Visiting Professor Andrew Westphal Experiences “CC Treasures” Teaching on Block Plan

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Andrew Westphal ’P20 is a physicist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. During Block 2, Westphal took a break from the Bay Area to teach the Scientific Revolutions First-Year Experience course, which focused specifically on relativity.

The experience of coming from a large university on the semester system to a small liberal arts college on the Block Plan gave Westphal an interesting perspective on CC. In regard to the Block Plan, Westphal quite simply says “I am sold!”

He explains that he was able to cover more material more in depth than while teaching multiple classes at a time, and that the pace of the class felt “luxuriously unhurried.” With all the time provided by the Block Plan, students were able to test Einstein’s special relativity at the top of Pikes Peak, and some even brought mountain bikes to ride down at the end. Students remarked to Westphal it was an experience that could happen, “only at CC!”

Despite all the benefits Westphal noticed about the Block Plan, he also says it’s exhausting. “Teaching on the Block Plan requires a lot of frontloading, because there is no time to prepare between classes. By the end of the block I felt as if I had run a marathon. I don’t know how CC faculty do it,” he explains.

Westphal noticed other impressive qualities of CC. He describes the Honor Code as “a treasure unheard of at many colleges,” and remarks on the interesting interdepartmental conversations that happen over lunch at Rastall.  “It seems to happen quite naturally, and is another CC treasure,” he describes. Westphal says he hopes to return to CC in a few years to teach a course on cosmochemistry and hopefully collaborate with a terrestrial geology course.

Experience Buck Walsky’s Art at Silent Disco at FAC “Snow Ball”

Snow Ball 2017

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College hosts a silent disco dance party underneath Buck Walsky’s “Beach Front,” an interactive art installation featuring fiber optics and LED lights. Artist William “Buck” Walsky is a Colorado native and proud parent of a CC hockey alumnus. He has one piece on display in the FAC permanent collection, and continues to create works of art, including an installation for the Burning Man festival.

Joy Armstrong, curator of modern and contemporary art at the FAC, says she was excited to see Walsky’s art in the interactive experience of the Snow Ball. “I’ve long admired a sculptural work in the FAC permanent collection that is a large wood carving of a bird taking flight,” she says. “I was delighted to discover a few years ago that not only was he still making remarkable works of art, but that he had been commissioned by the Anchorage Art Museum to create a monumental installation for Burning Man.”

“One of my greatest passions as a curator of contemporary art is to engage with living artists and help facilitate the creation of their dream projects, specifically ones that are site-specific, immersive, and/or interactive,” she says. “Walsky’s “Beach Front” was a perfect fit for the Fine Arts Center in all regards: a celebration of a regional artist, an exciting transformation of an unexpected and under-used location, and an opportunity for Walsky to re-envision his initial concept by tailoring it to the FAC and constructing it the way he had only dreamt of the first time around.”

Armstrong says the installation was a labor of love that involved many hands, generous donors of heavy equipment and specialized skills, and ultimately resulted in a “magical experience that we’re honored to share with our community.”

“My aspiration is to create a piece that holds people’s interest and continues to draw them back in, that defines a community, and is a public gathering space,” Walsky has said about the “Beach Front” installation.

The Anchorage Art Museum presented a silent disco with its installation, and Armstrong says that video was her first introduction to Walsky’s piece. “I was inspired to bring this unusual dance party to Colorado Springs and keep it tied to the installation. I love any opportunity to engage with art in new ways, and the Snow Ball is certain to be a one-in-a-million night, and one to remember.”

You’re invited to attend the Snow Ball, Saturday, Dec. 16, 8-10:30 p.m. at the FAC. Grab a pair of wireless headphones (provided), tune in to the channel of your choice, and dance to your own beat under this stunning work of art. Cash bar and small plates will be available. Tickets: $10; $5 members; free for students (with ID).

“Beach Frontis sponsored by: Colorado Industrial Recycling, Colorado Springs, CO, RMS Cranes, Denver, CO.

 

Geoffrey Hartley Documents Power of Art Therapy

By Leah Veldhuisen

Over the summer, CC student Geoffrey Hartley ’19 immersed himself in a program at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College in a way few students get to experience. Hartley filmed a documentary about the FAC’s Military Artistic Healing program, a program that currently has little student involvement. As a part of CC’s summer course the Colorado Documentary Project, a class conceived and taught by professors Dylan Nelson and Clay Haskell, Hartley learned about the documentary genre and how to film documentaries, and was able to make his own movie.

The course is a collaboration between CC’s Film and Media Studies program, Rocky Mountain PBS, and other Colorado organizations, and allowed students to do an externship with a local organization during the course. Hartley explains “after the week-long externship, everyone comes back to class and pitches an idea for a documentary inspired by our experiences.” Each student presented an idea to Rocky Mountain PBS, and then spent the rest of the class organizing, shooting, and editing a documentary. Hartley spent time at the Bemis School of Art and that’s where he learned about instructor Kim Nguyen’s art class for military veterans. “After hearing about the work that Nguyen was doing to provide a creative outlet for military veterans to express themselves and work through their PTSD, I knew that this was a story I wanted to share in my documentary,” Hartley says.

Because he saw art as a frequently overlooked therapy, Hartley says it was particularly important to portray it in film. He tried to highlight the positive impact painting has had on the lives of many Colorado Springs veterans, and the simplicity of art as therapy. Working on this project had a strong impact on Hartley. “I think the most important thing I learned from working with the Military Artistic Healing program,” he explains, “is how art works for each person differently. Everyone can find comfort, safety, or understanding through art, but it truly is an individualized experience and the meaning of art only exists through the individual.” While his documentary was about painting, Hartley also notes that “poetry, film, music, or countless other art forms can provide an outlet that might really help work through troubling issues.”

In addition to learning about this special program at the FAC, Hartley also gained a strong background in documentary filmmaking. All that he learned, Hartley feels, will be essential to pursuing a career in the film industry. View the full documentary, “Just Paint.

Norberto Orellana ’20 Inspires with TEDx Talk

Norberto Orellana gives TEDx Talk

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Norberto Orellana ’20 wants people to know that success is always imminent.  The CC sophomore has overcome a lot in his 19 years; he’s been extremely successful and continues to have big aspirations.

Orellana was born with right spastic semihemiplegia cerebral palsy and has been through many surgeries to limit its effects. While often moving between states, Orellana also experienced homelessness in high school. Despite all of this, he was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He graduated with honors, as well as an associate’s degree, and now is a chemistry major at Colorado College. He hopes to attend medical school to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Orellana drew from many of these experiences for his talk titled “Success is Just Around the Corner” at the TEDx Colorado Springs event earlier this month.

After spending this summer on campus for research, Orellana wanted to find a way to become more involved in the Colorado Springs community. Through his searches, he discovered TEDx Colorado Springs. Orellana had already spoken at TEDx Youth Miami in February, so he knew right away he would be interested in speaking again. Orellana explains, “I enjoy being able to speak to [groups]. It makes me extraordinarily happy that my message can have such an effect on someone. I often don’t think much of this journey that I’ve been on, but I know that my journey is one of trials and struggles — and thus one that I feel the need to share.”

At the TEDx event, Orellana was the second speaker of the day, so he had the opportunity to watch the other eight talks. One particularly struck a chord with him;  a talk about mental health and suicide. Orellana says he hopes to incorporate these tough but crucial topics into his own speeches in the future.

TEDx reaffirmed Orellana’s love for public speaking; inspiring even one person makes it worth it for him. He also hopes to influence the way people think about life. “If we move forward in a loving and righteous direction we will find success and fulfillment,” he says. “We are not a fluke, our existence is not unsubstantial, we are not here on some sort of probation — our existence is absolutely fundamental. Success is always just around the corner.”

Need to Know: Fall Break 2017

Fall Break takes place Thursday, November 16 – Sunday, November 26, 2017

Housing

  • Housing is available for students who have requested accommodations. Students who have obligations with the college, are members of an athletic team in season, or may have a special circumstance that may warrant “Break Stay Approval” were advised to request accommodations from their RLC (Residential Life Coordinator) no later than Friday November 10, 2017. Communications with athletic coaches and international programs began on October 23, and other students were notified of Fall Break closing procedures shortly after. The RLCs will continue to work with students to ensure student requests are met.

Meals

  • Rastall Dining Hall will be open for lunch 12-1pm only on Thursday, 11/16 and Friday, 11/17. Students who choose to eat in Rastall Dining Hall on 11/16 and 11/17 will not have to pay or use dining dollars. Any staff, faculty or other community members would have to pay cash rate (no lunch club) for those lunches. Rastall will be closed for the remainder of the break, until Sunday November 26th at 5pm at which point they return to regular hours.
  • Wooglin’s and La’au’s are offering 30% off to students with a CCID over the fall break.
  • On Thursday, November 23 RLCA and Campus Safety are hosting a Thanksgiving Luncheon at 1 p.m. in Bemis Great Hall. Faculty and staff are also welcome to participate. This event is free and does not require students to utilize their meal plan.
  • Two Resident Assistants hired for the fall break will drive students to local grocery stores twice during the break. Students who request accommodations by November 10th will receive notice of these trips and other Fall Break offerings via email.

Transportation

  • Students may purchase a one-way shuttle ticket from campus to Denver or Colorado Springs airports from the Worner Desk, using cash, check, credit, or gold card. Shuttles are available on Wednesday, November 15 from Noon – 5 PM, and again Thursday, November 16 from 7 AM until 1 PM.
  • The break Resident Assistants will coordinate two shuttles to local grocery stores.
  • For unexpected injuries or illness requiring transportation, students can contact Campus Safety at their non-emergency number: (719)389-6707.

Free Special Events

  • There are several free events planned for students, including free movie and food vouchers from downtown Colorado Springs establishments, events in residence halls, a shopping trip to the Castle Rock Outlets, a trip to SkyZone Trampoline Park, and Outdoor Education trips.
  • Thursday, November 23 – Thanksgiving meal in Bemis at 1 p.m.
  • Many students are also involved with the Friendship Families/Host Families program sponsored through The Butler Center.

Health and Safety

  • RLCs (Residential Life Coordinators) and RAs (Resident Assistants) will remain in some halls and are accessible for all students.
  • Campus Safety non-emergency number: (719)389-6707
  • Campus Safety Emergency number: (719)389-6911

Over Fall Break, we will continue to offer support to our students and opportunities for engagement and community.  Our goal is to ensure students remaining with us have a safe and enjoyable Fall Break.

For further information, please contact Bethany Grubbs, Assistant Director of Residential Life & Campus Activities bgrubbs@coloradocollege.edu or Rochelle Mason, Senior Associate Dean of Students rmason@coloradocollege.edu.

Recent Grad Published in Philosophy Journal

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Recent CC grad Lykkefry Bonde ’17 put her CC education to good use over the summer; she had an article published in the September issue of the journal Kierkegaard in Process. Kierkegaard in Process is an academic journal based out of the University of Copenhagen that allows undergraduate and graduate students a place to publish their own research and writing on Soren Kierkegaard.

Bonde is an international student from Denmark, and majored in Philosophy at CC. She wrote this article while doing an independent study with Professor Rick Furtak during her junior year. She drew from her knowledge of the Danish language to analyze Kierkegaard’s concept of love. In the article, she compares his two pieces Works of Love and Stages on Life’s Way, as well as the roots of the Danish words for “to live,” at leve, and “to love,” at elske. Through her analysis, Bonde explains the similarities between growing plants and loving other human beings. Bonde did not write this piece with the specific goal of being published, but did submit it to a number of journals so Professor Furtak could cite it in his own work. This is Bonde’s first published article, and she says it makes her happy that “someone finds my work interesting enough to publish.”

Currently, Bonde is working as a philosophy teacher at an international school in Armenia. She explains, though, that she misses being a student, and is looking to start a master’s degree at some point in the future.  This publication is a step in the right direction, she says.

Diverse Learners Week Becoming New Tradition at CC

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Colorado College is celebrating Diverse Learners Week.

Diverse Learners Week was initiated in 2016 with the goal of “celebrating and embracing the diverse ways that members of our campus community learn and contribute to learning environments at CC,” says Sara Rotunno, assistant director of Accessibility Resources. This year, Accessibility Resources collaborated with other partners to expand the events. Rotunno says she thinks the week will become an important tradition for CC “as it truly highlights CC’s commitment to value all persons and to learn from their diverse experiences and perspectives.”

Events throughout the week were sponsored by a variety of campus organizations and offices, including Accessibility Resources, the Butler Center, and the Colket Center for Academic Excellence, among others.

There were a variety of events aimed at engaging the broader CC community on the topic of diverse learners. The main event was Eli Claire’s speech titled “Defective, Deficient, and Burdensome: Thinking about ‘Bad’ Bodies.” The presentation included poetry, stories, history, and politics to explain why some bodies are considered defective.

Another interesting event to celebrate diverse learners was a volunteer opportunity at the Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center. Organized by the Collaborative for Community Engagement, the event invited students, faculty, and staff to volunteer one or multiple days this week with children at the center. Niki Sosa, community partnership development coordinator at the CCE, says volunteers worked with children on outdoor and reading activities and had the “opportunity to adapt their methods of engaging with the children as they work through activities together.”

Other events this week included a workshop for faculty on working with students with learning disabilities and a tutor training for ESL students put on by CC Refugee Alliance. Upcoming events include a local hike this afternoon at 3 p.m., sponsored by Outdoor Education, and a faculty luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 31, titled “Practices Towards Accessible and Inclusive Classrooms.”

For more information, see https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/accessibilityresources/get-involved/diverse-learners-week.html

Raven Chacon Brings Intercultural Interactions as Artist-in-Residence

by Leah Veldhuisen ’19

Interdisciplinary artist Raven Chacon is the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s first Mellon Grant Artist-in-Residence, and is an internationally known performer, composer, educator, and artist. He currently has an exhibit, “Lightning Speak”, at the FAC and worked with professors Carrie Ruiz, Spanish and Portuguese; and Vicki Levine, Music; to teach the Block 2 course Song, Poetry, and Performance in the Southwest.

The interdisciplinary course was bilingual, and cross-listed between the Departments of Music, Spanish and Portuguese, and Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. This is the first time CC has offered the course and Levine says she would absolutely teach it again. Intercultural performance and collaboration were essential themes to the course. Students worked together on group projects, presented on the final Monday of the block. The assignment was to collaborate across disciplines, as some students in the class spoke Spanish and others were music students who did not speak the language. Projects ranged from multi-media videos to original songs to installation art, and incorporated both Hispanic and indigenous cultures. Levine says the course encourages students to think about intercultural interactions and understanding, and exposed them to music and Hispanic and indigenous cultures of northern New Mexico. One big takeaway Levine hopes students have is the value of creative collaboration across disciplines.

Chacon is participating in many other events around campus in addition to the course with Ruiz and Levine. A member of the Navajo Nation, he is part of an art collective called Postcommodity; the artists’ work is activist in nature and challenges expectations of “native art” in dynamic and engaging ways. The collective’s work has been exhibited internationally, and has recently been featured in many popular and critical press articles.

All members of Postcommodity will be on campus Friday, Oct. 27, for a performance titled “We Lost Half the Forest and The Rest Will Burn This Summer” that will take place at 6 p.m. in the Cornerstone Art Center Celeste Theatre. The performance will include song variations from their latest album, which features eclectic sounds such as hacked electronics, voices, rattles, animal calls, and Mexican whistles.

Additionally, Indigenous musicians from Taiwan, Norway, and North America will be featured Wednesday, Oct. 25, in the event “Sound Alliances: A Celebration of Indigenous Music and Culture” in Mohrman Theatre.

Chacon’s “Lightning Speak” is on display at the FAC until Jan. 7, 2018. The exhibit features individual and collaborative group projects that combine music composition, sound art, visual art, and activism. Colorado College is hosting events throughout the month of October to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, officially commemorated Oct. 9.

Hayley Bates ’18 Heads to Mountain Bike Nationals

Senior Hayley Bates is representing Colorado College on the national stage, heading to Missoula, Montana, this weekend to compete in her final Collegiate Mountain Biking National Championships. Bates says regular season racing this year has helped prepare her for the stacked field at nationals.

“It was the biggest and fastest field we’ve ever had in Colorado; we’re the most competitive collegiate state for mountain biking. And, with heading to Missoula, we have had the opportunity to train at altitude and in the cold.”

The races, Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21, include a cross-country course that lasts about 90 minutes, and a short-track course, which is a 20-minute race plus three laps on a short course. Missoula is home to professional mountain biking races, too, and Bates says it should be a fun place to ride. She hones her skills training in Colorado Springs’ Ute Valley and Palmer Parks.

It’s her third time toeing the line at the mountain biking nationals, though this season, she’s had an extra challenge to tackle.

“The idea of hitting my face again really affected me,” says Bates. Bates had a serious crash at the end of the 2017 road cycling season. She crashed two weeks before nationals and while she sustained a broken nose, broken teeth, and severe facial trauma, she was cleared to get back on the bike within a week of that crash. “My first ride outside was the day before nationals; it was great to have the support from everyone at that race, and people were so happy to see me there. It was a good comeback,” she says. “And it was intense.” Just days after that crash, Bates won a sprint to the finish and placed fifth in the nation in collegiate club road cycling.

While she is CC’s only representative at the collegiate mountain biking national competition (this is her third year as the team’s sole qualifier), her leadership has helped grow CC’s presence during the regular season. “The team at CC got huge this year, with an average of 20 cyclists going to races. I remember my freshman year six people going to races was huge; now, I think we’ve had a max of 24 which has been a significant increase.”

Bates says the growing cycling community at CC helps in her own training, with more riders on group rides. “It’s really nice that we can train together, even if we are doing our own efforts,” she says.

Wrapping up this final mountain biking season is bittersweet for Bates. “Collegiate cycling has done so much for me at CC. Initially, I had to convince my parents to let me bring my bikes out here (when she moved to CC from her home in California).  From there, I’ve built myself up to get my pro card and be considered for professional cycling teams; and so many of my friends are from cycling; it’s such a supportive community.”

Now, while Bates considers her next steps — likely law school eventually, and internships in the political science field — she’s also talking with teams in the competitive world of professional cycling. She says her strong suit is road cycling, which is what she plans to pursue post-collegiately. “I love mountain biking; it’s 100 percent your own effort when you’re out there. In road cycling, I like having the group dynamic, reading the field and that analysis element of it.”

Bates will get her chance to be a part of that group dynamic when road cycling season starts up in the spring. “I’ll take a break after nationals this month and will continue training year round. Then we’ll start road racing in March,” she says. Her family will be supporting her in Missoula this weekend and the campus community wishes her the best of luck!

One on One with Sharon Dodua Otoo

Otoo

 By Joy Li ’18

 This month, 2016 Ingeborg Bachmann Prize-winner Sharon Dodua Otoo came to CC for a reading of her novellas, “the things I am thinking while smiling politely,” “Synchronicity,” and her prize-winning short story “Herr Gröttrup setzt sich hin” (Mr. Gröttrup sits down). She was invited by the German Program, in conjunction with the English Department’s Visiting Writers Series. During her visit to campus, Otoo took time to talk with CC student and German major Joy Li ’18 about her path to becoming an award-winning writer.

Born in Brighton, England, into a Ghanaian family with two other siblings, Sharon Dodua Otoo began her journey to Germany as an au pair in Hannover in 1992. Since then, she’s moved to Berlin, where she’s lived for 11 years with her four sons as a full-time writer. Otoo describes herself as a “Black British mother, activist, author, and editor,” and it’s exactly these intertwined identities that lend her work a perspective that, as the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper puts it, “you have to go searching for . . . because it hardly knows how sought after it is.”

Even though Otoo says she had always been interested in writing, until recently she never thought of writing as a serious career option. Before she became a full-time writer, she worked as a race and equality consultant for local authorities in London and organized anti-racism forums with people from different sectors like education or law enforcement. In Berlin, her activist work mostly involved working with local NGOs that promote racial equality and the ISD (Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland), an organization that represents the interests of black people in Germany. In 2012, she took a break from her work to spend more time writing (her two novellas were published in 2012 and 2014). In 2016, she was invited to participate in the Festival of German Language Literature in Klagenfurth, Austria, where she won with her brilliant and witty short story “Mr. Gröttrup Sits Down.” Earlier this year in January, she finally decided to make the transition to writing full-time, and she continues to engage in activism.

Interestingly, as a mother of four, Otoo claims that being a mother is also a form of activism. As she says: “Activism is very optimistic, you’re hoping something will work and you don’t know if it will in your lifetime; motherhood is a bit like that.” Defying societal expectations and pressures imposed on motherhood, Otoo has created a “fluid structure” for child-rearing with support from her network of friends and family. She also beckons for the recognition of the underappreciated work as a mother. According to Otoo, “I would like to encourage a culture where we integrate being parents or carers into everything we do. Nobody should do this alone.”

Her focus on creative empowerment is also visible in her literary texts that focus on the experiences of people of color. Both of Otoo’s published works, “Synchronicity” and “the things i am thinking while smiling politely,” feature strong, resilient black women and their perspectives on what it’s like to live in Germany, or specifically in Berlin. She was the first black writer to win the prestigious Ingeborg Bachman Prize for “Mr. Gröttrup Sits Down,” the first story she ever wrote in German. “Mr. Gröttrup” is about a white German pensioner (Helmut Gröttrup is a stereotypical white German male name), a former rocket scientist who first worked with the Nazis, then with the Soviet Union, and the repetitive breakfast routine he shares everyday with his wife. The story includes a section that is narrated from the perspective of an unboiled egg.

In an attempt to share her access to publishing houses with other people of color, Otoo has also edited a book series called “Witnessed” (published in English). The series of five books provides a platform where people of African descent living in Germany can share their work.

Otoo’s success is a story of resistance. By continuing to engage in activism and stressing the element of resistance in her work, she will continue to challenge the field of literature in the English- and German-speaking world. Her next project will be a novel expanding upon “Mr. Gröttrup setzt sich hin,” to be published by Fischer Verlag, one of the largest German publishing houses and a leading address for literary publications.