Colorado College is moving towards increased student and faculty involvement in the Colorado Springs community. This transition has encouraged a mutually beneficial relationship between local organizations and the student body. The CC bubble is largely “popping” as students find local partners that meet their academic and extracurricular goals and their social and political interests.
The Collaborative for Community Engagement is an office founded on the commitment to engaged citizenship within a liberal arts institution, and they are showing continued commitment to these goals through the CC Week of Action, taking place Sept. 29 through Oct. 7.
The Annual Creek Week Clean-Up of Monument Creek, which runs alongside the CC campus, is now transitioning from a Day of Service to a Week of Action. Niki Sosa, the CCE’s Community Partnership Development Coordinator, explained that the language was changed to better support the CCE’s mission.
“The shift in language, from service to action, aligns with our values of community engagement,” Sosa said. “We are seeking to create opportunities for students, as well as faculty and staff, and broadly the entire CC community, to be doing active engagement in and with the greater Colorado Springs community, as opposed to the service to the community.” Sosa said her desire is to not only encourage students to volunteer off-campus, but also to encourage the Colorado Springs community to utilize the resources the college provides.
The week-long program showcases multiple opportunities for the CC community to be involved with Colorado Springs, the goal being to sustain community interest beyond a single day, or even week of service. Students and faculty can meet community organizers during the Week of Action and continue these relationships and passions through year-long volunteer commitments.
“We wanted to have a little bit more time, as opposed to one single day, to build in diverse opportunities with different community partners, as well as invite intercampus partners to participate as well,” Sosa said. “It doesn’t also have to be cleaning up a creek or doing a specific kind of volunteer opportunity. There are a wide range of diverse opportunities that can be considered community engagement.”
The schedule of events is diverse – each day of the week has up to four volunteer opportunities that only require a Summit registration to participate. Collaborations include: the Butler Center’s “Toward a Daily Anti-Racist Agenda” Workshop, Refugee Alliance’s blockly meeting, a workshop on the gender and racial bias of Wikipedia in Special Collections, Concrete Couch Clean-Up, Council of Neighbors and Organizations Central/Downtown Neighborhood Chat, LPP Staff Experience the Springs, Mixed Match Documentary Screening, Blood Drive/Be the Match Drive, Fall Harvest Banquet, Beautification Projects with Greccio Housing, and service at the Marian House Soup Kitchen. Sosa explained that the Concrete Couch Clean-Up was one of the many opportunities she was looking forward to this week.
“The clean-up that they’re doing is on a new plot of land that they’ve just acquired, just south of downtown,” Sosa said. “They have five acres of land that they’re going to build their headquarters on — having our students go and help be the start of that, and doing the clean-up and building surrounding that land, is super cool.”
The nonprofit organization Concrete Couch creates public art opportunities and experiences for the Colorado Springs community. Many of their staff are former CC students, providing constant volunteer opportunities for the faculty, staff, and students of the college.
Creek Week was the catalyst for the week and will still be held on Saturday, Oct. 6. Although the engagement at CC is growing, the CCE remembers the traditions that started the organization’s founding. For more information on the Week of Action, visit the CCE website.