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Building on the Block: Special Block Breaks

The Charge: To offer our unique immersive learning experience to new constituencies, we will also develop special "block breaks" - short courses for alumni and parents on campus, at Baca, in the field, and around the globe.

What's Happening: With nearly 80 percent of our student body experiencing some sort of study abroad, desire to see the world sets in early and doesn't end. Through special block breaks, alumni are traveling with CC and exploring sought-after, bucket-list destinations; these trips are enhanced by members of the faculty. After starting 2015 with trip to Antarctica, alumni traveled to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe in February, accompanied by Biology Associate Professor Emilie Gray. The group followed the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, went on a Chobe River safari, and visited Victoria Falls - one of the world's seven natural wonders. To coincide with the special honor bestowed upon CC women's soccer to compete as Team USA at the World University Games in Gwangju, Korea, alumni cheered on the Tigers and watched the women compete in their first two games as part of their 12-day exploration of Korea.

History Professor Susan Ashley led 15 alumni and friends on a walking trip through Tuscany in May 2015. Attendee Cynthia Gilbert '82 says of the trip: "The trails we hiked in Tuscany were simply gorgeous with many trees and flowers in bloom. Ashley has a vast knowledge of the area and is such a gifted teacher whose thoughts, questions, and commentary elevated the trip experience."

In August, 36 members of the CC community spent a week at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, for a Block Break Away featuring hikes through Georgia O'Keeffe country and archeological dig sites. The dark Southwest sky was an inspirational backdrop for Physics Professor Shane Burns' lectures on archeoastronomy.

CC alumni and friends relaxed at Azura Cellars in Paonia as part of the Food and Wine of Western Colorado program in September 2015. The bucolic North Fork Valley, located between the West Elk Range of the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Mesa in Western Colorado, offers a unique and distinctive culinary experience as one of Colorado's Certified Creative Districts and federally designated viticulture area called West Elk AVA. Farm, orchard, ranch, and vineyard tours took the group to all parts of the valley during the height of the Colorado harvest season.

From the countless spires to the deep canyons, CC alumni and friends spent a Block Break Away in November hiking through the national parks of Eastern Utah. CC alumnus and geologist Peter McCarville '84 narrated the treks through dramatic landscapes of Arches and Canyonlands. The trip was so popular; it's coming back again in May 2016.

Alumni are taking full advantage of the special block break offerings: Trips to Galapagos and Machu Picchu and then to Tanzania, both leaving in March, are at capacity, and a trip to Vietnam in May is also full.

This summer, alumni will participate in a Baca Mini-Blocka with Southwest Studies Assistant Professor Santiago Guerra and German Assistant Professor Christiane Steckenbiller. The topic: Crossing Borders: Fortress Europe and Walled America.

With talk of a refugee crisis and immigration top of mind in the national consciousness, the Office of Alumni Relations is excited to offer historical and academic perspectives as part of its summer program for alumni to be held at the Baca Campus in August says Anita Pariseau, director of alumni relations and assistant vice president for advancement.

"With liberal arts degrees in hand, alumni work in all sectors and industries bringing with them critical thinking skills to digest and interpret such a weighty subject. We're thrilled that Professors Steckenbiller and Guerra are leading the charge, lending their expertise to this complicated and fragile human experience of notable concern," says Pariseau.

Enrollment is still open for the course, which takes place at the Baca Campus in Crestone, Colorado, Aug. 3-7. Also planned for the year ahead, a visit to Sicily with Classics Associate Professor Sanjaya Thakur in September; a trip to India with Religion Professor Tracy Coleman in November; a return to Cuba with Political Science Professor Juan Lindau in Winter 2017; and a solar eclipse exploration with Physics Professor Shane Burns in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in August 2017.

 Special Block Breaks
Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020