Students Present “Still Standing” at Dance Workshop 2015

A shot from Dance Workshop 2014; check back for photos from this year's performances.

A shot from Dance Workshop 2014; check back for photos from this year’s performances.

Montana Bass ’18

Hours of collaboration, choreography, and rehearsal culminate next week with 2015’s Dance Workshop performances. This year’s show entitled “Still Standing,” takes place Friday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2:30 and 9 p.m. in Armstrong Theatre.

The show features 14 pieces, exhibiting a wide range of dance styles from modern, to swing, to hip-hop. The dancers, led by co-chairs, Alison Rowe ’16 and Evans Levy ’18, had to pull things together more quickly this year, with performances taking place during Block 3, as opposed to the middle of Block 4 as in years past. “Still Standing” came together an entire month earlier, so for Rowe and Levy, show planning began before the start of the academic year, as they worked to choreograph a try-out dance for auditioning performers. In the first week of Block 1, they held choreographer auditions, where students looking to choreograph numbers for the show presented their ideas. “We ask you to present everything you have,” Levy said of the audition process. “Show us the song, if you have choreography, share what you’re inspired by, how many dancers you want, anything and everything you can tell us about the piece. We try to make sure it’s a well-rounded show. We want to know you have the drive to put the piece together.”

Then, more than 100 student dancers auditioned for Rowe, Levy, and the selected choreographers; dancers may be chosen to perform in up to three numbers. This is the most stressful part of the process, according to Levy. “It can be hard to get choreographers to cast people they don’t know and step out of their comfort zone.” Over the next two months, choreographers and dancers go to work practicing individual pieces once or twice a week, while the co-chairs continue work to set the schedule for tech rehearsals, finalize the order of the numbers for the show, develop publicity materials for the event, and, Levy notes, send “about a billion emails.”

The week before the show may be both the most hectic and the most exciting according to Levy. “The pieces evolve so much during that week. When you put the pieces on stage, people realize there’s actually going to be a performance and that’s when it really starts to look like a show,” said Levy. “I’m really excited to see the first run through and see how the pieces have come together.” For everyone involved, the shows are a source of pride. Dancers experience the high of performing on stage, choreographers see a once-vague vision play out, and the co-chairs reap the satisfaction of seeing the show go on, despite a multitude of challenges and problems that may have arisen along the way.

“Overall it’s really cool to be a part of something so big,” Levy said. “This is the biggest student-run performance event and I didn’t realize how much work went into it, but I appreciate it all the more because of that. There’s such a community that’s built around it and so many friendships that are made.”

Students Explore, Delve Deeper with Help of Grants

Montana Bass ’18

Student recipients in two different grant programs will showcase their experiences and you’ll have the opportunity to talk with them about how the grants support learning at CC.

Promoting CC students’ imagination, challenge, and personal growth in their own responsible and conscientious pursuit of wilderness expeditions and education — that’s the purpose of the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund.  Each year, the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund gives grants to a selection of student applicants. This summer, the fund sponsored 10 expeditions in which 27 students participated. Talk with grant recipients in person at the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund Expedition Grant slideshow on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Cornerstone Arts Center Screening Room.  Student groups will share their incredible backcountry expeditions throughout North America.

Morgan Mulhern ’17 , explored the culture of food in Latin America with funding from a Keller Venture Grant.

Morgan Mulhern ’17 , explored the culture of food in Latin America with funding from a Keller Venture Grant.

Since its inauguration in 1995, the Ritt Kellogg Memorial Fund has provided 320 students with expedition funding, resulting in 134 successful expeditions and countless life-changing experiences for Colorado College students.

Keller Venture Grants provide another unique opportunity for CC students, sending them out into the world with the resources to explore a specific interest. This year marks 10 years for the Keller Family Venture Grant program. Last year, the program provided $121,750 to 134 CC students for research and experiential projects.

Students’ projects ranged in focus from art to health care to environmental studies. The grants took students to five continents and 13 countries. The students who receive them exhibit noteworthy innovation, creativity, and passion in their ability to pursue their interests and take advantage of a unique and vital resource at CC.

Anna Cain ’17 traveled to Dublin to continue delving into a book that she did not want to put down at the end of the block. “Ulysses is a book that just destroys your mind,” Cain explained. “After one block, I knew I hadn’t gotten all I could out of it, so I continued to read it over the course of one semester.” Cain meticulously traced the travels of Ulysses during her semester of reading and applied for a grant that would take her to Dublin in the summer to trace his path herself. She researched the commercialism that has grown from Ulysses’s legacy in Dublin and paid specific attention to this in her travels. “It began as just seeing how Ireland was honoring its legacy, then I was finding lots of industries whose entire business model was based on their connection to Ulysses,” she said.

Morgan Mulhern ’17 began her CC semester in a Latin America study abroad program with a grant to study the food of southern Peru over winter break before the spring semester started. “Culinary culture can be thought of as a form of unwritten communication and identification. I traveled from Lima down the coast to Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco. I visited restaurants of Acurio Gaston along the way. His restaurants serve to integrate, celebrate, and explore various fields surrounding the culture and creation of food,” said Mulhern.

To make even more memorable his travel with the CC men’s soccer team, Soren Frykholm ’17 applied for and received a grant to create a documentary exploring the effect of travel on team companionship. “I had the camera rolling as much as I could,” said Frykholm. “I really wanted to get at, ‘What is the importance of world travel’ and ‘What is the purpose of this trip?’” Frykholm dedicated the project to his coach, Horst Richardson, and his wife, Helen, for their 50 years of service to the team.

All three students stressed heavily the accessibility of the grant application process and the academic and personal growth they experienced as a result of their adventures. View an interactive map of all grants from the past two years.

Or, hear their stories in person and learn about how the Keller Venture Grants have transformed the student experience at CC. The Keller Family Venture Grant Forum happens Thursday, Nov. 5, beginning with a reception at 4:45 p.m. in the Cornerstone Arts Center’s main space and a student improv performance by TWIT (CC’s Theatre Workshop Improv Troupe) at 5:20 p.m. Featured student IGNITE-style presentations begin in the Celeste Theatre at 5:30 p.m.

Coach Kevin Cronin Appears in Training and Conditioning

Coach Kevin Cronin

Coach Kevin Cronin

By Montana Bass ’18

Head Coach of Strength and Conditioning Kevin Cronin was featured in an article for Training and Conditioning magazine’s September issue. The piece by Joel Bergeron titled “On the Fast Track” discusses recent progress in the integration of technology into sports training, specifically focusing on the use of individual GPS devices to track athletes’ training and recovery.

In the article, Cronin explains that CC’s soccer and lacrosse teams have been using the GPS technology for two full seasons as a reference point to alert coaches when time should be taken off for recovery. He also comments on the challenge of using the data productively and efficiently, and working with coaches to explain the connection between data results and athlete performance.

He cites the competitive nature of collegiate athletics as an inherent challenge in reporting on this topic. Cronin, who’s interviewed in the piece alongside coaches from the University of Kentucky, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Notre Dame, explained, “one of the downfalls of the article is that there is a lot of money on the line for the other coaches interviewed. NCAA tournament appearances bring money into athletic departments and revealing their ‘secrets’ to their competitors is unlikely.”

Cronin said that Training and Conditioning reported on an important topic, commenting that, “technology is a big deal in the world of sport performance these days, and this article was one of the more revealing articles about technology and its use.”

Senior Survey Recognition

Each year, CC conducts a survey with graduating seniors asking about their experience at CC. A question on the survey invites students to identify staff members who have made a difference in their lives. Alejandro Salazar ’15, past president of the CCSGA, spoke on behalf of the student body at the Block 1 In The Loop all-staff meeting and shared that graduating seniors acknowledged over 130 staff members in the survey. He expressed gratitude for the support provided by all of the staff at CC. For a complete list of staff identified in the senior survey, go to Quick Links on the HR webpage and read Salazar’s full comments.  

The Grits Collective Provides a Counter Narrative

Grits Collective

Grits Collective

UPDATE: Nov. 13, 2015

The first issue of Grits, one of the Colorado College student-led projects that emerged from last spring’s Soup Project Challenge, was recently published in the Colorado Springs Independent. Serving as a “publication for community nourishment,” Grits features the stories, poems, and artwork of those who are homeless or food insecure in Colorado Springs. Read more in the CC Newsroom.

Arts, innovation, and community engagement come together harmoniously in the Grits Collective, a project founded by students Benjamin Criswell ’16, Caitlin Canty ’16, and Paige Clark ’16 that aims to use the power of storytelling to challenge common societal prejudices toward the homeless population.

Following the closure and transition of the CC Soup Kitchen, the college, launched the Soup Project Challenge, facilitated by CC’s innovation initiative and the Collaborative for Community Engagement, to fund student projects that address hunger, homelessness, and poverty in the greater Colorado Springs community. Of the proposals submitted, four teams of students allocated funding last spring, including the Grits Collective.

During the past few months, the Grits team, which now includes its first intern, Reed Young ’17, has been visiting the Marian House Soup Kitchen, and most recently, working with the kitchen’s Family Day Center program. The students sit down with the soup kitchen’s clients, who are finishing up their lunches, and provide writing prompts and materials to collect stories from the individuals in an effort to shed light on their lives and life experiences.

“There are two components,” said Young of the process. “We collect the stories and publish them, that’s the advocacy component. And the other component you could call empowerment: the idea is that we are bringing people together once a week to share stories.”

Criswell added that the group is looking to “create a shift in the general perception of people that are experiencing homelessness. A homeless person is not just a homeless person; they’re a father, or a son, or a pet owner, or a librarian. There’s a lot more behind people’s faces.”

One only has to take a look at the stories, which can be found on Grits’s new website, gritsco.org, to realize their deeply humanizing power. Each narrative provides context for the storyteller and voices the often-overlooked complexity of human life. Whether revealing an explanation of the past, a commentary on a specific impression of the present, or hopes for the future, the stories deny readers and listeners the option of disregarding the storyteller as simply “homeless.” The Grits Collective encourages understanding by dismantling generalizations shared by mainstream society.

“Fundamentally, we are providing a counter narrative,” said Criswell.

The team members say they’re often struck by the extent to which pure chance contributes to the situations of the people they meet. “For a lot of people that are right on the edge, it’s completely out of their hands,” Criswell said. “If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, one thing – like you slip on ice and have a bunch of medical bills – can put you in that situation.”

Grits will continue to work with CC’s Collaborative for Community Engagement, which advises over 30 community-based student groups, as they continue expanding the project. The Grits team will also partner with KRCC to bring these stories to radio programming, and will have its first print insert in the Colorado Springs Independent Oct. 28, part of Grits’ goal to create a multimedia presence. In the meantime, the team will keep returning to the Marian house to collect stories and continue to build relationships with those who share them.

Get to Know… Charles Wilemon, sushi chef with Bon Appetit

Sushi at Benji's

Sushi at Benji’s

Montana Bass’ 18

 How did you first learn to make sushi?
I taught myself. I was down at The Preserve when we used to have a really big exposition station down there. They wanted to do a sushi station so I had to learn to make sushi last minute from youtube and books and stuff. It didn’t take me long to learn to roll but it took like two years to learn to make good sushi. Sometimes I do it for parties or friends.

What is your favorite type of sushi roll to make?
I like doing the tempura shrimp. That’s a lot of fun, figuring out how to get the shrimp right so it doesn’t curl up. Because it’s tempura, you get the fried flavor without frying the whole roll. After that it’s probably the dragon roll. That’s the California roll layered with unagi (we don’t make that here because we can’t use eel).

What is your favorite sushi restaurant in Colorado Springs?
Ai. It’s at Centennial Road and Garden of the Gods Road. The staff is really friendly and the sushi’s always really good, very fresh.

What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?
I like to put together miniatures and play tabletop war games. A couple of my friends were into it and I got bored watching it and decided to try it out; I got hooked. That was probably ten years ago. Either that or I’m reading. I don’t watch television.

How did you start working for Bon Appetit?
I used to be an executive chef at McCabe’s Tavern. Then, a friend of mine told me to check out Bon Appetit. I started out at the grill and then I did the expo at The Preserve for a while. I’ve worked every station here. I like sushi best. It’s a lot of creativity; I get to choose my own specials, order my own fish, the station’s mine.

What is your favorite part about working at CC?
Interacting with the students, honestly. If you come here enough I’ll be able to match your order to your face.

What’s the weirdest dish someone has asked you to make?
When I was at The Preserve doing pasta night, a girl wanted me to put gummy worms and M&Ms in with her marinara and Italian sausage pasta. I told her no. At the sushi station I’ve had people want me to put like teriyaki chicken or something in their sushi, but nothing really bizarre. I might do a make-your-own sushi one day so people can put whatever they want in it.

Who’s your favorite person to hang out with at work and why?
While I’m at work? That’d be Josh Speckles. He’s the tall skinny guy with the beard over at the grill. If I’m having breakfast or something, it’s usually with him.

Wild Card: What’s something students would never guess about you?
My daughter is the same age as you guys. She goes to the University of Maryland. I’m 37; people always think I’m in my 20s.

First-Year Students Launch “Humans of Colorado College”

Humans of CC Facebook page

Humans of CC Facebook page

Montana Bass ’18

“Humans of New York,” the popular Facebook page with over 15 million “likes,” now has another sister page: “Humans of Colorado College,” thanks to two first-year students, Padah Vang ’19 and Joann Bandales ’19. The page already has over 1,300 “likes” and is continuing to gain popularity.

The students have posted to the page nearly every day for the past three weeks. Each post includes a photo of a CC student and a statement from the student, usually regarding his or her experience at CC, and goals for the student’s experience at the college. Students’ comments are honest, inspiring, and heartfelt. Poignant personalities carry through the screen, speaking to the individuality of the student body, while drawing attention to overlooked issues or shedding light on less common perspectives.

Esther Chan ’16 helped Vang and Bandales start the page and says she is extremely excited about where they have taken it. “It’s just gone so far beyond my belief. They’re creating this community of support, vulnerability, honesty, and authenticity that CC needs,” Chan said.

Particularly impressive, notes Bandales, is students’ willingness to share personal details of their lives and allow those intimate stories to be posted for the larger community. “The interviews that have impacted me a lot have been Mohammad [Mia] and Austin [Lukondi]’s stories. They are both amazing people and for them to talk about these things, it’s just eye-opening that there’s more to a person than you think,” she said.

Bandales says she hopes the page will draw the CC community closer together. “I believe that this project will allow us to connect more with the people we see everyday, yet never really know what goes on behind the scenes,” she said.

Vang and Bandales encourage people interested in the project to contact them and become involved. Anyone can find the page by searching “Humans of Colorado College” on Facebook.

CC Grads Bring Women’s Art to Life in Rootstalk

The cover of the first edition of Rootstalk Magazine.

By Monica Black ’19

Kate Dunn ’14 and Erin O’Neill ’14 developed the online quarterly arts publication Rootstalk Magazine with a very clear mission in mind: to create a space for a community of self-identified women to publish their art. The magazine features art (including songs, music reviews, poetry, essays, paintings, and fiction) made by women from all walks of life.

Dunn and O’Neill, residents of Oakland, CA, were both interested in women’s studies in college. Dunn, an English major, began to think about the intersection between literature and women’s studies while studying abroad in Greece with CC. It was not until they both graduated that they began to comprehend that women do not often have spaces to share their art and work. O’Neill, a studio art major, and Dunn collaborated during the past year to create Rootstalk, the name of which means literally “an underground, horizontal root system that grows together into a web to nourish one developing plant.”

In attempting to build this web, Rootstalk aims to venture outside normal boundaries. Instead of striving to be a haven for teenage girls like, for example, the celebrated 2011 magazine Rookie, Rootstalk prides itself on being directed toward any and all women and pushes for an intergenerational community. The creators search in more ways than one to be a democratic, fully representative community. “We want women,” said Dunn, “who do not necessarily identify as artists (although self-identified artists are welcome too!), to have a place to showcase thoughts, paintings, drawings, songs, journal entries, that they’d otherwise keep to themselves.“

Rootstalk emphasizes this idea of sharing in the published content. It reads like a mature show-and-tell, featuring everything from pictures of old journal entries to lo-fi bedroom rock. The front cover of the current issue is a piece entitled “What I Think About When I Think About Yoga” by Eleanor Anderson. It depicts a little androgynous person dancing across the page, contorting its body into sometimes-impossible shapes. Most of the art is similarly impressionistic and personal. The cumulative effect of the pieces is similar to the one produced while browsing someone else’s diary: it is confessional but not self-consciously so, it is smart, and it is surprising.

Rootstalk’s first issue, “Transition,” is available online now; 10 of the 18 submissions are from CC alumnae. The website, rootstalkmagazine.org, is currently accepting submissions.

CC Takes Strides in Sustainability

Students install solar panels at the Baca Campus.

By Montana Bass ’18

In the past months, Colorado College has made significant progress toward reaching its sustainability goals. The college has achieved the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education STARS Gold Status, it moved up to 59th on the Sierra Cool Schools list, and received the WateReuse CO customer of the year award.

These achievements represent efforts by CC’s Office of Sustainability, which completed the AASHE STARS questionnaire for the first time last year. STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System) is a widely respect self-reporting framework used by colleges across the country to track sustainability progress. Colleges can earn credit based on criteria across four categories: academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration. Depending on the results, they earn a rating as bronze, silver, gold, or platinum.

In only its second year participating, CC has already moved from the silver to the gold ranking with a current score is 66.89 (85 will earn CC platinum status). Ian Johnson, director of sustainability, said, “energy and greenhouse gas emissions are key players in all regards. Continuing to focus on parallel goals and commitments, such as our carbon neutrality goals, will continue to move us up.”

While students and faculty may already consider CC a “cool school,” now it’s official. The Sierra Club recently recognized the college as 59th out of 135 schools on its Cool Schools of 2015 list. The Sierra Club uses a survey called the Campus Sustainability Data Collector, which draws from the data collected by Sierra Club, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, and the Princeton Review.

Schools can receive a total of 1000 points spread across 11 categories. CC earned a score of 641.93, while the highest-ranking school, University of California Irvine, earned a score of 867.29. In the categories of food, energy, and waste, CC ranked in the top 25 out of all 135 schools, and also earned all possible points in the planning category.

According to Johnson, this recognition is especially important in terms of continuing to increase CC’s rankings in other higher education standings and gaining the respect of peer institutions, prospective students, and alumni. “Sierra Magazine is widely respected and reviewed,” he said. “Our improvement this year is a direct result of the college’s strategic plan goals and focus on sustainability, largely guided by the annual STARS survey that informs our State of Sustainability report.”

Additionally, CC received the Customer of the Year Award from WateReuse Colorado. “This award recognizes projects and people within Colorado that have made significant contributions to water reuse,” said Tara Kelley, Regulatory Services Section Supervisor for Colorado Springs, who nominated CC for the award. CC has been using reclaimed water for over 45 years. The award states that the college has “demonstrated superb compliance with Colorado Springs Utilities standards and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations throughout this time.”

New Kids on Campus: Summer Session’s Pre-college Program

Dozens of high school students from around the country and the globe spent part of their summers here on campus, experiencing college courses via the Block Plan. As part of the Summer Session Pre-college Program, they enrolled in 11 of the 16 courses offered during Block B (a total of 289 undergraduate, graduate, and independent study students were enrolled that block).

Of the 49 pre-college students, 17 were here on scholarships, including two merit scholars. They represented 21 states and China, and almost all of the students lived on campus during their courses. Additionally, 11 students participated in the program during Block A this summer.

“I’ve been interested in pursuing physics in college although I was uncertain because it’s an uncommon major.” said Benjamin Weber, who enrolled in the Cosmology, Antimatter, and the Runaway Universe course during Block B as part of the Pre-college Program during Summer Session. “I enrolled in it so I could see how much I want to pursue physics in my higher education. I also was very interested in the Block Plan.”

“As program assistants, we’ve been able to develop a little bit of that CC community within this program by planning fun community programming and being role models” said Jaxon Rickel ’16, who worked as a program assistant with the Pre-college Program this summer. “It has been fulfilling to see the students overcome struggles and succeed on the Block Plan.”

During their time here, students also learned tips for applying to selective liberal arts colleges, practiced admission essay writing, hiked the Manitou Incline, and visited the Fine Arts Center as part of programming specific to academic and student life.

“The Block Plan works. It allows you a good period of time to study interesting topics with people who really know the material they’re teaching,” said Weber. “It’s such a beautiful campus, too. I love walking to class and seeing the snow-capped mountains silhouetting the skyline, or going to an observing session with my class and just looking up to see the universe in its majesty and beauty. To anyone interested, I cannot recommend this program highly enough.”

Pre-college students in class with Professor Shane Burns.

Pre-college students in class with Professor Shane Burns.

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