Chase Brown might be most noticeable for his shaggy brown hair and his full grown beard, or for his common attire of pajama pants and toe shoes, but much less so for his multifaceted interests.
The sophomore Winter Start, a self-described “mountain baby,” chose to come to CC for the mountains and the Block Plan. While he originally intended on playing lacrosse during his four years here, he is now much more interested in ceramics, academics, and outdoor education. Brown said, “There is no normal day” here at CC, but he usually tries to finish his homework early so that he can “do something else, like pottery or climbing or squash, depending on whatever [he is] feeling that day.”
Brown, throughout his childhood, was immersed in an active lifestyle. His family—parents and an older brother and sister—moved around the country a lot, which allowed them to bond and explore various parts of the U.S. Brown was born and raised in Colorado for five years, but he then moved to New York and lived there until his parents decided they didn’t like the people there. He lived in Rhode Island for middle school and then went back to Colorado for high school. Along with moving around, Brown and his family went on a lot of camping trips when he was growing up. This influenced his own interests, for Brown has already spent a significant amount of time exploring the outdoors.
Following in his siblings’ footsteps, Brown chose to participate in an outdoor experiential program called Adventure Treks. For five years of his life, Brown went on month-long trips during the summer that led him all over the country, from Washington to North Carolina to Alaska. “I learned a lot from those trips,” he said, “mainly about life goals and sustainability.”
After applying to CC and getting in as a Winter Start, the adventuring continued. “I looked at the list of things I could do for credit and I saw the NOLS trip and thought it was right up my alley, so I did that for the first three months of school. I went to Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho. We didn’t just go backpacking, though. All the trips that I’ve done aren’t just backpacking. They are like backpacking and kayaking or backpacking and ice climbing,” Brown said.
The sophomore also began getting involved in CC’s Outdoor Education Department. By the end of his first semester, Brown had completed Backcountry Level 1 Training along with Backcountry Level 2 and Climbing Level 2, and only needed to co-lead a trip to make his leader status official.
Overall, Brown thinks that he has spent around 9 or 10 months of his life in the backcountry. “I like being outside because it is an escape from technology and just everything in life, really. Also, it comes with a quiet that you can’t hear anywhere else—you don’t really notice how loud our world is until you’re outside and realize how quiet it can get. And then, you know, pretty views. You see stuff that you’ve never seen before because pictures never give anything justice. They can’t capture the sheer magnitude of things that you experience when you are out there.”
Brown’s sense of adventure extends past the outdoors with his love for squash. He started playing with fellow squash-enthusiasts and, at the end of last year, was asked to be the sports representative at CC. “I ate lunch with the anonymous donor who donated all the money to the squash courts at CC, and he said he is interested in me starting a squash team that could potentially play against other schools,” Brown said.
“What I’ve started to do is make a bracket for people who want to play games, along with another sign-up for people who would be interested in playing even more squash. Not many people have put their names up yet, but, if there is more interest, then the team could become a reality.”
Brown started playing squash in fifth grade with his family, growing up, they played a lot of sports together. During sixth grade, though, he started practicing with the JV team of the boarding school that his dad worked at (and his siblings attended), moving up to Varsity when he reached eighth grade. “I was never allowed to play any games since I technically wasn’t a student there, but practice was fun,” Brown said. After moving back to Colorado, squash “pittered out,” but his involvement with ceramics began.
During his first year at CC, Brown managed to get into Open Studio as opposed to a formal adjunct class, although it was a tough process. “It was brutal because I did that for the last three blocks of last year and had to wake up super early every time,” Brown said. “This year, I found out that I could get Open Studio for the whole semester so I did that instead.”
Indeed, he has been taking advantage of the open studio, and spends many hours a day throwing new pieces. Brown’s pottery can be found adorning his bookshelves and desk in his room, and also spread throughout his home. “My mom likes them,” he said, “but some of my pieces get shunned to the basement. It depends on which ones she likes.”
Brown’s mother was actually the main reason he got into ceramics in the first place. When choosing between classes for the art requirement at his high school, Brown’s mom suggested taking ceramics because she knew he liked to work with his hands. Brown agreed to try it out and liked it so much that he took it again his senior year. He joked, “My senior year was a little too easy, so three out of six periods I would go down to the art studio and work. My art teacher started to realize that I was making way too much, so I always had to recycle the clay I used since I couldn’t use the new clay.”
Towards the end of his senior year, though, he became even more involved in the ceramics world as he started a two-week internship with Willi Eggerman, a local artist in Boulder, for his high school graduation requirement. “I helped clean her studio and helped her with the business, even selling some of her work at one point.”
“One it ended, I decided that I really enjoyed the internship, so I continued over the summer. I would clean her studio from 9:30 a.m. to noon and help her out with whatever she needed. After I finished, I would just throw from noon till whenever I wanted to leave.” The internship granted Brown the freedom to create more art in an unstructured setting, similar to open studio here at CC.
Brown—whether it be through his exploration of the outdoors, his developments in squash, or his growing craft of pottery—is living a life of adventure. “I am very self-driven,” he said. “I do things because I want to get better at them and I like to see myself grow and push myself to the limits for whatever I do. It can be complicated at times, and suck at times, but I enjoy that either way.”
As for the future? Oddly enough, Brown is planning on majoring in Math and Economics, although he admits the related jobs are not very thrilling: “I feel like the kind of jobs that those entail are very boxed-in, cubicle types that I am just not down for. Even though I would potentially make a lot of money, which would be great, is it worth being stuck in a box? I don’t think so.” While he is opposed to restricting himself within a job, he also admits that he wants to adventure the most while he is young.
“It’s what I call getting my ya-yas out. Ya-yas are your craziness and excitement: Your wild side,” Brown said. This wild side seems to fuel Brown’s many adventures, and seems to be representative of his drive to keep pursuing new experiences. When balanced with his relaxed, quiet, and calm demeanor, the essence of Chase Brown can be understood. As Brown said, “I’m gonna roll with life and see where it takes me.”