President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog
We just announced that an investment partnership led by alumnus Ian Griffis ’85 has given ground water rights beneath a parcel of land to CC. The partnership is comprised of additional Colorado College alumni David Birnbaum ’83, John Chalik ’67, Michael Millisor ’83 and Dr. William Griffis ’78, as well as David Lord, the college’s former longtime business manager. Several other friends of the college also are partners.
Located in Douglas and Elbert counties, approximately 14 miles southeast of Castle Rock, Colorado, the parcel contains 1,331 acre-feet per year of Denver Basin water rights. This amount is the equivalent of 434 million gallons of water per year.
The college plans to retain the water rights as a long-term asset. When sold, the water rights could add several million dollars to Colorado College’s endowment portfolio, which has a current market value of $680 million. Funds from the sale will be used to establish a scholarship endowment.
Dear Alumni and Parents,
We started Block 6 with our First Mondays program featuring Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of “Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It.” She talked about cultivating hope for our future selves as a trait to help prevent suicide. The day’s events culminated with small groups of students, faculty, and staff across campus and in faculty homes engaging in conversations over dinner. Programming that drives vital conversations like these has drawn recognition and praise for CC’s Wellness Program.
Our Mental Health First Aid program, for example, was honored by Mental Health America – Colorado this year at their annual Tribute Gala. This distinction identified CC for our holistic approach to supporting student mental health and wellness. Very few institutions of higher education, large or small, take our broadly collaborative approach, one that we think aligns especially well with the personal and challenging education that occurs on the Block Plan.
The Mental Health First Aid course introduces students, faculty, and staff to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds an understanding of their impact and reviews common treatments. Participants in the course come away with a five-step action plan to assess the situation, select and implement appropriate interventions, and help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care.
Among the many strengths of our award-winning program is the way we connect mental health risk reduction to mental health promotion activities. For example, the “Rock the Block” workshop series that began this year includes sessions on stress and anxiety management, as well as sessions on time management and speed reading. It isn’t just about solving problems or addressing issues, but rather, the series is devoted to helping students develop skills for success and well-being. A variety of conversations provides multiple connection points for students to the diverse resources we have in place.
The definition of student success at Colorado College includes GPA and academic honors as well as walking across the stage at graduation. However, it also means developing our students as whole people who live healthy, positive lives of meaning and contribution. We want students to connect the dots between different aspects of their lives, such as how substance use, diet, sleep, and exercise may affect their relationships and academic success. A commitment to connecting what our students learn in the classroom to how they live their lives is central to a CC residential liberal arts education.
On a recent list of top environmental science schools, CC was ranked in the top ten, coming in at #7.
The group publishing the ranking, EnvironmentalScience.org, advocates for environmental science education and careers. They based their ranking on the percentage of total students graduating with an environmental science degree.
A contingent of CC faculty, staff and students represented the college at the 2015 Ashoka U Exchange in Washington, D.C. The event convened more than 150 college and university members of Ashoka U’s global network to connect on the topic of advancing social innovation on their campuses. Social innovation was discussed through a variety of perspectives: from admission and the curriculum, to career services and alumni engagement and beyond.
Two CC students, Julian Kraus-Polk ’15 and Alex Suber ’15, presented on informing and exciting first-year students about social innovation during their first semester. The Summer Global Sustainability Internship Program was featured at the conference in presentations by Professors Eric Popkin and Wade Roberts.
Last summer, CC was one of 30 institutions selected to be the founding cohort of Changemaker Campuses, which includes institutions that are setting the bar in support of Ashoka’s mission of advancing social entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. CC Dean of Students Mike Edmonds, Popkin, Roberts, and Professor Manya Whitaker received the designation on behalf of the college.
Merchants of Doubt, an independent documentary co-produced by Film and Media Studies Professor Dylan Nelson, is opening in theaters nationwide this weekend. The film adaptation of the 2010 book of the same name aims to debunk climate change deniers. The film was directed by Robert Kenner (of “Food, Inc.” fame), premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and went on to screen at several major fall festivals. The documentary was nominated for a Producers Guild Award and is being released by Sony Pictures Classics.
Professor Nelson was able to work on this project over two years, thanks to the support of CC’s English Department and the Film and Media Studies Program. Four CC students (now recent graduates) served as production interns on the film; another handful got credit for transcription work. Ryan Loeffler ’12, who worked on the project, worked his way up to assistant editor, and is now working for Robert Kenner Films.