Monthly Archives: October 2017

Annual Community Engagement Fair a Success

On October 11th from 11:30-1:00 pm Colorado College hosted its annual Community Engagement Fair in the Worner Lounge with a number of local non-profits.  This was an opportunity for students to connect with representatives from non-profits and educational partners of the Collaborative for Community Engagement, an organization on campus that helps students engage with the Colorado Springs community in meaningful ways through activities such as volunteering.  By bringing some of these organizations to our campus fair, Colorado College gave students the chance to participate as citizens of the community outside of the campus.

Some of the groups that had tables at the Fair:

Rocky Mountain Field Institute – Dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of public lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region through volunteer-based trail and restoration projects, environmental education, and restoration research.

Springs Rescue Mission – A group that focuses on mobilizing the community to provide relief, rehabilitation, and empowerment services to those in need.

Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center – Utilizing the unique and therapeutic attributes of the horse, their mission is to serve those with diverse needs, empower change, foster resilience, and nurture whole health through sustainable and innovative programs.

Concrete Couch – A non-profit that works with kids and community groups to create public art, build community, and create environments and experiences that humanize our world.

Friends of the Peak – A group with the goals of providing a unified, pro-active voice for the preservation and restoration of the natural environment of Pikes Peak, promoting and enhancing recreational opportunities and visitor experiences that are in harmony with that environment, and promoting awareness of and education about Pikes Peak.

Southern Colorado Health Network – Colorado Health Network (CHN) is a statewide organization in Colorado, serving nearly 4,000 individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and those at risk, as well as other program specific populations.  CHN provides innovative, individualized services to those most in need, educates high risk populations, and advocates for social and health care equity.

American Cancer Society -The American Cancer Society is on a mission to free the world of cancer.  Until they do, they’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention.  All so we can live longer and better lives.

Early Connections Learning Centers – Focused on providing high quality, comprehensive early care and education for all.

City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services –

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains –  The Mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual, to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services, to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality, to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications.

Memorial Hospital – We improve lives.  In big ways through learning, healing , and discovery.  In small, personal ways through human connection.  But in all ways, we improve lives.

Pikes Peak United Way – An organization committed to improving the quality of life in the Colorado Springs community.

Additional information on these organizations and others that partner with the CCE can be found on our Summit site at

A big thank you to everyone involved, and let’s hope every fair in the coming years is as successful as this one!


Welcome our new Engaged Learning Specialist!

We’re pleased to announce that Anthony Siracusa has started working for the CCE as our new Engaged Learning Specialist. We asked Anthony a few questions to get to know him better. Read his responses below!

Q: What brought you to the CCE? 

A: As an undergrad, I was a Bonner Scholar at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee – a place where I later served as the Community Service Coordinator. This staff position in the Bonner Center at Rhodes allowed meant that I oversaw the Bonner Scholars in addition to a bevy of other community engagement programs at the college.  Working at Rhodes led me towards a passion for helping students think about and engage in meaningful community work. So when the opportunity to do this type of work at Colorado College came along, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

Q: What is your past experience?

A: In 2002, I founded Revolutions Bike Co-op in Memphis with the goal of teaching people how to build their own recycled bicycles.  I worked with people from all ages and backgrounds in an effort to build community while building bicycles.  This experience led me to apply for a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 2009 to study bicycle cultures in Western Europe, China, Australia, and Central America.  When I returned to Memphis following the Watson, I wanted to focus more on public policy as it related to sustainable transportation.  To that end, I co-founded Bike Walk Tennessee to organize biking and walking advocates across the state to make policy changes that would create a safer state for people who walk and bike.  Bike Walk TN now has seven local advocacy committees in communities across Tennessee.

Before coming to CC, I also completed a Ph.D. in History at Vanderbilt University. My dissertation examined the evolution of nonviolence in the black freedom struggle in the years before the sit-in movement of 1960.  I have a deep passion for historical teaching and research, and look forward to finding ways to share this passion at CC.

Q: What does your job as Engaged Learning Specialist entail? 

A: My primary job is to work with students outside the formal classroom setting to think critically about the connections between their academic coursework and the work they are doing in the community.  I will work directly with students in the Community Engaged Scholars Program, The Public Achievement Program, the Bonner Pilot Program, the BreakOut alternative break program, and The Colorado College Farm.  I will be primarily responsible for facilitating skill based trainings and other co-curricular workshops that will, if all goes well, help students to deepen their impact.

Q: What is one thing you are most excited about this year?

A: I am most excited about developing relationships with students, faculty, staff, and community partners here at CC and in the Springs.  The best thing about living and working in Memphis for so long was the relationships I developed with people; I made so many friends and grew to know so many colleagues over time. Those relationships gave tremendous meaning to my life and work, and I am excited to find and develop those types of connections both on campus and in the community.

Q: What is your favorite type of candy and why?

A: I don’t eat candy very often…. but when I do, I eat a Butterfinger.  It’s got a great texture, and it was the candy of choice for Bart Simpson – which is likely the primary reason I chose it.

Q: What would your pet say if they had to recommend you?

A: “Please, just sit down and stay a while.  All that work will be there waiting when you’re ready to get back up.  Promise!”

Q: If you turned radioactive and bit someone, what powers would they gain from you?

A: Aside from the general fright this whole scenario invokes, I’d say that an individual bitten by a radioactive me might acquire a passion for the outdoors.  I love to camp and hike and bike, and I would be hopeful that this love for open spaces – rather than some other zombie-like transmitted quality – would be passed on to the unfortunate bitee.

Welcome, Anthony! We are glad to have you with us, and we cannot wait to see what you bring to the office and to the community!

Welcome our new Community Partnership Development Coordinator!

Welcome to our new staff member, Niki Sosa! Niki is our Community Partnership Development Coordinator, and this is her first year at the CCE. We asked Niki a few questions to get to know her better. Read her answers below!

Q: What brought you to Colorado College and the CCE?

A: I moved to Colorado Springs from Pueblo last spring and was working for a nonprofit organization. While I was doing great work for a great cause, I wanted to feel more connected to the work I was doing. I would pass CC on my daily commute and would often think about how great it would be to work on a college campus and empower students to get involved with the community and connect with nonprofit organizations. When I saw the post for the Community Partnership Development Coordinator for the Collaborative for Community Engagement, I knew that’s where I wanted to be and that’s what I wanted to be doing.

Q: What is your past experience?

A: I have a degree in Mass Communications and have worked in the nonprofit sector for fiveyears prior to coming to CC. My connection to nonprofit work starts from when I was a toddler and my dad worked for Bonfil’s Blood Center (and still does). We would visit him at the center, participate in their events and in high school I started volunteering by organizing blood drives and became a blood donor. In college, I became more civically engaged and started working for the Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation. That’s when I knew I had a passion for nonprofit work. I loved that I was able to take what I was learning in the classroom and apply it directly to nonprofits and causes that I was passionate about.

After college I worked for a few different nonprofits in varying roles from administrative and communications to volunteer management and program delivery. My time with Pueblo Rape Crisis Services was by far the most eye opening, and one where I wore many hats. I primarily worked with volunteers and saw the impact that one individual can have on another and in the community. It was inspired my desire to want to continue working towards empowering and engaging individuals in community impact.

Q: What does your job as Community Partnership Development Coordinator entail?

A: So, this is a good segue… as the Community Partnership Development Coordinator, I am responsible for the strategic development of community partnerships through the CCE. I will be building and maintaining long term and deeper relationships with community agencies to foster engagement opportunities for the CC community. If a student is interested in getting involved with a specific organization or cause to have a meaningful impact, I’m your gal. If a community organization is looking for volunteers or interns to engage in meaningful work, I’m your gal. I will be seeking partnerships that mutually benefit the community and the growth of CC students.

Q: What is one thing you are most excited about this year?

A: I think I am most excited about attending events. Hockey games, lectures, panels, concerts, art shows… I was highly engaged while in college and loved having so many opportunities to connect on campus. I am looking forward to that, connecting to the campus and to the Colorado Springs community.

Q: What is your favorite type of candy and why?

A: Ooh, Ferrero Rocher! They are just so wonderful. Everything about them is perfect.

Q: What would your pet say if they had to recommend you?

A: Hmm, what are they recommending me for? If it’s incorporating their names into popular songs, giving snacks, or head scratches – there’s no one better!

Q: If you turned radioactive and bit someone, what powers would they gain from you?

A: It may sound kind of lame but honestly, I would say patience and empathy. Past personal and professional experiences have really helped me to slow down and take the time to understand.

Welcome, Niki, to Colorado College and the Collaborative for Community Engagement! We are so happy to have you here, and we look forward to seeing what you bring to the office and the community!

The Colorado Springs Business Journal: Nonprofits Nervous About Proposed Budget Cuts

The Colorado Springs Business Journal recently reported some difficult news: the budget cuts proposed for 2018 by the Trump administration would hurt the nonprofit organizations in Colorado Springs, even those not receiving federal funding.

The article, written by Bob Stephens, goes on to explain why the impact of these budget cuts would be so severe. Many organizations that do not receive federal funding have partner organizations that do. If budget cuts occur and these organizations lose their federal funding, more donations from the local community would be necessary to keep them running. In an economy that recently experienced the Great Recession, ‘donor fatigue’ has been keeping donations from reaching local nonprofits in recent years. The article also points out that while the El Pomar Foundation is exceptionally generous with nonprofit funding in Colorado Springs, the foundation cannot save all the region’s nonprofit organizations on its own.

As a result of losing funding, nonprofit organizations would have to cut services. SherryLynn Boyles, executive director of TESSA, is quoted as saying, “’Pretty much every single one of our programs would face severe cuts,’ she said. ‘It’s daunting to think about that. And it would put a lot more pressure on our police departments, the courthouse and hospitals. When you cut federal funding, you’re hurting our community.’” In addition, nonprofit directors pointed out that they would have to lay off many of their employees. The impact on the community would be severe, with people losing jobs and community services at the same time.

Colorado College students would not go unaffected. Many of the CCE’s programs, along with partnerships that other CC offices including Athletics and Greek Life have with local nonprofits, would be affected by the budget cuts. A decrease in funding would limit off-campus opportunities for students, such as support for work-study positions and resources available at these organizations. On the bright side, the new tax plan has not yet been passed, so there is still hope that nonprofit funding in Colorado Springs can remain.

For the full article, follow the link:

By Claire Derry

CC Day of Service

Colorado College’s Day of Service was back for its 3rd annual creek cleanup in Monument Creek! On October 4th, CC hosted over 200 total volunteers, including members of the greater Colorado Springs community.

Over the course of three 2-hour shifts, volunteers picked up trash along the stretch of creek running from Uintah to Bijou. Although many volunteers were able to bring their trash bags back to the deployment site, staff and event volunteers took golf carts to shuttle some of the heavier and dirtier bags of garbage from the creek. The day even included a visit from President Jill Tiefenthaler, who came and cheered all of the volunteers on between the second and third shifts. After the cleanup was complete, the dumpster in at 1.71 tons – over 3,400 pounds!  The main three organizations on campus spearheading the logistical side of the event were Colorado College’s Collaborative for Community Engagement, the Office of Sustainability, and the State of the Rockies.

The Fountain Watershed Creek Week was initially organized in 2014 by a number of organizations in Southern Colorado, and it includes six major watershed communities in the Southern Colorado region including Colorado Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Fountain, Manitou Springs, Monument, Palmer Lake, Pueblo, and Woodland Park. From North to South, that is about 67 miles!  In total, there were over 60 clean up crews covering parks, trails, open spaces, and waterways in these 8 parts of Colorado. The stretch of creek CC cleaned was one of 8 separate zones in the Colorado Springs area, totaling about 3 miles of Monument Creek, which flows just west along the downtown area.

Many of the volunteers seemed to grasp the importance of the creek cleanup – both for the natural environment and our community’s well-being. When surveyed, 90% of the volunteers said  they would maybe or definitely participate in the clean up next year, and 60% said the clean up week changed their perspective on just how bad the pollution is in the waterways. The day’s work emphasized need for increased clean ups both in frequency and breadth, the need for more trash receptacles, and the need to address the issues of those unfortunate enough to be homeless in our communities. Liz Nichols, an office manager at RMFI, had the following to say about the cleanup: “My participation in Creek Week brought together several themes that are important to me. Our work at RMFI focuses a lot on erosion control, and in so much of our work area this means keeping sediment out of the Fountain Creek drainage. Our Creek Week project was picking up trash, but both endeavors contribute to the health of the watershed. Walking along the creek also reminds me of how much work remains to clean up the water itself. Its smell tells an old tired story. Much of the trash we found was generated by homeless camps along the creek. The homeless are another important issue our city is addressing, and I had not considered before this connection to a healthy watershed. The partnership with Colorado College, the Bonner Fellows we worked with, the consideration for Pueblo and our downstream neighbors highlighted the social community connections.”

Great job and a sincere “Thank You!” to everyone who participated in the cleanup and for caring about our environment!

By Sam White
Edited by Richard Bishop

This year, five students have been selected to participate in the CCE’s pilot of the Bonner Fellowship. This program aligns with the well-established nationally organized network of schools that have a Bonner program at their institution. These Bonner Fellows will engage in a yearlong paid internship with a community partner, in addition to working on community building and social justice education, as well as skill building to effectively create social change. The holistic nature of this program is designed to give students the education, preparation, and dialogue that empower them to be intentional in their community work. Launching this program at CC gives fellows access to a network of partner organizations, community engagement offices, other fellows, and alumni.

“Bringing the Bonner Fellowship to CC addresses issues that the CCE wants to prioritize: providing paid opportunities for community engagement for students who have to work while in school,” says Dr. Jordan Radke, CCE director. It also adds to the programs offered by the CCE, including BreakOut, the Community Engaged Scholars program, and the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate program. The Bonner Fellowship offers a program that is high-commitment and high-impact, which fills a niche in the CCE continuum of opportunities. The fellowship is intended to open engagement to students who need to work through college and do not have the same access to leisure time as other CC students – this includes underrepresented, first generation, and low income background students. This year’s five students were selected “based on their merit and passions and understanding of community engagement,” stated Dr. Radke.

This year the CCE office recruited a variety of organizations in the community. According to Dr. Radke, “we were intentional in selecting partners who suited several criteria – they needed to cover a range of issues, be located nearby for easy transportation for interns, and offer internships. These internships needed to provide our students with meaningful work, and the opportunity to scale up their responsibilities over time, because ideally this is a 4-year program.” The CCE sent student finalists to interview at the community partner organizations, and matched the students and partners to each other. This year, the partners are the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Colorado Springs School District 11, Meadows Park Community Center, Southern Colorado Health Network, and the City of Colorado Springs (Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services).

The future of the program is contingent on funding for next year, provided that this year’s pilot program is successful. Dr. Radke hopes that the program will develop to support up to 10 students, and that the CCE “can leverage the expertise of both community partners and faculty. The program’s small group meetings are collaborative, and we want to create a learning community around the program.” If the program continues, Dr. Radke would also like to see the program become integrated into the admissions process as a scholarship to support committed students, and function as a recruiting tool. Currently, the Bonner Fellows meet three weeks out of every block to check in, and they also attend additional programming outside the blockly requirements for their internships. Their most recent workshop was on reciprocity in community engagement, said Dr. Radke. “We discussed how to go into a community humbly – you have something to offer and also something to learn.”

To learn more about the CCE’s Bonner Fellowship, visit