The Baca Campus
More than two decades ago, Colorado College sought to expand its reach further into the wild beauty of Colorado. The Baca campus, located 175 miles southwest at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, offered students, staff, and faculty the perfect solution.
Since 1987, more than 30,000 students have experienced the relaxed immersion of the Baca Campus.
In the winter of 1987, Colorado College English Professor Joe Gordon took his "Literature of Wilderness" class on a field trip to the Aspen Institute's nature facilities in Crestone, Colorado. He found that while dwelling in an environment of mountains, trees, streams, and wildlife, his students relaxed and engaged more deeply with the material than ever before.
The rest is CC history.
Spurred by Gordon’s recommendations, the college initiated a fund-raising campaign and began experimenting with the creation of distraction-free space for reflection and enhanced learning. The Baca campus - made up of a lodge, conference center, classroom, restaurant, and student townhouse facilities - is a culmination of those experiments.
"Free us from the tyranny of the urgent."
-Bruce Coriell, 1992 Benediction of the Baca campus
I am a rising senior here at Colorado College and this past fall I went to Baca for the first time with my third-block class: Romanticism and Nature. Being an English major at CC, I had heard about Baca from many of my colleagues within the department whose classes had utilized the campus.
I knew roughly where the Baca campus was located due to the fact that at the time, my family and I were based in Alamosa, Colorado – the nearest town of any size. I knew the San Luis Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains well, but to experience them in a class setting would be a whole new experience.
Luckily for me, Professor Richman's class was in itself the perfect medium through which to live that experience. Reading the poetry of Shelley, Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, and Coleridge in such a setting was utterly fantastic, and an experience unlike any other. We weren't just reading poetry: we were living it. Literature-based charades, s'mores nights, hiking in the nearby foothills... By the end of the trip, I really felt that I had bonded with my classmates - and especially the material.
Having been to Baca, I want to go back. Yes, it will be with a class, and yes, there will be work involved. But where better to study than surrounded by such grandeur and sublimity?
-Laurie Laker '12