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


First 2017-18 Engaged Scholars Orientation a Great Success!

On Wednesday, September 27th, the CCE’s new house held its first large event as 30 new Engaged Scholars, most of them first years, squeezed in for a tasty lunch and their program orientation.  This meeting was intended to inform students on how to fulfill their obligations to the program and illustrate the many ways in which they can be involved in the community.

At the meeting, the CCE held a panel with leaders in campus engagement programs, including David Crye, Assistant Director of the Office of Outdoor Education, Ian Johnson, Director of Sustainability, and Lani Hinkle, Director of the Public Interest Fellowship Program. “One of the purposes of the orientation is to broaden the scope of strategies for investing yourself in social change,” says Jordan Radke, CCE director. “The goal is to make all the information on this campus about community engagement manageable.” She also cites the fact that the Community Engaged Scholars Program is designed to be a gateway program that helps to build a more engaged campus culture. Students hold themselves accountable for the work they put in to their community engagement, and how they choose to be involved, so each scholar creates an individualized program. The orientation is a chance for students to view engagement as something beyond direct service, finding opportunities in coursework, internships, and activism.

Looking ahead, Jordan hopes to grow the program not just in how many students participate, but also in the support offered to the scholars by the CCE. An Engaged Learning Specialist will be joining the CCE staff in a few weeks, and they will be able to offer more programming to the Community Engaged Scholars. Jordan also envisions the program including more spaces for students to come together, and “the chance to leverage student expertise on how to involve yourself in social change.” With many first years joining the program, she hopes that students went away from the meeting “feeling like they are a part of something, and that community engagement is a part of the culture here at CC.”

Are you interested in becoming a Community Engaged Scholar, or would you like to know more about the program? Visit the CCE website,, for more information.

On Friday afternoon, a gaggle of school children gathered in the halls of Barnes and Olin Hall for their favorite Friday afternoon activity: science labs. Making excited statements such as “I want to go here!”, the children were in awe of CC’s campus, as well as the CC students that led them through their adventures of the day. One of these students, Ines Siepmann, is a sophomore at CC and bubbles with excitement whenever speaking of Biosciences Outreach club. She wrote about Fridays event, detailing the fun the elementary schools students had.

“Bioscience Outreach Club had their final two events of the year last Friday and this Tuesday, working with elementary school students from Audubon and Jackson Elementary schools, respectively. On Friday, thirty students, grades third through fifth, came to CC for a full afternoon of activities, including four different labs, some explosive and foamy demonstrations, and dinner at Rastall! All students that attended were part of Audubon’s “CC Science Club,” an after-school program at Audubon in which CC students provide lab-based science experiences on a twice a block basis Friday afternoons. This was the first time Bioscience Outreach Club had an on-campus event, and it was a wonderful adventure and success!”

On Tuesday, fifty-five first graders from Jackson Elementary School came to campus to give them a brief depiction of what college life is like, and introducing the concept at a young age. Bioscience worked with them for an hour to show another “Elephant Toothpaste” demonstration, and to learn about basic chromatography through markers, rubbing alcohol, and fabric.”

In the pictures above it is apparent the immense engagement students had with these labs and the CC students that led them through the labs. As Biosciences continues to grow, Siepmann and her peers hope to “continue to maintain a constant, working relationship with our current elementary school, Audubon Elementary, and to continue garnering consistent and excited student commitment (both from CC students and from the elementary school students that attend). Beyond that, we’re looking at a couple different potential growth options — this year, for the first time, we’re having one large, on-campus, multi-grade-level event, which is very exciting! We’re also partnering with a second elementary school to provide a small program for their campus visit. Should we continue to grow and have invested CC students, we plan to potentially look at partnering with additional elementary schools.”

The future of Biosciences is bright as incredibly passionate and dedicated students such as Ines take the lead to expand and improve Biosciences.



Community Engagement Recognition Awards and Certificates

Every year, our office is privileged to witness our students, faculty and community partners work together to do some truly amazing things. The young men and women we work with use their passion and their intellect to engage with the community in creative and often complex ways to help make this a better place for everyone.  Although we would like to recognize everyone, there are some people in particular we would like to acknowledge. Below are the recipients (1 professor, 1 community organization, and 4 students) of our annual awards , nominated by their peers and selected by the CCE staff.

We would also like to recognize all of the students who have completed the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate and Community Engaged Scholars program.

Congratulations to them all, and we look forward to an even better year in 2017-18!


The following awards and certificates will be presented at a recognition event, on Thusday, May 4th:




Exemplary Achievement in Community-Engaged Teaching

This award honors a faculty member who has artfully woven teaching and learning with community-based work in transformative and innovative ways. Recipients of this award encourage students to make powerful connections between theory and practice, support the development of civic-skill building and civic identity, and prepare liberal arts students to engage as agents of change in a complex and challenging world. Recipient:  Professor Christina Leza


Outstanding Community Partner Award

This award honors community partners who collaborate with the campus community in partnerships that impact the common good, meaningfully engage students, and provide opportunities for students to learn and grow. By community partner, we mean a non-profit or government agency with whom the campus partners to improve the quality of life of the Colorado Springs community.  Recipients of this award support collaborative initiatives to positively impact social change through reciprocal, sustainable partnerships and contribute to student development through encouraging systems-level thinking, and promote the development of civic skill-building and civic identity.  Recipient: Lutheran Family Services


Outstanding Engagement with K-12 Youth

This award honors a student in any year, who has done outstanding work in a K-12 education setting. Recipients of this award show an awareness and deep understanding of educational issues, and demonstrate a commitment to fostering the development and achievement of youth. This award recognizes ongoing positive community impact in K-12 student learning and success.  ​Recipient:  Nan Elpers

Exceptional Promise in Social Justice Award

This award honors a lower-division student who shows exemplary promise as a champion of social justice, applying and integrating their liberal arts learning to community-based work in thoughtful, intentional ways. Recipients of this award show a deep and abiding commitment to societal change at the grassroots level, and serve as exemplary models of engagement and empathy, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. Recipient: Sarah Kang

Award for Outstanding Community Service

This award is presented to a graduating senior who, through commitment to community service, best exemplifies the ideals of a liberal arts and sciences education. Over the years at Colorado College, this student has been consistently dedicated to promoting an ethic of community engagement and involving others in understanding the civic and social challenges of our world. A monetary award, endowed by the Class of 1981, accompanies this award.  Recipient:  Emma Kepes

Anabel and Jerry McHugh Director’s Award

Established in 1996, The Anabel and Jerry McHugh Director’s Award is presented to a graduating senior who has made a significant contribution to the enhancement of the Collaborative for Community Engagement at Colorado College. This award does not recognize the particulars of a student’s engaged work as much as it recognizes the overall effort of a student to promote a culture of responsible community engagement and to promote the CCE. A monetary award, endowed by a private donor and the Board of Trustees, accompanies this award.  Recipient:  Emma Brachtenbach



Community Engaged Leaders

This distinction honors students who have developed into civic leaders committed to solving complex social issues.  Community Engaged Leaders develop their civic capacities by adopting leadership roles within community-engaged work and implementing a senior capstone project that culminates their college experience and impacts the common good. Recipients:  Jay Hartman, Austin Lukondi, Nicole Tan, Madelene Travis

Community Engaged Scholars

This distinction honors students who have engaged in sustained, informed, and deliberate community engagement.  Community Engaged Scholars have consistently engaged in community work throughout their undergraduate careers and have regularly made an effort to learn from and apply learning to engaged experience. Recipients: Cheryn Aouaj, Ellen Atkinson, Stephanie Bui, Barbora Hanzalova, Emily Kautz, Emma Kepes, Morgan Mulhern, Genia Niemeyer, Rayna Nolen, Madeline Polese, Julia Terman, Maggie Turner, Avukile (Jennifer) Zoya

Keller Elementary Students Treated to College Experience

On April 19th, Professor Marty Slayden (Department of Spanish and Portuguese) and her Spanish 101 class hosted a group of ELL (English Language Learners) students from Helen Keller Elementary.  The kids met in Bemis Lounge and shared stories that the CC students had written in both English and Spanish.  One of the students, Israel Ashiagbor, wrote a very moving story about some children whose father is deported, and yet through their own strength and resilience they end up receiving scholarships one day to Colorado College. He also wrote a song to go with the story and taught the song to everyone while he played it on the piano.

Afterwards, the kids were taken on a tour of campus and played soccer outside of Barnes.  Then everyone went to Rastall for lunch, where the kids got to pile their plates with french fries, pizza and cookies!

Congratulations to Professor Slayden and her students for such a creative and engaging opportunity to incorporate our local youth.  Thanks for letting us share in the adventure!