CC Looks to Reintegrate Monument Creek into Student Life, Education

On Monday, Colorado College State of the Rockies held its first meeting for a new project called “Reconnecting Colorado College with Monument Creek.” The event was hosted by Executive Director of the Greenway Fund Steve Rothstein, Associate Director of Colorado College State of the Rockies Project Brendan Boepple, and Colorado College State of the Rockies Program Coordinator Jonah Seifer. The event took place in McHugh Commons, where CC staff and students brainstormed and discussed concrete ways to reintegrate Monument Creek into student life and education.

Monument Creek. Photo by Jordan Ellison

Reconnecting CC with Monument Creek is the brainchild of a collaboration between Seifer and the interns in the Office of Sustainability. During the meeting, Seifer showed students and staff elements of CC’s 2015 Master Plan involving Monument Creek. The plan called for further integration between the campus and the creek in both geographical and educational terms.

“We want to turn Monument Creek into a quad,” said Seifer. During the meeting, he  displayed the results of a student survey that showed the main concerns CC students have with the creek, including the extreme amounts of litter and odor, the manifestation of the low-income housing problem, and the poor creekside access. When asked what they want to see happen with the creek in 10 years, students said they want better access, more wildlife, the ability to relax near natural vegetation, and tighter security.

“There is wildlife in Monument Creek even though it looks dead,” said Seifer. “I just found out there is a family of beavers living a couple miles upstream.” Professors and staff members at the meeting provided input on the history of Monument Creek and the potential for it to be a gateway that connects campus to the surrounding environment and community. Professors also gave suggestions on ways in which Monument Creek could be integrated into the curriculum. The school has not used Monument Creek for educational purposes in 10 years, but integrating the creek would provide opportunities for collaboration between students and professors, as well as the opportunity to learn about and deal with flood control.

Reconnecting CC with Monument Creek is supported by the Greenway Fund. “They provide us with networking capabilities, information, and resources,” said Seifer. Rothstein introduced the Greenway Fund as a program with the purpose of connecting people to water, literally and figuratively. “It is a great opportunity for Colorado College to get involved with the landscape,” said Rothstein.

The meeting was just the start of what will be a long-term collaboration. Director of Innovation at Colorado College Dez Menendez hopes that “Reconnecting Colorado College with Monument Creek” can become a legacy project. The project may receive future support and funding through Innovation at CC in order to promote social entrepreneurship.

“We are initiating a long-term project to address issues that students see in the creek today, and to hopefully create a cleaner, more equitable and accessible natural resource right on campus,” said Seifer.

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