Dispatches From Japan

Two Colorado College professors and a former employee were in Tokyo when the 8.9 earthquake struck March 11. Here is a round-up of messages and news they have sent:

Joan Ericson, Professor of Japanese Language and Literature
I appreciate all of the messages from many others who have asked about our welfare in Japan.
Jim and I are fine here in Kyoto.  It seems strange to think that just last Saturday I was up in Sendai to give a talk (through Fulbright) at Tohoku University. I’m sooo glad that we were safe at home Friday afternoon when the terrible earthquake hit the northeastern area of Japan.  We’ve been glued to the TV watching news – tsunami waves are unbelievably forceful – they have swept cars, houses, and large ships along in their wake. The three national TV stations canceled all of the usual programming from Friday afternoon to now (Sunday afternoon) to show news and real time footage of the disaster. For those who couldn’t stand the harsh reality any longer on Friday, there were several channels of soothing music and images (Grand Canyon and the like).
Unfortunately the news seems to get worse with the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant and aftershocks.  It’s also a shock to hear the words “being exposed to radiation” (hibaku) being applied to those who’ve been affected by the released nuclear vapr – up until now this was part of the word “hibaku-sha” which was used for those who experienced the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
People in this general area told us that they felt the tremors on Friday afternoon, but we must have assumed that any tremor was just part of the process of a large building being demolished near us.  We’re far enough away from the Tohoku (northeast) area which has felt the brunt of the earthquake and tsunami, but are ever mindful of the unpredictable nature of earthquakes.

Dan Johnson, Associate Economics Professor
Just got back to my hotel again, as it was evacuated again to check for structural damage as there were some superficial cracks in the walls when I first returned.
Here’s the story as it developed here: I’m at a conference here in downtown Tokyo, due to present some research in international trade.  Midway through someone else’s presentation, the room started to rumble more than shake.  It wasn’t heavy, but was noticeable as an earthquake.  The speaker stopped to wait for it, and it kept on and on, growing stronger and stronger.  As the light fixtures started to swing, we all climbed under our desks, hoping that the worst would pass quickly.  But for several minutes that seemed like hours, it grew even stronger.  The room really vibrated, and people grew genuinely terrified.  I wasn’t scared yet, just amused, so I smiled and cracked jokes with my colleagues to keep the mood light.  After all, what are the odds against a killer quake on my first day of my first trip to Japan, right?
During a lull in the shaking, we heard the public siren outside calling for building evacuations, along with instructions to reach high ground as a precaution against a tsunami coming ashore.  That’s actually when I started to get scared.  We filed out in orderly fashion, and were thankfully already on a hilltop, so could watch as dozens of others streamed out of nearby buildings to join us in the hilltop courtyard between buildings.  The trees were swaying, the ornamental caps on one building were vibrating precipitously, sirens were blaring, and people were starting to panic.  Everyone had cell phones out, trying to call loved ones or get news.
We remained outside for the better part of an hour, with the ground still regularly trembling with aftershocks.  Slowly word trickled in about the enormity of the quake, where it was centered, how big the tsunami wave would (and wouldn’t) be, etc.  Security teams were remarkably calm and professional in checking buildings for gas leaks and fires and structural damage.
We called off the remainder of the afternoon’s conference, and I went back to my hotel, where elevators were of course not working.  So I climbed the 13 flights to my room, passing cracks in the wall that the bellhop asserted had definitely not been there that morning.  Upstairs, my room was still frequently swaying and vibrating with aftershocks, so I changed into warmer clothes and went back downstairs and outside to wait it out.
Looking around at the skyline, it would have been a major humanitarian disaster had the quake been centered here.  With millions of people in the city, skyscrapers on every block, streets clogged with cars and buses, construction cranes and industrial facilities in close proximity, it could have been horrific.  As it is, by 11 p.m. this evening, most subway and train lines have been checked and are back on limited service, stores are still stocking food and water, restaurants are open to serve meals, and the city is a little subdued but not too much the worse for wear.
So to celebrate surviving the Tokyo Quake of ’11, the conference group went out this evening for a fugu dinner (the Japanese pufferfish that must be prepared by a licensed chef because if prepared incorrectly it is fatally poisonous).  It was sublime.  And so is Tokyo.

Bob Kerwin: Former CC director of communications
Most Japanese have expected a big quake their whole lives. We do regular drills in hard hats and carrying survival kits – these came out for sure last Friday. But Tokyo is built for quakes and there was little damage in the city.
 While we had no idea if our ordeal was over, as the aftershocks lasted for hours, everyone’s attention switched to the horrific images on TV of the tsunami coming ashore. No drill could have prepared for that. Surviving the quake suddenly seemed inconsequential. Only family counted as everyone struggled for hours to contact their homes, many finally walking for hours in the absence of train service.
 Things are tense in Tokyo as the nuclear crisis has now taken center stage, but one has to admire the calm, communal approach to the danger. I can only contrast this to the alarmist foreign press that appears to live on incomplete information, hyperbole and more than a few accusations. I have yet to hear one person complain or point a finger in Tokyo. Emphasis is on the well-being of families, with coming to work entirely voluntary for most companies.
 If I had one wish out of this, other of course than for the reactors to cool down, it would be for the foreign press to find some objectivity and stop upsetting people needlessly. I get the impression that people in the US are more upset than here in Japan, where I can assure you we take the danger very seriously. It is amazing how a few well placed seeds in a paragraph of bland copy, like “desperate bid”, “catastrophic” (ahead of the fact) and, my own favorite, “apocalyptic” can stir people’s fears. We may have the radiation, but at least we don’t have such a toxic press to deal with.
All of my colleagues and I are buoyed by the many messages of support from friends over the horizon.

Christina Torres-Rouff Receives Fellowship; Steven Hayward Receives Grant

Two Colorado College professors have received recognition for their work in the form of fellowships and grants.

Associate Anthropology Professor Christina Torres-Rouff has been awarded a Summer 2011 Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. During her fellowship, Torres-Rouff will draft two article-length manuscripts based on her National Science Foundation–supported work on the biological and cultural constituents of identity in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, DC, is an institute of Harvard University dedicated to supporting scholarship internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape and Pre-Columbian studies through fellowships, meetings, exhibitions and publications.

Assistant English Professor Steven Hayward has been awarded a $9,000 grant from the Embassy of Canada to support the further development of a course titled, “Topics in Literature: Canadian Literature as Cultural Production.” The most recent offering of the course took place in Toronto and Montreal.  This grant support will allow additional Canadian cities (Vancouver, Winnipeg and Ottawa) to be added to future versions of the course and will assist in funding student travel to and from Canada.

Six Named Professorships for 2011-12 Announced

Six named professorships were announced at the faculty meeting on Monday, March 14. The appointments range from two to three years, are not immediately renewable, and carry an annual stipend of $7,500 to be used for professional development purposes. The basis for selection was exemplary teaching and scholarship. The new appointments are:

Crown Family Endowed Professor for Innovation in the Arts:
Ofer Ben-Amots;
music. This is the first year for this professorship.

The A.E. and Ethel Irene Carlton Professor of Social Sciences:
Eve Grace;
political science. Juan Lindau held the Carlton Professorship from 2005-2007; Mario Montaño is the current holder.

The Christine S. Johnson Professorship in Music:
Victoria Levine;
music. Richard Agee held the first Christine S. Johnson Professorship from 2009-2010 and is the current holder.

The John Lord Knight Chair for the Study of Free Enterprise:
Vibha Kapuria-Foreman;
economics. Larry Stimpert held the John Lord Knight Chair from 2005-2007; Aju Fenn is the current holder.

The NEH Endowed Distinguished Teaching Professorship in the Humanities:
Joan Ericson
, East Asian Languages. Barry Sarchett held the NEH Professorship from 2005-2007; Tom Lindblade is the current holder.

 The Nancy Bryson Schlosser and C. William Schlosser Professorship in the Arts:
Kate Leonard
; art. Gale Murray held the Schlosser Professorship from 2006-2008; Peggy Berg is the current holder.

John Simons Publishes ‘Peckinpah’s Tragic Westerns’

English Professor John Simons has published a new book, “Peckinpah’s Tragic Westerns: A Critical Study,” examining the work of filmmaker Sam Peckinpah and placing it within the 2,000-year-old tradition of Western tragedy. The tradition, enfolding the Greeks, Shakespeare, and modern tragedians, is represented in Peckinpah’s art in numerous ways, and the fact that he worked in the mode throughout his career distinguishes him from most American film directors. Films covered include “Ride the High Country,” “Noon Wine,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.” Comments on the book jacket by renowned writer, producer, and director Garner Simmons note that the book “provides fresh and, at times, profound insights into how and why Peckinpah’s work touches us in such a deep and visceral way.” The book is co-authored with Robert Merrill, a colleague of Simons’ while in graduate school at the University of Chicago.

Get to Know: Pam Shipp

Pam Shipp ’69 has come home. Although in some ways, she never really left.

Shipp joined the Boettcher Counseling Center in January, where she works in the same office she had in 1985, when she had just completed her Ph.D. in counseling psychology.  She currently is a part-time counselor at the center, as well as the founder of a leadership consulting business, PL Shipp & Associates. The tagline on her website, “Leadership and Service,” is indicative of the direction Shipp’s life has taken.

“You can’t separate the two. Part of my job is to serve,” she says.

Shipp has a legacy of leadership and service. After graduating from CC with a degree in political science, Shipp earned a master’s degree in counseling from George Washington University, then served as a counselor and administrator in Colorado Springs School District 11 for 15 years. “I found I wanted to spend more time with the kids, and I couldn’t do that. I was restricted by time and the calendar.” So she returned to school to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Denver. Upon completing her doctorate, she served as a counselor at CC, opened a private practice, and started working at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). “Juggling three jobs became too wild, so I left CC to concentrate on my practice and CCL,” she said.

Her private practice focused on adolescents and their families, while at the Center for Creative Leadership she led executive training and development courses and managed their nonprofit programs. The two positions were not as disparate as they might seem. “I’m a cognitive behaviorist; I believe thoughts drive behavior,” Shipp said. “In both cases, I worked at getting at the root cause of who you are, in order to help that person on their journey, to be the best they could be.”

Shipp ran her private practice for 15 years, in some cases seeing former District 11 students who came to her with their own children.

In 2007 she started PL Shipp & Associates, an executive coaching and leadership consulting business, based in Colorado Springs.

Working with students was a primary reason she was eager to return to CC, and in many ways, her life has come full circle. She was a student at CC in the ‘60s, dealing with questions of identity, relationships, and adjustment issues. Today, she counsels CC students with the same concerns. “It is rewarding to connect with them. I just want them to recognize who they are and maximize their potential. These students have so much to offer.

CC Honors Staff at Recognition Awards Ceremony

Colorado College held its staff recognition ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 15, in Bemis Great Hall.  Following opening remarks by President Richard F. Celeste, the service awards were presented by members of senior staff. Among those recognized for their service were:
FORTY YEARS
Susan Ashley (five years as staff)
Horst Richardson
THIRTY-FIVE YEARS
Donna Engle
THIRTY YEARS
Jeffrey Noblett (five years as staff)
Judith Reynolds
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS
Diane Benninghoff
James O’Neill
TWENTY YEARS
Phillip Apodaca
Rochelle Mason
Peter Ordway
Marlene Thompson
FIFTEEN YEARS
Daniel Crossey
Alan Davis
Lisa Dearborn
Petra Garcia
Cecelia Gonzales
Rose Pacheco
Jessica Raab
Fredrick Shoemaker
Cynthia Tappan
Stephen Weaver
TEN YEARS
Josh Bailey
Joseph Bonnett
James Cain
Kristie Damgaard
Don Davidson
LeDreka Davis
Rebecca Harner
Karin Henriksen
Kristopher Higginbotham
Linda Kola
Ginger Morgan
Juan Pacheco
Elizabeth Pudder
Joseph Sharman
Michael Starr
Elizabeth VanVliet*
Barbara Wilson
David Ziemba
FIVE YEARS
Jessica Bennett
Mark Budway
John Calderhead
Michelle Christiansen
Connie Dudgeon
Jan Edwards
Jason Fox
Cheryl Gamble
Heather Horton
Ronald Housman
Timothy Huelsman
Shonda Johnson
Mark Jones
Karen Klein
Barbara Loerbs
Scott Lowenberg
Jacqueline Lundquist
Ann-Marie Manning
Barbara Mitchell
Christina Ordonez-Campos
Andrea Pacheco
Robb Pike
Kathleen Pogue
Gail Rogers
Tracy Santa
Shana Schroeder
Ryan Smith
Jeff Steele
Karen To
Thomas Walters
Gretchen Wardell
Leslie Weddell
Debra Zarecky

* omitted last year

CC Students Join National Recycling Competition

By Emil G. Dimantchev ’11
Colleges and universities across the U.S. are getting in shape, preparing for a fierce competition. But this contest is not over sport or debates. Educational institutions are locking horns over a different discipline: sorting trash. This year, 567 schools will show their commitment to lean waste streams during Recyclemania, a nationwide annual competition. Colorado College, where preparations for the tournament run high among college administrators and students, will proudly join the national effort. The competition, which takes place for the 11th time this year, started on Feb. 6 and runs until April 2.

In addition to giving schools a way to show each other who’s who in the world of waste minimization, Recyclemania also helps colleges assess their recycling programs against those of other schools. The competitors are ranked according to four different criteria: amount of recycled material per capita, amount of total recycled material, amount of total waste per capita, and recycling rate (the percentage of waste recycled). These rankings tell a comprehensive story about waste on a college campus, and they say a lot about us at Colorado College.

This year, CC is participating for the third time in Recyclemania. In the past, we have done well at recycling itself. During the 2009 competition, we recycled 46 percent of our total weekly waste, on average. As a result, we placed 22nd out of 206 schools. A year later, we ranked third in recycling rates at the 2010 competition. However, we have consistently ranked among the worst schools in the “total waste per capita” category. We throw away more stuff than most other schools do, even though we recycle a good portion of it. During the 2009 tournament, each CC student generated 91 pounds of total waste per week. In comparison, the average student in the nation threw away 53 pounds. This placed us 130th out of 148 schools in the category of waste minimization.

Director of Custodial Operations Tom Allen coordinates our participation in Recyclemania. Allen commented on CC’s past performance in the tournament, saying that people are usually more familiar with the idea of recycling rather than waste minimization. He said, however, that it is possible for a school do to very well at both. “We just need to drastically lower our total waste and still continue to recycle at a high percentage as we do now,” advised Allen.

To improve recycling and waste minimization, Colorado College has enacted several initiatives, including a single-stream recycling system and composting at Rastall and the CC Garden. Some of the latest initiatives of EnAct, the student environmental club, have focused on phasing out plastic bags and water bottles on campus. These efforts, however, are not always enough. “Beyond these efforts, a lot depends on individual and departmental choices,” said CC Sustainability Coordinator Emily Wright ’04. Wright suggested several ways students and members of the college community can minimize waste: using one’s purchasing power to avoid excessive packaging; buying in bulk; choosing reusable, reliable, necessary products with long lives over disposable items; and carrying reusable items such as coffee mugs, water bottles, grocery bags, and bulk containers.

At CC, Recyclemania is not only a time for comparing statistics, but also for many students to meet their trash face to face during EnAct’s “Trash Peak.” For the event, employees of CC’s facilities grounds team, custodial services, and students collaborate to heap one day’s worth of CC trash around the Worner Quad flagpole. EnAct co-chairs Mallory LeeWong and Katherine Peterson said the purpose of the event is to raise awareness regarding waste at CC and to emphasize that trash adds up quickly on a college campus. “Many people do not consider how much trash they generate, or how much an entire campus generates,” the co-chairs said. At the event, students truly get close with their trash, as they audit trash bags, gloves provided, to find out what it is exactly that we send to the landfill every day. Previous years’ audits showed that much of what goes into the trash bags is recyclable, compostable, or reusable. According to Wright, “in 2009 … 45 percent of the material in Trash Peak could have been diverted from the landfill. In 2010, it was down to 40 percent.” LeeWong and Peterson invite everybody to visit the Trash Peak, date to-be-announced, enjoy some music and grilling by the Carnivore Club, and join other students in the trash’s audit, (gloves provided).

In addition to Trash Peak, CC will kick off Recyclemania with “Bring Your Own Mug Day at Colorado Coffee,” which is a collaborative event by EnAct and Bon Apetit. On Wednesday, Feb. 9, Colorado Coffee will not be offering any hot or cold disposable cups, to encourage people to bring their own reusable ones. If you don’t have a mug, you will have the option to buy a reusable one with your gold card.

In the next weeks, we will have a chance to see how many recyclables we throw in the trash, and perhaps what it takes to always carry a reusable mug around. But we also are entering a nationwide recycling brawl. And this year, CC can do better to uphold its image as a leader in sustainability.

Get to Know: Chris Coulter

One might almost think that Chris Coulter, the new director of facilities services, was destined to work at Colorado College.

Coulter comes to CC from Academy School District 20, where he served as the former executive director for construction management and sustainability. On Coulter’s first day at the D-20 job, architect Antoine Predock was selected to design one of the district’s premiere schools, the Discovery Canyon Campus. Predock is the same architect who designed CC’s Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center. “It’s ironic that I should work at the two places in town that have Predock buildings,” Coulter says.

One of the first things Coulter plans to do at CC is both very easy and very difficult. He plans to do a lot of listening. “I want to hear what is being said. And I want to be sure that what I’m hearing is being integrated into what we are doing.

“I want to get to know people, the facilities staff, and the culture of the campus,” he said.

Working together is a theme that comes up often when talking with Coulter. He’s eager to work with the various departments on campus involved in CC’s sustainability initiatives. He also is eager to get started on the new Worner Center renovation, which begins the day students leave campus in May, and must be completed before their return in August.

During Coulter’s seven and a half year tenure at D-20, he oversaw construction management and sustainability at the district’s 19 elementary schools, six middle schools, and six high schools. While there, he supervised the completion of a $163 million bond issue and a construction program that finished early and $10 million under budget.  In addition, Coulter led the on-time and under-budget completion of The Classical Academy’s (TCA) new 80,000-square-foot-campus.  The project, which was completed a year and a half ago at a cost of $120 per square foot,  features a full-size soccer and football competitive synthetic turf playing field, parking lot, elementary school for nearly 650 children, space for a home-school program, and 10 classrooms for their on-site partner Pikes Peak Community College.  The campus is the first of its kind in the state and currently is viewed as a model for how partnerships can benefit all participants.

While Coulter may be new to CC, he is not new to Colorado Springs. His father currently is a District 20 Board of Education member and spent the majority of his Air Force career as a biology instructor at the Air Force Academy. Coulter is a graduate of Rampart High School and played on the school’s 1987 undefeated basketball state champion team.  While in college, Coulter was an ROTC cadet and commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force in May 1993. He earned a B.A. in pre-engineering from DePauw University and a B.S. in engineering from Purdue University, and went on to earn a master’s in civil engineering from the University of Colorado—Boulder while in the Air Force.

He spent eight years in the Air Force as a civil engineering officer in places such as Florida, Nevada, Korea, and Central America.  The Air Force was great training, as “you had to be the engineer, tradesman, equipment agent, everything. We were self-sustained, and you had to figure it out.” That training, he says, serves him well in his current position.

He admits, however, that he is poor at home construction projects. “I have to make 12-14 trips to Home Depot,” he says. “But I’ll do it as many times as I have to in order to get it right.” He admires his staff; in fact, he says he “is humbled” by their skills. “They get it right, quickly, and on budget.”

Coulter is the father of an 11-year-old son, J.C., and an 8-year-old daughter, Peyton. His wife, Sandi, is a second-grade teacher at Antelope Trails Elementary School in District 20. Coulter enjoys coaching youth sports, especially football and basketball, and has been coaching the same group of fifth-graders since they were in preschool.

He also is very active in the Knights of Heroes Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to sons who have lost their fathers in combat. The organization runs a summer camp just outside of Ward, Colo.  Coulter, who recently was named chief operating officer of the foundation, plans all the camp activities and, for the last five years, has served as a mentor to two boys.

Additionally, for the past two years, Coulter has run (and finished) the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., a fundraiser for the camp. Both times, the boys he mentors and their mothers were at the finish line, cheering him on.

Former CC Hockey Player Lee Sweatt Gets the Last Laugh on New Teammates

Former CC hockey star Lee Sweatt ’07 got the last laugh on his teammates in his debut NHL game.

Sweatt, 25, played his first game for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, Jan 26. The Canucks told him he was going to lead the team on the ice for pregame warm-ups, so Sweatt skated out on the ice – alone. His new teammates remained in the tunnel, leaving him to skate the first few laps by himself in front of the home crowd. “We thought it was pretty funny,” teammate Alexandre Burrows said of the joke they played on the rookie.

Fast forward three periods, and Sweatt fires in the winning goal with 7:29 left in the game, beating the Nashville Predators 2-1.

 “I was like, ‘I can’t believe I just did that,’ but it was a great pass and I pretty much just shot the puck,” Sweatt said.

“I was just happy to get on the ice and it was kind of just the icing on the cake with the cherry on top. I never would have thought I would score in my first game. It’s definitely a dream come true,” he said.

The Canucks remain five points ahead of Detroit in the Western Conference and tied with Philadelphia for the NHL lead with 71 points. Their next game is Tuesday, Feb. 1 in Dallas against the Stars, after the annual All-Star break.

Steven Hayward Publishes ‘Don’t be Afraid’

Steven Hayward, Colorado College assistant professor of English, has published “Don’t be Afraid,” a darkly comic novel of adolescent anxiety featuring Jim Morrison  – not the lead singer of The Doors who died in 1971, but a chubby 17-year-old living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. This Jim Morrison was born days after the singer’s death, and Jimmy, as most people call him, has been living a largely invisible life, overshadowed by his older brother, and his stern and unyielding engineer father. When the older brother dies, the family’s suburban life is upended and any sense of normalcy is destroyed. The book features humor and energy, as Hayward weaves a story of the undercurrents of family life and the unpredictable ways lives can unfold. “Don’t be Afraid” is published by Knopf Canada.