity, and migration studies.
The installation comes at a time of national tension surrounding perceived infringements on citizens’ civil rights by government policies and law enforcement. As complementary pieces, the still works focus particularly on highlighting the humanity of protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the documentary tells the story of self-proclaimed “water protectors” who have been opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline for the past year. Curator Jessica Hunter-Larsen says a series of campus conversations coordinated by the Butler Center about police violence, as well as the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies program’s spring series “Race and Terror” inspired her to put the installation together.
She says she hopes the exhibit provides members of the Colorado Springs community, including CC students, a place to contemplate and discuss challenging issues. “An opportunity to practice radical empathy is necessary to begin to make real change in the world,” says Hunter-Larsen. “The exhibition is at its core about speaking truth to power, through visual images and through the narrative format that the film offers. Ideally, then, the gallery becomes a forum for discussion about the various ways in which power is used, abused, and resisted.”
It was Hunter-Larsen who reached out to the producers of the documentary, Mari, Sayles, and Robertson, about exploring a connection between Standing Rock and Colorado Springs. The result, as Mari explains, is an expansion on the idea of protest. Their documentary not only reports the high stakes of the Standing Rock conflict, but also the incredible community created through the act of resistance. Interviewees speak with deeply moving conviction, often sharing very similar sentiments regarding their experience. “I think it speaks to the unity of the Standing Rock movement that they responded in such similar ways,” says Mari.
The inspirational exhibit offers an effective compilation of powerful artwork that calls viewers to take accountability for their communities. “I think the call to action speaks for itself,” Mari adds. “When Dwanna [who is featured in the film] says, ‘What is the price of doing nothing?’ That has stuck with me since January.”
“Force/Resistance” is on view at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center through September 9. Catch a screening of the 45-minute documentary “From Standing Rock to Colorado Springs” Monday, May 1, 5:30 p.m. in the Cornerstone Screening Room. A panel discussion with documentary subjects will follow the screening.
Jordan Travis Radke took on the role of director of CC’s Collaborative for Community Engagement in March, and jumped right in to the work of deepening, supporting, expanding, and assessing community-based learning and community-based research and its integration into the scholarship of the college. It is what she calls, “a fantastic job.” Here’s your opportunity to get to know Radke as she shares insights on her role and the impact of a community-engaged campus:
How do you think your position will impact CC?
I hope that my work, and the work of our entire office, has a large impact on CC. I am passionate about the integration of community-based work into teaching, learning, and scholarship. For students, I believe community-based learning experiences foster empathy and awaken in students a hope and an obligation to build a more just, humane world. For both faculty and students, I believe community-based research offers the chance to generate knowledge and insights of public relevance, applying knowledge to improving the quality of life of the community.
Where did you work before CC and what where you doing?
Before I came to CC, I was a Ph. D. candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (she finished up her Ph. D. in the fall, congrats!). As a late-stage Ph. D. student, the majority of my time was devoted to undergraduate teaching. I also spent much of my time seeking to gain experience in community-based learning, teaching, and co-curricular programs, and became heavily involved in a year-long, service-learning sequence oriented around race, class, and gender, in which students mentored at-risk middle school students. My training and experience in qualitative research throughout my dissertation was transformative for me, and I hope to draw on these skills and this interest, as well as to continue to explore my interest in the trend to individualize collective action.
What do you bring to this job?
I am a deeply committed person with strong convictions, and my hope is that this passion and energy will enable me to build a vibrant, active culture of community-based learning. I would like to bring stability and longevity to this position, and build something long-lasting and transformative. Lastly, I am by nature collaborative and hope to build bridges and relationships to transform the CCE into an office connected to the campus and our community.
What are some personal or professional experiences you’ve had either at CC or outside of it that play into your current role?
My Ph. D. certainly plays into my current role and gave me a range of skills and knowledge from which I draw. Additionally, before I went back to graduate school, I worked as a UNITE HERE union organizer for a short time, worked the front desk at a Ronald McDonald House, and was a volunteer grant writer at an organization that supported African immigrants. These experiences gave me interesting insights into the world of community organizing as well as the nonprofit sector, and I take those experiences with me in all that I do. In particular, these experiences revealed to me how difficult yet inspiring it can be to try to work toward social changes.
Who/what was the biggest influence on you?
Two things come to mind for me. First, I studied abroad in Madagascar my junior year of college, and it was a life-changing experience. Living there gave me a glimpse into a totally different culture and pace of life, and made me deeply question the American ethic of ever-increasing consumption and unwavering focus on achievement.
The other experience that deeply shaped me was the recession. My husband, a wide and bright-eyed first-year teacher, lost his publically funded high school teaching job along with all other new teachers in his district. It took him 15 months to get a career going again, and that was to return to graduate school for a different degree. While difficult, this time left me feeling ever grateful and privileged in our current, secure lives, and to empathize more deeply with those who struggle for stability.
What have you noticed about CC?
This campus is a true community, in which relationships are built between and among students, faculty, and staff. I love that I am on a campus where, when I walk to grab lunch or run to the library, I am likely to run into another person who knows me by name. After several years at a very large public university, that feels like a distinct privilege. I am also amazed at the extent to which CC is committed to students as entire people — providing programs and support to develop not only students’ intellectual interests and foundations, but every other aspect of their humanity.
Tell us a little about your background
I grew up in a family of eight with five siblings. I also come from a very long line of Presbyterian ministers. I credit my childhood and parents with instilling in me deep empathy and a desire to live a life that is other-oriented.
What do you like to do when not working?
In most of my free time, you’ll find me running after my firecracker of a three-year-old, Avery, and trying to make my 1-year-old Brynn giggle. When I do get to enjoy some time to myself (I am told this will happen in 18 years), I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy, and watching TV shows like “Game of Thrones” with my husband. I also love nature photography, and enjoy being outdoors, playing in the water, listening to music, writing, and have been playing with meditation as well.
What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I am an identical twin! My twin, Jesse, lives outside of San Antonio with her husband and three adorable children. For 18 years of life, my identity was totally intertwined with another person — and we still understand one another in a way that I think non-twins could never understand. I am grateful to have been born with a built-in best friend.
By Alana Aamodt ’18
April 15, Reid Arena’s main gym will be transformed into the multicultural, culinary bonanza that is “Taste of the World.” Offering mouthwatering samples of food from across the country and world, the event also features globally diverse music and lots of dancing.
The event is hosted annually by MOSAIC, which stands for Multicultural Organization of Students and the International Community, a club whose role is to “provide a space for international students to come together as a group and build a strong community, making CC a place in which international students feel a sense of involvement and belonging,” explains MOSAIC co-chair Eden Lumerman ’19, who is an international student herself from Israel. “I got involved with MOSAIC because it was a group of primarily international students who have grown to be my family in the US and with whom I felt the most at home at CC.”
Students signed up as chefs prior to the event and have the opportunity to “cook a dish that they love from wherever they identify as home,” according to Lumerman. The event is free and open to the public, the only requirement is that you stop by the Worner desk and pick up a ticket.
This event will be held 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, in Reid Arena.
By Montana Bass ’18
This season, the group of staff and faculty previously known for “noon ball” stepped up their game by joining a Colorado Springs adult basketball league. Not only did they up their game from a three-day-a-week, lunch-hour game to take on competitors from across the city; in its first year in the league, the CC team went on to win its division. Playing together regularly helped the team score a big win on and off the court, fostering camaraderie and community along with their basketball skills.
Team member Andy Kohel, assistant men’s soccer coach, says he felt confident about the team at the season’s start in November, but together they exceeded his expectations. “Everyone on our team has played basketball at the high school level or past it, so we all come from a very strong background,” he explains. That doesn’t mean the team didn’t have its challenges. “We had a bit of a size disadvantage,” Kohel admits. “We had one guy that is 6’6”, but the rest of our roster is comprised of 6’1” and under. That’s not the norm.”
It may have been that CC camaraderie that propelled them to victory. In fact, both Kohel and his teammate Kevin Rask, professor of economics and business, cite their team dynamic as their favorite part of competing this season. “Our roster is comprised of representatives from four different divisions: Faculty, alumni, residential life, and advancement. It’s fantastic to see everyone come together from their respective divisions and share a similar passion with each other,” says Kohel. Adds Rask, “There is nothing better than having the same good team to play with week in and week out.”
This season, the team has shown impressive determination and spirit. Rask spoke of an upset in which the team overcame an 18-point deficit to win the game as his favorite moment. Kohel adds, “Everyone was part of the win, it was cool to see.” Next year, he thinks, they’ll take that teamwork all the way to a championship victory. This year’s roster:
Andy Kohel, assistant CC men’s soccer coach
Jordan McCann, assistant CC women’s basketball coach
Mike Hart, assistant CC men’s basketball coach
Matt Kelly, annual gift officer
Kevin Rask, professor of economics
Matt Edwards, residential life coordinator
Isaac Salay ’16
By Leah Veldhuisen ’19
Felicia Chavez, a Riley-Scholar-in-Residence at CC, is having a busy year. Throughout 2016, Chavez, visiting assistant professor of English and film and media studies, published five works in four months, and has two more pieces to be published in Fall 2017.
Chavez is part of CC’s Riley Scholars program, which started in 1988 with the goal of diversifying CC’s faculty. The program sponsors a selection of Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral students each year to work and teach on campus. The program has produced many current tenure-track professors, including Mario Montano, associate professor of anthropology, and Claire Garcia, professor of English. Chavez is a post-doctoral student and has been teaching courses in the Departments of English and Film and Media Studies throughout this academic year. Before teaching, Chavez worked as a thesis writing specialist in CC’s Colket Center for Academic Excellence. She has also worked as Program Director to Young Chicago Authors and founded the literary webzine GirlSpeak.
Chavez’s recent publications address varying topics, such as life and death, violence against women, medically induced seizures, and the military. Chavez says she, “considers art a vehicle for community mobilization,” which is what led her to include themes of “power, agency, and activism” in her work. Chavez says her time at CC has been transformative. She explains, “teaching at Colorado College has inspired me to couple rigorous writing production with a holistic concern for the whole student.”
Chavez also says “writing is psychological, emotional, and physical,” and always makes a point to “incorporate well-being exercises into CC coursework to balance the effects of creative or thesis production.” These exercises include walks before writing responses to assigned readings, pleasure reading as homework, and time to write freely about the difficulties of writing.
The Riley Scholars program has allowed Chavez time to sharpen her teaching skills and advance her experience as a professorial candidate. Chavez says she is grateful for this opportunity, as teaching is her ultimate goal, and she is hoping to find somewhere to teach permanently. Listen to Chavez’s recent audio documentaries in “The Pinch Literary Journal” and “Noise Medium.” Her graphic essay “Warning U. S. Military” is also available. In the fall of 2017, she will have two more works published in Black Warrior Review and Pilgrimage Magazine.