Around the Block
Libby Rittenberg, former CC economics professor, faculty assistant to the president, and dean of summer programs, is now wearing a new CC hat – ombudsperson, a position she will hold for a minimum of two years.
Rittenberg, who retired in 2010, started in her new position on July 1, taking over from Jane Cauvel. “It’s a good opportunity to continue to be part of the CC community,” Rittenberg said. “The position came at the right time. It’s part-time, and it allows me to make what I hope will be a valuable contribution. Plus, it’s an opportunity to learn something new, in an entirely different field.”
Rittenberg was nominated by both staff and faculty members, and is appreciative of that implicit vote of confidence. She attended “ombuds training school” in Orlando, Fla., this summer, and was surprised at the variety of organizations that employ an ombudsperson – everything from the F.B.I. to Coca-Cola to colleges and universities. The four major principles of the ombuds office are confidentiality, informality, independence, and neutrality, and the CC ombudsperson reports to the audit committee of the Board of Trustees and to the college president.
Rittenberg says she will be dealing mainly with “issues” rather than “disputes,” as many matters that come to the ombudsperson are not full—blown arguments but rather concerns that can fester if not addressed. She will identify trends, rather than report on individual cases, and in that way help to bring about change, if necessary. She plans to visit as many departments as possible during the next few months in order to explain what the office is about and how it can help CC employees.
Originally from Charleston, S.C., Rittenberg came to Colorado College in 1989 as an associate economics professor interested in international economic development. She applied for a position at the college – the only school she looked at that was not on the Eastern Seaboard – after seeing an ad that specifically mentioned international experience as a plus. Besides the opportunity to become part of such a fine liberal arts college, she selected Colorado College because of the value it places on an international perspective, and because it was the only school she interviewed at in which people from a variety of departments came to the presentation interview. “At all the other schools, it was only the people in the department who came to the ‘job talk,’ as we call it. At CC, I was struck by how many people from various departments attended. I thought, ‘Wow, people from different departments talk to each other here.’ That made an impression,“ she said.
Rittenberg earned a B.A. in economics-mathematics and Spanish from Simmons College in Boston, and master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. She initially was drawn to economics because of the way economists look at issues, rather than by the issues themselves. “Economists look at so many different kinds of issues beyond what people think,” she said. “That framework becomes a useful device, and has been useful in so many things I have done at CC.”
Her research areas include international trade, sources of economic growth, stabilization/liberalization policies, the transition of centrally planned economies, Third World debt, productivity analysis, and the Turkish economy. Rittenberg has visited Turkey more than 30 times, in large part because her husband, Nasit Ari, a research engineer whom she met while folk dancing when she was an economist at Mathematica, Inc., in Princeton, N.J., is from Istanbul.
Rittenberg keeps her hand in economics by working on the third edition of her book, “Principles of Economics,” co-authored with Timothy Tregarthen and published by Flat World Knowledge. In an effort to keep the cost of textbooks down, the book is an open-source textbook, based on the iTunes model, in which consumers can purchase and download as much or as little of the book as they want. “We’ll see how it goes,” she said. “It’s still a test model.”
Rittenberg enjoys hiking below tree line and riding her electric bike, and makes it a point to spend time outdoors every day. In recent years she started taking piano lessons, something she hasn’t pursued since junior high school. She also enjoys the arts, especially concerts, plays, and opera. Her passion for the arts meshed well with her six-year tenure as dean of summer programs, as she enjoyed spending summers in Colorado Springs attending as many of the arts and cultural events as she could. She has served on the boards of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, the Colorado Springs Conservatory, the Bee Vradenburg Foundation, and the Foundation for School District 11.
Rittenberg can be reached at 330-0410 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A self-described email and phone junkie, Rittenberg will return an email or call as soon as possible. Her September office hours at Tutt Library, Room 212 are 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Tuesdays and 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays. Office hours for subsequent months will be posted outside the ombuds office and on the ombuds website: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/ombuds/. She also is more than willing to meet people off-campus; call or email her to make arrangements.
On Saturday, May 5, family and friends of Evan Spirito ’10 gathered on CC campus to dedicate a bench in his memory. Evan passed away November 2, 2011 after a valiant three-year struggle with lung cancer. Evan played lacrosse at CC. Following the final men’s lacrosse home game on May 5, Evan’s family, lacrosse teammates and friends dedicated his bench which is located at the top of the Tiger Trail behind McGregor. As a close friend of Chris Quon ’09, Evan’s bench is next to the tree planted in memory of Chris, both overlooking Washburn Field where they spent many hours together.
In addition to this bench, the Assistant Lacrosse Coach’s Office in El Pomar Sports Complex is in memory of Evan and in recognition of the support he received from his coaches and fellow athletes at CC.
Spirito’s jersey, No. 19, and Quon’s jersey, No. 12, hang in the CC press box for all home men’s lacrosse games, and hang on the CC team bench when the team travels for away games.
By Laurel Hecker ’13
Each year, the Center for Service and Learning recognizes students, faculty, and community members who are outstanding examples of what it means to serve others. Volunteers, student leaders, professors, student groups, and community organizations are honored in various award categories. Though recipients do their work with no expectations of reward, the Service Award Recognition Dessert (SARD) is a yearly opportunity to acknowledge on-going acts of selflessness, impassioned leadership, and community involvement. This year, on April 26 at McHugh Commons, the Center for Service and Learning recognized 18 exceptional people and groups from the extended CC community with 11 unique awards.
Spirit Awards: Annette Daymon, Kelsey Fowlkes ’13, Kristen Wells ’12, Tessa Harland ’13, Emily Burton-Boehr ’12, Qua Nguyen ’13
Outstanding Commitment to Social Change: Samantha Barlow ’13
Commitment Beyond the Course Award: Michaela Kobsa-Mark ’15
Award for Innovation in the Curriculum: Re Evitt
Organizational Leadership Award: Cassie Benson ’12
Innovative Leadership Award: Kathleen Carroll ’13
Teamwork Awards: Early Birds, CREATE
Partnership Award: Concrete Couch
Outstanding Initiative by a First-Year: Christine Odegi ’15, Skyler Trieu ’15
Class of 1981 Outstanding Community Service Award: Marley Hamrick ’12
Anabel and Jerry McHugh Director’s Award:
The awards ceremony in McHugh Commons on April 26.
Tom Cronin, the McHugh Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College, has published a new book, “Leadership Matters: Unleashing the Power of Paradox.” The book offers a different view of leadership and does not emphasize specific rules for or characteristics of effective leaders. Instead, Cronin and co-author Michael Genovese, of Loyola Marymount University, see leadership as more nuanced and filled with paradox –for example, they point out that Americans want leaders who are like themselves yet better than themselves. Americans yearn for leaders to serve the common good – yet simultaneously serve particular interests. Leadership, they says, is a realm in which rules only occasionally apply and how-to prescriptions obscure more than they enlighten.
“Ideal leaders help create options and opportunities – help clarify problems and choices, build morale and coalitions, inspire others, and provide a vision of the possibilities and promise of a better organization, community, or world,” states the book. “Asking whether leadership can be taught is the wrong question. Can leadership be learned? is the better question.”
Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian, calls the book “an absolute tour-de-force – one of the most wide-ranging, fascinating, intricate studies of leadership I have ever read.”
Pledge Class President
Lifelong improvement is a central tenet of Kappa Sigma, and community service is a key part of that growth. Every member of the fraternity participates in volunteer activities, and no less is expected of the incoming pledges, who are tested by their dedication to both the fraternity and the community. As the latest Kappa Sigma pledge class, we chose to explore the world of organic farming by spending a day helping farmer Doug Wiley at the Larga Vista Ranch.
For most of us, it was the furthest we had been from CC for reasons other than skiing, backpacking, or climbing. Located about 30 minutes east of Pueblo, the Larga Vista Ranch has been family owned and operated since 1917. After making our way down a country road, we found the ranch, and Doug stood waiting with a couple of shovels. Doug’s handshake spoke to the difficulty of his labor; his thickly calloused hand felt like the gnarled branches of an oak.
Our task for the day was simple: build about 15 rows of seedbeds for the Wiley family’s personal garden. But what seemed simple in theory took a day’s worth of effort under the Colorado sun. Each bed was built to a specific width and height, depending on the type of crop that Doug wanted to plant there. Shoveling dirt proved a lot hard than it looks, and by the end of the day each of us had a new appreciation for the work it takes to get food to our table. While I’m sure Doug could have dug the same number of beds in half the time, he really appreciated our help and sent us off with several frozen bratwursts as a thank-you gift. It wasn’t quite “Dirty Jobs,” but we headed back to the car covered in a layer of sweat and dirt.
While I can’t speak for the rest of my pledge brothers, I never expected a commitment to service to be such a large part of the pledge process. Now, as a member of Kappa Sigma, I’m incredibly proud of the community service work of the Beta Omega chapter of Kappa Sigma here at Colorado College. All it took was a day of our time, but by getting off campus and doing some manual labor, we learned a lot about each other and got to help a local organic farmer. And nothing feels better than crawling into bed after a day of hard work.
Colorado College’s Wellness Team
recently organized a “Walk the Block” to help promote healthfulness and get people on their feet, away from their desk, and out of the office.
The event, held on Tuesday, April 10, Colorado’s Culture of Health Day, featured a .93-mile walk. The walk began outside Tutt Library and went around the block (Cascade, Uintah, Nevada, and Cache la Poudre), beginning and ending at a table manned by the Wellness Team and laden with T-shirts, water bottles, pedometers, and snacks for the participants.
The idea originated during a meeting of the interdepartmental Wellness Team, chaired by Shaleen Prehm, HR manager/benefits administrator.
The group was discussing ways to encourage staff and faculty to exercise when Angela Hines ’82, P’12, P’12 , P’13, associate director of alumni and parent relations, mentioned that the New Mexico Department of
Health in Santa Fe, where she worked previously, encouraged staff to get away from their desks for a morning and afternoon break and go for a walk. “It became almost a craze down there,” Hines said. For there, the idea took form.
Ann DeStefano, psychology staff assistant, was one of the approximately 30 participants. “It’s a great way to get some exercise and build community,” she said. “I like the idea of building community in a healthy way.”
Jim Swanson, director of financial aid, was another who came out for the event. “This is the most stressful time in the financial aid office,” he said. “I owe it to myself to get out. Plus there’s great weather and great congeniality.”
“I’m doing it for the health benefits,” said Jayne Blewitt, alumni and parent relations specialist. “It’s a good way to get out of the office and get it in gear!”
The Wellness Team hopes that “Walk the Block” develops legs and becomes a part of people’s daily routine. “It would be great to look out the window and see people walking in groups,” Hines said. “It would also help develop a sense of community.”
“Walk the Block” was a collaborative effort. Gina Arms, director of purchasing came up with the T-shirt idea. Shaleen contacted Chris Coulter in facilities services about mile markers along the route. Kelly Hugger ’08, program coordinator for students and young alumni, worked on the advertising, posters, and the printed map. David White, help desk manager, created the notice for the events listserv. Linda Petro, assistant to the president and board of trustees, arranged for the food. Sara Rotunno, assistant director of resident life, plans on sending out occasional reminders about walking. Ryan Patterson ’12 donned the Prowler costume for the event. A raffle was held for three iPod shuffles and four smaller gifts, with everyone pitching in with the giveaway items.
The team’s hope is that staff and faculty will walk every day, clubs will form, and a campus walking community will hit its stride. “We hope everyone will have a pair of tennis shoes or walking shoes sitting under their desk, just waiting for a turn around campus at least three times a week,” Hines said.
The SOCC (Sounds of Colorado College), the student-run radio station, is now streaming in Rastall Cafe and Benji’s. According to Jake Brownell ’12, the general manager, this has been a goal for a long time. When the radio station was first broadcast in 2008, it was on HD3 and needed a special radio. Rastall used to have one of these radios and played SOCC, but in its early stages the radio station’s reception proved inconsistent. In the early days of the SOCC, there weren’t as many shows, and students occasionally wouldn’t show up for their shifts, so there would be dead air. Now the radio station streams KEXP from Seattle when they are not broadcasting, so that is no longer a problem.
Jake and the rest of the staff worked with Bon Appétit and the AV department to kick-start this initiative. The radio station is now constantly streaming in Rastall Cafe and Benji’s. The process began at the beginning of year, but it wasn’t implemented until the end of Block 5.
This project has generated very positive reactions. Most students welcome the diversity of music now available, as opposed to the repetitive radio pop music that had been playing before the switch. The one complaint received is that some students find some types of music annoying at certain times of day (for example, some people do not appreciate electronic music in the morning). To that end, Jake invites students to take the initiative and get more involved in the SOCC.
This innovation was a real morale boost for the staff. It is primarily an online radio station broadcast from a studio in Loomis Hall. Now there is a guarantee that someone is listening to a show, which inspires the DJs to take shows more seriously. They feel like they are providing a service to this campus.
This success has served as an impetus for other projects. According to Jake, “Student radio should be a real hub of sound-rich content.” He is constantly looking for ways to expand the SOCC beyond just the music. There are plans to launch small radio journalism projects focused on campus culture. This would entail five-minute segments to be run at the top of the hour featuring some topic relevant to the CC campus. Jake also would like to see student poetry or other forms of radio journalism be incorporated into the station. These projects will allow the organization to expand and will include new people and other interested parties.
Jake was a DJ for two years before becoming the general manager this year. The other positions on the staff include the events and promotions manager, Jitu Varanasi ’13; operations manager Teo Price-Broncucia ’14; and program director, Jamie Haran ’12. The SOCC tries to sponsor at least one event each block. They have recently partnered with The Ninth Block to host DJ nights. This is a great opportunity for the SOCC DJs to do a live set. They also sponsor events that feature student musicians and occasionally they bring in nationally touring bands.
The SOCC is a great resource for other student events that want music. They see it as part of their mandate as an organization to facilitate the availability of music around campus.
Colorado College has begun work on the new Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center, which will be located at 909 N. Nevada Ave., just slightly south of the Children’s Center’s current location at 931 N. Nevada Ave. Work is scheduled to be completed by late August.
The new facility will accommodate 58 children, from infants to preschoolers, nearly doubling the number of children currently enrolled in CC’s Children’s Center. Construction of the Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center is funded by a gift from the Schlessman family in memory of Cheryl Schlessman Bennett ’77, an education major who was passionate about children’s welfare.
The current center, located in a retrofitted house with confining interior spaces, cramped rooms, and numerous stairs, is less than ideal for young children, said Chris Coulter, director of facilities services. The new children’s center will have a long, low bungalow profile. The single-story building will feature six classrooms, with two classrooms for each age group; a multipurpose room; library; snack area/kitchen; space for nursing mothers; and a teacher resource room. The children’s center will open to a grassy area to the east, away from Nevada Avenue. Outside features include a rubber soft-fall area, winding tricycle paths, and a community garden with planter beds for the children.
Sustainability features include hydronic radiant heat flooring in the infant spaces, numerous east-facing windows and dormers to allow ample ambient light into the classrooms; natural gas hydronic heating throughout the facility; dual ballast light switching and occupancy sensors; integration with the campus Building Management System for optimal indoor air quality and reduced energy consumption; all LED lighting, interior and exterior; high performance glass and window frames; and the inclusion of mechanical system commissioning including building envelope thermal imaging to insure the facility operates as intended. Total indoor square footage is 10,706, with 9,249 square feet of usable, ground floor space, Coulter said.
In order to accommodate the new building, two Colorado College-owned houses were demolished. CC worked with Habitat for Humanity at the houses, located at 210 and 214 E. Cache la Poudre St., to salvage items such as windows, doors, mirrors, hardware, and other finish features to donate to ReStore, Habitat’s local resale outlet which sells reusable and surplus building materials to the public.
CC also worked with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, allowing them to use the buildings for fire drills prior to the buildings’ demolition.
The house at 901 N. Nevada Ave., is not going to be demolished. The northern exterior walls have been removed, and the house will be completely renovated, with new construction attached to the northern face to expand the building and create the new Children’s Center.
The architectural and contractor firms working on the project are both local businesses.
The current Children’s Center will be converted into short-term housing for faculty and staff.
By Stormy Burns, music department office coordinator
As many of you know, in December Shane and I attended an exciting celebration. The Berkeley astrophysics group that Shane helped establish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. I’d like to share some “bests” of our trip to Stockholm.
Best big event: The Royal Ball after the ceremony and banquet.
Best little event: The Christmas markets we found in the squares around Stockholm.
Best walk: Strolling in the cold and looking at the department store windows at night.
Best ride: The taxi ride from the hotel to the Town Hall to join our spouses for the banquet. (Five women in ball gowns and wraps can really fill a vehicle!)
Best big meal: The royal banquet, complete with fireworks as dessert was served.
Best small meal: Lunch in a diner in old town Stockholm. (No burgers, however.)
Best drink: All that French champagne!
Best conversation: Overhearing why there is no Nobel prize in mathematics.
Best gifts: Little wooden Swedish horses; tiny wooden star ornaments and candle holders.
Best tacky gift: Replica dynamite sticks made of black licorice and wrapped in paper.
Best group gathering: The Swedish lunch on the island of Fjaderholmarnas, in Stockholm’s archipelago, with the physics team.
Most fun in a museum: Watching the Nobel Laureates and other Ph.D.s romp on the play structures in the Pippi Longstocking Museum lobby.
Best hair: Judy Goldhaber’s electric shade of orange that she chose for the celebration week.
Best tiara and gown: The Crown Princess of Sweden’s blue gown and headpiece.
Best trumpet fanfare: At the beginning of the royal promenade to the banquet hall.
Best tourist event: The bus tour of the city with the Nobel laureates and their families.
I wrote and posted pictures to a blog I called “Stormy Adventures”: http://stormybburns.blogspot.com/ There are lots of photos of each day of our adventures and some video clips of the trumpet fanfare and banquet. At this time, the blog has had almost 4,000 hits – it must be people looking for Saul and Shane in their white tie and tails!
The link to the official Nobel website is www.nobelprize.org
It’s not often that a class assignment becomes a tangible enterprise, but CC’s new on-campus bar is the direct result of an economics course. A first block economics course, “Entrepreneurship,” was instrumental in launching The Ninth Block, the on-campus bar.
At the start of the school year, seniors Lee Carter, Ryan Patterson, and Luke Urban, and juniors Bryce Daniels and Tyler Thorne took Economics and Business Professor Larry Stimpert’s class in which the assignment was to write a business plan. Their first idea was a combination barbershop and bar, but they quickly dropped the barbershop side of the business and focused instead on creating a social space on campus in which students could gather and talk over a drink.
The result is The Ninth Block, currently located in La’au’s Taco Shop behind the Spencer Building. Daniels, a golfer, came up with the name, which is derived from the 19th hole in golf, commonly meaning the bar or clubhouse. CC’s Block Plan originally had nine blocks, and Patterson liked the historical significance and double connotation of the name.
“I strongly believe in the importance of students having a place to meet and socialize that doesn’t require an invitation. This gives students an option who might like to have a drink with a friend or group,” said CC President Jill Tiefenthaler.
Students under 21 can enter the bar but are not served alcohol. Entrants’ IDs are checked, and different wrist bands are worn by students over and under 21 years of age.
“We wanted a constructive place where kids could gather. There was a lot of support from the administration and the students,” said Urban. “What we were hoping to do was create an alternative to the house party scene.”
The group was encouraged by Stimpert, who liked the plan but kept challenging the students to make it better. ”He not only pushed our group, he pushed the whole class. He challenged everyone to do cool things with their project. He expected a lot out of everyone,” Urban said. “If it wasn’t for Larry, none of this would have happened.”
The on-campus bar, which serves CC students of age, faculty, and staff, is a pilot program, but Patterson said the goal is to find it a permanent, on-campus location. Colorado College previously had a campus bar, Benjamin’s Basement (also known as Benny’s) in the Rastall Center, which opened in 1975 and served 3.2 beer, soft drinks, and snacks. It ceased to exist when the building was enlarged, remodeled, and renamed the Worner Campus Center in 1987.
The students’ project fits in with an administrative goal to provide a location on or near campus where students 21 years can meet, socialize, and drink responsibly. Once the idea began to take shape, the students got in touch with Mike Edmonds, dean of students, and President Tiefenthaler, to discuss the possibilities of operating an on-campus bar. Both were open to the proposal, and Edmonds put the group in touch with Joseph Coleman, a local businessman who owns several restaurants. The students formed a partnership (PDUCT Management, derived from the initials of the five students’ last names) with Coleman, and Coleman agreed to house The Ninth Block in La’au’s, where it operates after the restaurant closes.
“It is an exciting opportunity, particularly for the students who came up with the idea,” said John Lauer, senior associate dean of students and director of residential life.
The bar, which is open from 9:15 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, serves nachos, chips and salsa, six different beers, and has a “limited but adequate” bar; it does not, however, serve shots. The students said that was a deliberate decision, designed to help promote responsible drinking and to distance the bar from the house party atmosphere. “It should be a place where a professor and student would be comfortable going after dinner at the professor’s house to talk about the issues of the day,” Carter said.
An on-campus bar helps minimize the risks of drinking, Patterson said. “This pilot program gives kids the opportunity to show they can be responsible. No one wants to mess it up.”
“The Ninth Block presents so many possibilities for learning,” Lauer said. “It is truly a unique pilot that offers hands-on business experience, another gathering place for the campus community, and a chance for the administration to see how all involved respond to the project.”
Although the entrepreneurship class was only a block long (and all five got an A in the class), they continued to work on the project the entire semester, even spending their winter break getting their bartender certifications. The group would spend long hours discussing, developing, and discarding plans. They would take over a classroom, writing ideas on the chalkboard and fine-tuning them. Stimpert can vouch for that: “They developed a high level of commitment to their idea, and long after Block One was over, I’d see them meeting together in a Palmer classroom late in the afternoon or at night hashing out details,” he said.
The students found they were constantly thinking about the challenges of getting the bar up and running– and knew the others in the group were too, based on the flurry of late-night texts and emails. “It was the perfect opportunity to learn what it is like to be a business owner and to operate a business on a small scale, said Carter. “It was a great experience.”
The bar’s founders said that the Block Plan definitely contributed to their commitment to the project, and that it would have been challenging to maintain their momentum under a semester plan. “It definitely was one of the top five educational experiences of my life,” Daniels said.
“The entrepreneurship course represents the best aspects of teaching and learning in Colorado College’s Block Plan,” said Stimpert. “The students immersed themselves in the creative task of developing a complete business plan in three and one-half weeks. They benefitted from the opportunity to work with nine successful entrepreneurs – most of them Colorado College alumni – who participated in the course. But most of the credit for the launch of The Ninth Block must go to these students. Their individual personalities quickly jelled into a hardworking and effective group.”
Student reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “People are telling us that it’s fantastic, that it’s just what the campus needs,” said Urban. “Even people we don’t know are coming up and saying they were sick of the party scene, and it’s so great to be able to go someplace close by and have a real conversation. It makes all the work worthwhile.”
Patterson said the endeavor has been the defining project of his senior year; a “capstone experience.”
“I think it will be very rewarding in the end. We want to show everyone that this is a viable, sustainable concept,” Patterson said. “It definitely improves campus life.”