Monthly Archives: February 2020

Farewell to Dr. Anthony Siracusa

It is with mixed emotions that we announce Dr. Anthony Siracusa will be leaving Colorado College in mid-March for a new position as the inaugural Director of Community Engagement in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi. I personally, along with the rest of the CCE team, am incredibly grateful for Anthony’s contributions to the CCE.  Anthony consistently went above and beyond in his role as assistant director to enhance the capacity of the CCE and leaves us in a better place than when he began.  Since joining our team in the fall of 2017 after receiving his PhD in History from Vanderbilt, Anthony has led the student-facing work of the CCE – passionately, thoughtfully, and strategically deepening civic learning and development both inside and outside of the classroom. He played an integral role in shaping the direction of the office through our strategic planning process and has provided skillful leadership to CCE staff.  He has been a strong representative and advocate for the CCE throughout the institution, and shared his experience and insights in talks and presentations at CC and beyond.

One of Anthony’s greatest legacies for Colorado College and the CCE has been advocating for, institutionalizing, and developing our Community Engaged Fellowship program.  In its pilot year when Anthony joined our staff, the program is now a robust, intentionally-designed 4-year fellowship with 25 students.  He has laid out a 4-year, developmental civic co-curriculum for fellows, founded a student leadership team, and helped establish a High Impact Partnership Initiative to identify core partners to lay a foundation for meaningful student work.  He has strategically and collaboratively worked with Advancement to fundraise for the program, with Admissions to coordinate the application process with that of the college, with Financial Aid to integrate the fellowship into the aid process, with Global Education to adapt to regulations for international students, and with Student Employment to brainstorm the best ways to support students financially and uphold accountability in the program.

Anthony has helped transform the CCE into a bustling hub of student activity, building strong relationships with students and taking seriously the value of “co-creation” – working to cultivate student leadership in all CCE programs.  Our Public Achievement, BreakOut, and CoOp programs, as well as Community Engaged Scholars and Leaders pathways all engage more students and are more developed, intentional, impactful programs at the end of Anthony’s tenure.  He has also individually advised countless community-engaged students with care and skill, helping them to discern their passions and pathways, and supported numerous Watson Fellowship applicants to find their voice and dreams.

Anthony has been a true educator, seeking to integrate community engagement with teaching and learning, building on and extending the educational mission of the college.  His scholarship engages with and contributes to our understanding of social change and civic leadership.  His book, tentatively titled The World as it Should Be: Religion and Nonviolence before King, is under contract at the University Of North Carolina Press.   He co-taught an “Engaged Journalism” class with me in the spring of 2019, taught a community organizing adjunct this fall, and is teaching an Introduction to Community Engagement course to our Fellows.  He has also worked to integrate his expertise and skills as a historian into his student work, and has co-written a chapter for Discussing Democracy with a student, was active in the Digital Liberal Arts consortium, and has worked to build his skills around public knowledge-making and identifying untold narratives and areas of knowledge that have been excluded from platforms such as Wikipedia.  And finally, Anthony has worked to establish a robust curriculum for our Public Achievement program, and provided rigorous programming for Community Engaged Fellows.  These examples show how seriously he takes learning alongside the classroom, and the way that he has sought to elevate the expectations and learning outcomes for our students within these programs.

After March 13th, Anthony will pursue new opportunities to enable him the chance to grow professionally.  The CCE is deeply grateful for Anthony’s 2.5 years of service, and wish him the best in all future endeavors! Please join me in congratulating him, and wishing him luck on this next step in his professional journey.

Dr. Jordan Travis-Radke
CCE Director

Amping Up Our Community: Professor Lynne Gratz’s Environmental Thermodynamics Energy Audits

Colorado College recently announced that the college is officially carbon neutral! A logical next step is to improve the energy efficiency of the surrounding community. During Block 2, Professor Lynne Gratz’s Environmental Thermodynamics course worked with a home from the Colorado Springs community, and technicians from the Energy Resource Center, conducting a preliminary audit of the house and carrying out a retrofit of the home. I spoke with Mataan Peer ’21, a junior from Los Gatos, California, who informed me about what exactly the energy audit entailed. “The preliminary audit was an audit of the homes energy efficiency. Just checking where we could improve the house’s efficiency. I went into the attic and measured the depth of the insulation as well as checking the efficiency of the insulation. Our house had an odd ceiling configuration that forced us to blow a lot more insulation than expected. We also went into the basement and did some square footage measurements to see how much batt insulation we needed for the foundation walls.”

Along with making sure the house was well insulated, the class was also responsible for measuring the current energy output of the house itself. ”Another team put energy meters on the appliances to measure their energy usage. Then as a group we used a blower door test to find infiltration points. The blower door creates a pressure differential between the inside (negative pressure) and the outside (normal pressure). With the differential we could physically feel the places where air was leaking into the house,” remarked Peer .

By implementing these simple and cost-effective methods, students were able to apply the knowledge they gained in the course toward community benefit increasing the energy efficiency of homes in the surrounding community. This sustained partnership with the ERC began years ago, and is a great way for students to develop more knowledge surrounding the environment. For Peer, who is not an environmental major, felt that the hands-on community element of the class added a lot of value to the course. “It taught me a lot about how we can apply physics and chemistry concepts to environmental concerns like energy production and energy efficiency” explained Peer. For any interested in not only developing knowledge on energy efficiency, but also aiding in their community this course will be offered again in Block 7.

If you want to watch a video from last year, click here!

By Ben Greenly, CCE Storyteller