As the seniors’ final weeks begin to wrap up and their time at Colorado College comes to a close, they are looking ahead to Commencement on Monday, May 22. Commencement is a significant marker of every college graduate: the moment when graduates receive their diplomas and take their first steps into life after college. It is a celebration of family, friends, and the CC experience.
Current journalist-in-residence Hampton Sides will be addressing the senior class and families this Commencement. Sides is a renowned author and historian, and admired teacher and mentor to many CC Tigers.
“I’ve taught a good number of the graduating seniors, and I have fond memories of working with them—both in and out of the classroom. It will be a joy to see so many of them at commencement day, and to wish them well as they head out on their life’s adventures,” said Sides on the kinship he feels with the seniors.
Senior Liz Forster was nominated by fellow classmates and then selected by the senior class committee to introduce Sides. In addition to Forster, seniors Michael Greenberger, Abram Mamet, and Annika Kastetter were also selected to address their graduating class. Forster’s introduction will cite Sides’ impressive credentials and the relationships he has built with students, with her as a case study.
“The second part, the more important part, is talking about how he’s been a mentor to me and how he and I built a very strong relationship around journalism,” said Forster on her relationship with Sides that began when she took his Block 5 class, “Elements of Narrative Non-Fiction.”
Sides’ speech will concentrate on what has been termed the “truth decay” in our country; an issue that concerns him and threatens the truth which individuals communicate. “The notion that we live in a ‘post-factual’ world, one in which not only is truth under siege, but even the standards by which we determine truth,” said Sides on his impression of the “truth decay.”
Sides’ speech connects to the crucial power of a liberal education. Every time one enters CC’s great Palmer Hall, they read in golden orange above: “Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make you Free.” Especially in the current political climate and technologically advancing age, a liberal education serves as a useful tool to shift through the onslaught of information.
“This pernicious trend has come to infect multiple spheres of our public life—and it gets to the heart of why the critical thinking that comes with a liberal arts education remains so important to our society,” said Sides on how vital the liberal mindset is to confronting the “truth decay.”
Sides’ speech sounds as if it will reaffirm the value of the diploma and give confidence to the departing seniors. Although many seniors are moving forward from CC to exciting opportunities, the parting is still bittersweet. “Not being physically present with the people I’ve built incredible relationships with is really tough to grapple with,” said Forster on what she will miss going forward.
Senior Creative Writing major David Melone has a positive outlook on graduation: “It’s not like I’m leaving, but going towards something.” Melone’s statement speaks to the greater benefit of the CC experience: developing mental stamina and long-lasting friendships.
due to lem is mostly has to do with privilege, who gets to have lessons and excess to technology and its usually men who are encouraged in those areas,” said Wolfenbarger.
The new B-Side Collective space next year will give opportunities to many unrepresented musicians. It will offer workshops and collaborative spaces for those who have trouble breaking into CC’s student music scene.
Yet it is still more difficult for females to integrate into the popular student band community than males. “It is hard to break in; I feel the inhibition and hesitation,” said Ariannis Hines ‘19, trombonist for student band Promiscuous Stepsister. Becoming a part of the scene involves more than solely musical skill. “Get an edge somehow. Know and worth and make everyone else know it to,” said Hines on advice to aspiring female musicians.
This issue goes beyond CC: “In the over all music world there is still a lot of discrimination. There are all these small things where you don’t see women in certain areas,” said Wolfenbarger. The lack of diversity in music is representative of the history of music yet it is also reflective of CC’s own intersection of privilege and lack of diversity.
“It’s like who they accept here. They accept white jam-band kind of guys,” said Hines. There is no dispute that all the past Llama selections are extremely talented and great performers, yet there is a certain tendency towards similar genres and people included.
“I’ve become a little disheartened with the music scene here. I think it’s mostly because there’s not that much interest with experimental music on this campus,” said Wolfenbarger. The lack of musical genre diversity in student bands correlates to the lack of diversity of gender identity and race. “It inherently brings in more types of music when you have all sorts of different people playing,” said Morrissey.
The B-Side Collective is opening doors for people of all identities yet these issues of inclusion and gender should be more familiar discussions. “Music is sitting down and practicing so anyone can do it if you’re a man or woman or non-gender conforming,” said Haines, citing the core commonality of music. The fact that the CC student band scene is reflective of a larger, international issue does not justify its silence and lack of progress.