Conversation with the Presidents: Jake and Jill discuss campus improvements

Video filmed and edited for the Catalyst by Cameron Boyd, Video Editor.

On Wednesday night, President Jill Tiefenthaler and CCSGA Student Body President Jacob Walden joined forces to host the first Conversation with the President of the year. With almost 150 people in attendance, the conversation provided insight into short-term and long-term goals of the college in regards to both physical spaces and issues on campus.

The conversation is also part of a campus-wide effort by the administration and CCSGA to improve clarity and communication with students.

In those efforts, CCSGA has established permanent office hours, eliminated all discretionary budgets, sent out blocky email updates, created a page on their website that has real-time financial updates and approvals, and increased their activity and presence on Instagram and Facebook.

The administration, on the other hand, is using opportunities such as this conversation to facilitate campus-wide discussion. President Tiefenthaler first presented her “Building our Special Place” she shared with parents last weekend and then opened the floor for questions from students.

A Few of the Highlights:

“We are thinking about the future to continue to provide the best liberal arts education.”

Facilities Improvements

“We’re looking closely at where buildings will go and how we can better unify our campus.”

The three immediate initiatives this year regarding facilities are the library, east campus housing, and landscaping. So far, the library has raised $12 million of the $25 million needed for the project. Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2016 but may be delayed if the college has not yet raised $18 million of the $25 million. The building will more than double the current capacity, adding another level to the current structure and another structure attached to the west. Students at the conversation primarily raised concerns about the potential lack of study space on campus with only a fraction of the library open during the 2016-2017 school year.

“We’re working on a plan now for study space around campus, would love to hear ideas, using some spaces like Gates, something more organized like the Fishbowl, bringing a tent or heated areas for the year.”

The east campus residence hall will provide five-to-seven person apartment-style living for juniors and seniors. The college has not yet approved of any architecture plans for the structure, but they are looking at hostel-like living areas for inspiration, particularly to enhance community interaction.

“We had a 43 percent yield of prospective students accepting our offers last year. We haven’t had a yield like that since the 1980s. We know we need to alleviate pressure on housing from first-year classes.”

Finally, the college will continue landscape work like the project on Cache La Poudre Street with a focus on connecting the campus physically and improving sustainability. These efforts are primarily landscape-related but also include standardize light poles and bike racks.

Diversity and Inclusion

“We are looking over the student petition filed last year to change the curriculum to better incorporate diversity and inclusion.”

Currently, the Dean of the College and Faculty Sandra Wong is reviewing the student petition to better integrate diversity and inclusion into department curriculums to see if, where, and how the college can implement changes in order to forward this campus-wide goal. Dean Wong and the associated committees are trying to collect empirical data on the issue. As of right now, they have anecdotes and experiences related to campus and classroom climate from students. In order to communicate with faculty at forums about the curriculum, Dean Wong said, they need to have “systematic information.”

“We are continuing our efforts towards increasing funding for need-based aid.”

While working on diversity and inclusion within academia, CC is simultaneously responding to the growing number of students with need-based financial aid packets by amping up its fundraising efforts. So far, CC has completed its fundraising challenge from the Walton Foundation. With this challenge, CC raised $10 million, which was matched by the Walton Foundation. An anonymous donor also proposed a similar challenge earlier this summer, which CC is working to achieve now. All of the money will go to the endowment for need-based aid.

Innovation

“We want to put more of a definition on innovation here at CC to build off the strong qualities we have now.”

After recently being ranked by Forbes magazine as the third most innovative college in the country, CC is looking to boost that reputation through a variety of initiatives primarily through the Innovation Institute. The Innovation Institute will continue to host speakers, Innovation Thursdays, and workshops in the years to come.

To help these efforts, the college has longer-term plans to build an innovation building on the corner of Cascade and Uintah. President Tiefenthaler and some of her staff have toured the nationally-renownded innovation facilities at Stanford University to begin assembling ideas. The building would include areas for students to work and collaborate in addition to areas for a woodshop, sewing machines, a commercial kitchen, and a recording studio, among others.

Liz Forster

Liz Forster

Liz was the 2014-2015 Editor-In-Chief at the Catalyst. She has written for the Catalyst since her freshman year. In her free time, she likes to ski, bake, and read memoirs.

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