Two Colorado College Alumni Advocate for Utah Wilderness

Red Rock Stories

By Devon Burnham ’16

Coming from a love for the red rock wilderness in southern Utah, Colorado College alumni Brooke Larsen ’14 and Stephen Trimble ’72 are pursuing a project they call “art as advocacy.” “Red Rock Stories,” a collection of works that includes a variety of stories, photographs, art, video, and audio concerning Utah’s public lands, is just one of the ways Larsen and Trimble hope to make a difference.

The project’s goal is to use “Red Rock Stories” to influence decision-makers to protect Bear Ears National Monument and other wilderness areas in southern Utah. “We believe in the power of story to move decision-makers and build empathy,” says Larsen. “By sharing the stories of three generations of writers, we hope to inspire the action needed to protect the red rock wilderness.”

The project came about in October 2015 following five southwestern Native nations’ proposal to establish a Bear Ears National Monument in southern Utah. Threats to the western wildlands have steadily increased over time, and as a result, a group of writers from Salt Lake City began to meet and discuss how they could advocate for the proposal. Taking inspiration from “Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness,” which convinced legislators to defeat an anti-wilderness bill in 1995, members of the Red Rocks Project hope to make a difference through similar means.

“Red Rock Testimony,” the first part of the project, is a chapbook that was sent to the Obama administration to promote the idea of protecting public lands. “Red Rock Stories’ is an 88-page book that conveys the spiritual, cultural, and scientific values of Utah’s canyon country and includes the work of 34 writers. The stories are written by a variety of authors, and all advocate for the protection of the proposed Bear Ears National Monument. The group plans to publish a second trade book in 2017.

“We hope to build and support a community of folks who love the red rock wilderness and want to speak on its behalf,” says Larsen.

Larsen, who worked with CC’s State of the Rockies Project, now works for the Torrey House Press in Salt Lake City. Trimble is an award-winning writer who co-compiled “Testimony,” and is an editor for “Red Rock Stories.”

Currently, the project is focusing on sharing “Red Rock Stories” digitally, and is inviting members of the CC community to contribute their stories. Anyone can submit their stories about the red rocks following a series of creative prompts that are currently on their website.

Others who are interested in helping the project financially can contribute through their Kickstarter campaign.

Fellows Bring Student Perspective to Admission Process

Admission Fellows

By Joy Li ’18

With the Class of 2020 heading to campus in just a few weeks, the end of another admission cycle provides an opportunity to recognize an indispensible part of the process: CC admission fellows. They are a group of current students who are not only passionate about the college, but also have a thorough and insightful understanding of CC’s unique culture.

This summer, the admission fellows are working diligently to make a difference on campus by helping to recruit students for the Class of 2021. They participate in the admission process by conducting interviews with prospective students, leading information sessions and campus tours, organizing open houses, and compiling the new class profile, along with other duties supporting staff on projects within the Office of Admission.

“The admission fellows bring us a current perspective; they help us find out what we have to do in the admission process to best convey the current climate of CC to prospective students,” says Ryan Walsh, senior assistant director in the Office of Admission and director of the admission fellows program. He says that because the admission fellows are chosen as representatives of CC’s student body, they are from very different backgrounds, and participate in a variety of aspects of CC. They act as a bridge between the Office of Admission and current students, and show that students also play a role in connecting new students with the campus.

“The job of an admission fellow should be changing all the time depending on what we need on campus,” says admission fellow Michael Wu ’17, who is an international student from China. This year has brought changes to the role of admission fellow: the fellows’ interviewing methods have completely transformed, shifting from standard questions that focus on academics and extracurricular activities to questions about students’ perspectives on critical issues in the community. Admission fellow Maya Williamson ’17 indicated that the shift in interviewing format provides a more comprehensive understanding of what students will bring to CC. “We need to find students who are willing to take responsibility for themselves and the community,” says Williamson.

The high degree of professionalism required as an admission fellow also prepares the students for future career challenges. During the summer, they work regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are required to dress professionally at work. “You don’t get the internship feeling here. We’re not making copies of things. What we’re doing actually makes a difference,” says admission fellow Will Baird ’17.

Get to Know Jim Burke: Director of Summer Session

Director of Summer Session

Jim Burke joined CC this summer as the new director of Summer Session, where he collaborates with faculty and staff to advance the college’s strategic goal of building a nationally recognized summer program. He’s jumped right in, creating the summer course offerings for CC undergraduates and visiting undergraduates, as well as for high school students in the pre-college program. We asked Burke a few questions, to help introduce him to the campus community:

How do you think your position will impact CC?

I look forward to working with our Summer Session team to assemble course offerings that will drive students to consider continuing their dynamic study over the summer, maintaining the vibrant campus experience throughout the year. For faculty, our hope is to support the development of new courses or create an opportunity to offer in-demand courses that fill up during the semester. For students, I think summer will provide a chance to catch up on degree requirements or pursue a new academic interest they may not have had the time to focus on during the traditional academic year.

Where did you work before CC and what where you doing?

I worked at my alma mater, The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., as assistant director of admissions, developing recruitment plans and reviewing applications from the Mid-Atlantic region. Next, I moved across Washington, D.C. to Georgetown University’s Office of International Programs as the information manager to assess study abroad programs. And finally, before joining CC, I worked at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, the Office of Global Strategy, where I developed summer academic programs for the institution’s international partner universities and managed the opening and development of the university’s branch campus in Songdo, South Korea.

What do you bring to this job?

My experience across different institutions allows me to bring the best processes and strategies to the many stakeholders of the Office of Summer Session. Whether developing a new pre-college program that attracts students from underrepresented regions of the U.S., or proposing course offerings that support the interests of our faculty and students, my experience has given me the tools to actualize these and much more.

What are some personal or professional experiences you’ve had either at CC or outside of it that play into your current role?

Student and faculty support is a cornerstone of my experience and one I’ve already been pleased to see firsthand at CC. The entire Summer Session team has immense dedication to ensuring the highest quality academic programming for our students and faculty, and I’m excited to implement even more streamlined processes that further this support.

Who/what was the biggest influence on you?

Between my roles at Georgetown University and George Mason University, I worked for a start-up international education company based in Beijing, which was the most challenging work I’ve ever been a part of. This influenced me significantly because I experienced how consuming but rewarding it is to develop something from scratch. Since that experience, I’ve been fortunate to use the lessons learned from that start-up when I created international programs at GMU and worked with stakeholders across campus to implement new initiatives.

What have you noticed about CC?

The sense of community is such a central element at CC and I love how it infuses so much of the work. It’s energizing to work with people who are inclusive, collaborative, and invested in making positive strides for the college in hopes of bettering everyone’s experience.

Tell us a little about your background.

I almost always say I’m from Washington, D.C., which is true, since I grew up in the city and the surrounding suburbs, but I was born in County Waterford, Ireland, and am very close with my family that still live there and across the U.S. Growing up in a large family (six kids) that had to work through cultural transitions and developing an identity infused with elements of two distinct cultures, has provided me with what I feel is a unique perspective that allows me to consider multiple angles of a situation.

What do you like to do when not working?

I’m still in an “exploring Colorado phase” since I only moved here about a month ago. Aside from trying out all the local coffee shops and restaurants, many faculty and staff have given me great advice on the best running and hiking trails, favorite local breweries, and upcoming events to check out.

Wild card: What is something people don’t know about you?

When I was in college I studied abroad for two semesters, in Dublin, Ireland, and Fremantle, Australia. My time in Ireland was the study abroad experience all universities want their students to have, and I still have an annual reunion with the friends I made there. I think about this group every time I create a new program, because they remind me just how much impact a well-developed academic experience can have on a student’s life. Our 15-year reunion is next year, and I’m excited that the beautiful Colorado Springs will be the host city!

Have a favorite coffee spot or hiking spot to share? Or have a question about Summer Session? Contact Jim Burke on the second floor of Armstrong Hall or, (719) 389-6656.

A Summer Connecting with Our Sense of Place

Sense of Place Trip

By Devon Burnham ’16

This summer, Colorado College is hosting an array of free Sense of Place trips for its faculty and staff. They give participants the chance to be involved with activities that they normally would not have the opportunity to take part in, such as fly-fishing, climbing, and local hikes.

Led by Outdoor Education Director Ryan Hammes, the most recent Sense of Place trip took place over the course of two days. During the two-hour session on Wednesday, June 22, participants learned the fundamentals of fly-fishing, how fishing fits into Colorado’s tourism and local economy, and practiced some basics on campus. Those who signed up for part two, on Friday, drove up to the Catamount Center, in Woodland Park. There, they took a tour of the center, then put their newly acquired skills to the test in one of Catamount’s fishing ponds.

Hammes believes that the Sense of Place trips provide an opportunity to build a community. “It’s neat when you can bring all of these different backgrounds together,” says Hammes. “We don’t really talk about our work—we just talk about why it’s special to be here, and really enjoy each other’s company and connect.”

Molly Moran, visiting assistant professor and one of the nine faculty members who went on both trips, says she enjoyed learning more about the opportunities available to CC students, faculty, and staff at the Catamount Center. “The campus has so many wonderful opportunities, and these kinds of events help me to see what some of them are!”

The faculty and staff who went to the fly-fishing classes were excited to participate, saying that it was something they’ve wanted to do for some time. The trip itself was enough to inspire a future hobby for Karen West, academic records assistant in the Office of the Registrar. “I’d like to rent equipment, bring a friend, and try my luck fishing [at the Catamount Center],” West says. “He [Hammes] also mentioned I could find a local fly-fishing group at one of the fly-fishing shops, and I may try that too.”

No experience is necessary to sign up for Summer Sense of Place trips on Outdoor Education’s Summit page. Trips are free and gear is provided!

Upcoming trips:

– July 26, 2016 – Hike Red Rock Canyon Open Space
A 1-2 hour day hike to become more familiar with this wonderful open space park. 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

You can sign up for these trips via the Outdoor Education Summit page:

Farm Interns Growing Produce, Community Relations

CC Student Farm

By Joy Li ’18

Did you know that CC students grow much of the produce you eat in Rastall Café? Siqi Wei ’17, Kelsi Anderson ’18, Rebecca Glazer ’18, and Emma Brachtenbach ’17 are devoting their summer to managing the CC Student Farm, located behind the President’s House on Wood Avenue.
With guidance from Brachtenbach, a second-year intern, the four students together run the farm and the greenhouse, starting with planning, then planting, and finally harvest. They visit the farm in the mornings and evenings to weed and water the plants in the farm’s greenhouse and field plots. Most of the harvest is sold to campus food service provider Bon Appetit and becomes meals for CC students, faculty, and staff. The farm interns also participate in the downtown Colorado Springs farmers markets on Sundays and host community events such as a harvest banquet in September.

As college-age females, this team of interns challenges an older male stereotype of small farm farmers. They bring a variety of experience that not only involves the manual labor aspect of working a farm, but also scientific knowledge. For example, Wei is an environmental science major and tests the soil for pH levels and nitrogen phosphorus potassium (NPK) values, which indicate the wellness of the soil and the suitability for different plants.CC Student Farm

Sustainability is also a big focus at the CC Farm. According to Anderson, “the farm really shows how big a difference local food can make to the sustainable culture. It saves energy to transport food and protects the environment because it prevents large companies from outsourcing from big farms that use huge machines that can damage the ecological system.” Additionally, the farm participates in the local Slow Food chapter, which supports local food and small farms as a countermovement to the fast food culture. Glazer attended a Slow Food conference last fall and was inspired to join the farm. “It’s really important to have a place where people can be aware of where their food comes from and how much work goes into producing it,” she says.

The students’ work at the CC Farm also contributes to the connection between CC and the Colorado Springs community. Aside from attending the Sunday market and local Slow Food chapter meetings, the farm hosts events open to the broader community. Every Wednesday, the farm interns invite students and other members of the CC community and broader community to join them in fun activities at the farm, most recently, strawberry planting.

Brachtenbach believes the farm has the ability to repair and extend bridges into the community and build relationships that might otherwise be tense. “We can both connect and reconnect people to food and other people,” she says. “It should in no way be exclusive to students and hidden from the sight and helping hands of local community members.”



Travel Through Time on CC’s Historic Walking Tour

Historic Walking Tour

By Joy Li ’18

Looking for an excuse to explore campus this summer? Treat yourself to the CC Historic Walking Tour and take a trip through time, learning about the historic significance of your favorite CC buildings.

“It’s a chance to share the interesting histories associated with the heritage of our historic buildings,” says George Eckhardt, campus planner, who helped apply for state historical fund grants and gathered historic research on many of CC’s buildings.

Start the west-loop tour at the oldest building on campus, Cutler Hall, and admire its collegiate gothic style. Try to imagine Cutler being the only building on campus, housing all college functions. Behind the Worner Campus Center is Cossitt Hall, the “Rastall” for CC students until 1956, and then the gym until 1970. Famous choreographer Hanya Holm taught dance classes in Cossitt gym for 43 summers, beginning in 1941. Pass by Bemis, McGregor, and Montgomery, which served as the female dormitories in the early 1900s.

Then follow the tour to Ticknor Hall, which served as a military training base for radio operators during World War I. Next, proceed to Haskell House, formally known as Rice House, and where you can enjoy one of the best examples of Colonial Revival style in the city, designed in 1927 by Thomas Barber, co-designer of Colorado Springs City Hall. Finally, end the west-loop tour at 112-year-old Palmer Hall. This Romanesque Revival building stands in the center of campus and would’ve been replaced by a railway if the college and the City of Colorado Springs hadn’t strongly opposed the idea.

If you have only limited time, venture out on the east-loop tour, featuring Palmer Hall, Arthur, Jackson, and Lennox (Glass) Houses, Shove Memorial Chapel, and the Spencer Center.

Summer Tree Trimming and Removal

Keep an eye out for tree trimming and removal starting Monday, June 27, through the end of July. To protect healthy trees and prevent disease, crews will remove dead or dying trees. They will also be trimming trees in the central part of campus. Contact Josh Ortiz, landscape and grounds supervisor, with questions: Trees in the following locations will be removed:

  • Bemis Hall (southwest corner) – 1 Siberian elm
  • Ticknor Hall (north side) – 1 American elm
  • Boettcher Center (east side) – 1 silver maple
  • French House (northeast corner) – 1 Colorado blue spruce
  • Max Kade House (south side) – 1 silver maple
  • Breton Hall (northwest corner) – 1 Douglas fir
  • Slocum Hall (northwest side) – 1 ponderosa pine
  • Palmer Hall (south) – 1 crabapple
  • Armstrong Quad (north) – 1 American elm
  • Armstrong Quad (west) – 2 ponderosa pine
  • Armstrong Hall (east) – 1 Princess Kay plum
  • Slocum Hall (east) – 2 Englemann spruce
  • Jackson House (north) – 1 American elm
  • Jackson House (east) – 1 cottonwood
  • Interfaith House (south) – 1 silver maple
  • Autrey Field (southeast corner) – 1 Siberian elm
  • Stewart House (front doors) – 1 golden raintree
  • Stewart House (parkway) – 1 Norway maple
  • Pinetum – 1 juniper

Get to Know: Roy Jo Sartin, Fellowship Coordinator and Writing Center Specialist

Roy Jo Sartin

She’s a listener, a matchmaker, and a former magazine writer. There are a few things that will likely surprise you as you get to know Roy Jo Sartin, who most recently added fellowships coordinator to her previous role as Writing Center specialist.

What do your positions entail?
Half-time, I am the Writing Center specialist, and I work with students on high-stakes writing projects like theses and applications; I also teach writing-related workshops and adjuncts, such as a grant writing adjunct this fall. This past year, I became the half-time fellowships coordinator. My goal in that position is to help connect students with advisors and resources related to the different fellowships, scholarships, and grants that are available to them. I also offer feedback to the students on their applications for fellowships and grants. To get started, I took inspiration from President Tiefenthaler and did a year of listening: I tried to understand what the current process looked like, what advisors are doing, what they want to be able to do, what students’ experiences look like, and how it could work better for them. This summer I’m developing some robust outreach and support programs for next year.

How do you think your new position as fellowships coordinator will impact CC?
I think my position is going to provide a 35,000-foot view of the process. There are amazing advisors for all of these opportunities, and there are terrific students that fit these opportunities. But if they don’t connect with each other, students might graduate not knowing they could’ve pursued certain opportunities. So I’m hoping that I, in this position, can help connect and support those advisors and students. I’ve done a little bit of that in the first year, so I’m hoping to step it up next year and develop some specific processes to make those connections easier.

What do you bring to this job?
I think that my background as a consultant in writing centers and as a magazine writer is very useful in two ways: writing and listening. A major component of any fellowship application is the essay, so I can provide support and feedback to the writer. The other thing is that journalists and writing center consultants are trained as listeners and interviewers. Because of that, I can listen to the goals and needs of students and advisors, and then think about how to get there.

Where and what was your work before CC?
I worked in magazines as a writer and editor for several years. Then I taught history in K-12 and at the university level. I have also worked in writing centers at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

What are some personal or professional experiences you’ve had, either at CC or outside of CC, that play into your current role?
Let me tell you a story. At the first magazine I worked for, the editor wanted to create a new section of the magazine with short stories told in a whimsical way. This was not a humorous magazine at all. It was a western lifestyle magazine with event coverage, personality profiles, and how-to articles. It was very helpful, but not funny. My editor wanted to add this whimsical section to reach a younger demographic of readers. What was interesting was that it was a huge hit, but not just with younger readers. Other readers, especially retirees, started sending in story ideas for the section. It showed us that, in communication, it is very important to think both about your goals and about the desires of all members of your audience. This applies to fellowships and grant writing, to make a connection between desires and expectations from the sending and receiving ends.

Who/what has had the biggest influence on you?
First, my mother has the ability to talk to anyone whether she knows them or not. I try to emulate that. She has a way of putting people at ease and to meeting people where they are and having a conversation. Second, my first editor taught me that there’s more than one way to tell the same story. She read the first article I wrote for her, called me into her office, and circled two paragraphs of the article. She said, “This is awesome. Get rid of everything else and retell the story from the perspective of these two paragraphs.” It blew my mind that changing the perspective could change the takeaway message of a story. The last one would be my supervisor at the Writing Center at UCCS, who taught to me ask questions to help others work their way to their own realizations. This is really key to supporting fellowship applicants, because the process can be so transformative for students in discovering connections between their education, motivations, and desires for the future.

What have you noticed about CC?
It feels like people have genuine connections with each other in this community, connections that go beyond the classroom or just one meeting. Every connection that is made here is real and gets strengthened over time. That’s something really interesting about CC because I’ve witnessed that at other schools but only in much smaller contexts within the school. Here at CC, the whole community feels like a cohesive unit, where you keep making connections with different people and the connections strengthen the whole community.

Tell us a little it about your background?
I grew up in Texas and am named after my grandfather. I received a bachelor of arts in history from Texas Tech University, then worked for several years as a magazine journalist and as a wedding photographer. I started in writing center work during graduate studies for my master’s degree in history at UCCS.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to read, watch movies, ride bikes, and travel.

Wild Card: What is something people don’t know about you?
I got married at a 14th century castle in Scotland. Scotland is one of the few places in Europe where you can get married without a residence permit. Its most famous wedding location is Gretna Green, which has attracted couples from England, like Lydia Bennet and the despicable Wickham in Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice,” for centuries.

Eric Stover ’74 Pursues War Criminals in “Hiding in Plain Sight”

"Hiding in Plain Sight"

By Joy Li ’18

Eric Stover ’74, faculty director at the Human Rights Center of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, recently published “Hiding in Plain Sight” with two of his Ph. D. mentees, Victor Peskin and Alexa Koenig. “Hiding In Plain Sight” discusses the flights of war criminals throughout modern history and the range of diplomatic and military strategies to capture them. It starts with the stories of the post-war escapes of Nazis such as Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz physician who was known as the “Angel of Death” and Adolf Eichmann, the infamous initiator of the “final solution” and ends with today’s high-level suspects like al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Stover says he first gained interest in perpetrators of wartime atrocities when he held the bones of Josef Mengele in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “Standing there looking at the skeleton, I thought, ‘How could it be that this war criminal, who fled Auschwitz in 1945, could end up here on the other side of the earth? And what about all the other Nazis who were walking free in Latin America, where were they and why hadn’t they been caught?’” He continued his investigations of wartime leaders who escaped, successfully or unsuccessfully. Six years after, he co-authored and published “Hiding in Plain Sight,” which is also the companion book of the PBS documentary that he co-produced, “Dead Reckoning: Postwar Justice from World War II to The War on Terror,” which is scheduled to air in December. Additionally, his book and the work Stover did in Bosnia was recently featured by Christiane Amanpour on CCN.

As the author of over seven books, when asked to provide writing insight for CC students and faculty, Stover said: “Writing has no magic, it is simply inspiration, diligence, and many lonely hours of solitude as you rewrite and rewrite your copy first for yourself, then your readers, and finally to add a good dollop of spit and polish. And, of course, don’t forget to always check your sources and remember the advice of the Cornish writer and author of “On the Art of Writing,” Arthur Quiller-Couch: ‘In writing, you must kill your darlings.’ Then go for a hike in the Garden of the Gods.”

Cool Science Creates CC Connection to the Community

By Joy Li ’18

Rockets, slime, telescopes, and engineering workshops were just a few of the things getting kids excited about science at the 2016 Big Cool Science Festival. This spring, more than 3,000 community members from Colorado Springs and the greater Front Range visited to the CC campus for the event, co-organized by the nonprofit organization Cool Science and CC’s Cool Science Club. The carnival-style experience was designed to help children gain interest in science by presenting a variety of scientific exhibitions and experiments.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo brought in plants, animals, insects, and fungus for a hands-on exhibit about wildlife in Colorado; young scientists explored the “micro world” with help from CC biology students; and presentations from the archeology, architectural, and aerospace sectors were just a few of dozens of on-site opportunities for festival participants.

The 2016 event was the largest in the past five years both in number of participants and in donations; $24,000 was raised to cover the cost of the festival.

Big Cool Science FestivalCC’s Cool Science Club provided 70 student volunteers, who helped to organize and facilitate the
daylong event. The volunteers did everything from managing the booths to interacting with the participants to facilitating workshops and tours. Mark Straub, director of the Cool Science organization, says it’s great to work with CC students. “They do such a wonderful job managing this huge event,” he says.
The collaboration between CC students and the local nonprofit was established well before this year’s festival. The purpose of the Cool Science Club at CC is to work with the Cool Science organization to mentor at-risk elementary and middle school students, and help them develop an interest in science. CC students visit local schools monthly and facilitate science experiments. Stephanie Bui ’17, a leader of the CC Cool Science Club, says she gains a lot from the school visits. “It’s really heartwarming to know that kids are enjoying science and understand that science is not this formidable subject,” she says.

And the relationships the students begin in the classroom carry into the annual festival hosted on the CC campus. “It is a good liaison between the Colorado Springs community and CC,” says Bui of the festival, “especially for the marginalized students. We want them to experience what it’s like to be in college.” The festival not only strengthens the connection between CC and communities all over Colorado, it also provides the opportunity for CC students to volunteer and make connections with organizations throughout the community.