The Co-Op

What is the Co-Op?

CCECo-op-TeamPhotoFullA cooperative, or co-op, is an association in which people work toward a common purpose or benefit through a jointly-owned and democratically managed enterprise. In the business world, a cooperative is a way for people to meet their own needs through a company that is owned and operated by the people who use its products and services. The CCE's student staff Co-Op is the structure through which students can guide, direct, and take joint ownership of the work of the CCE. Our goal is to equitably share voice, power, decision-making, and meaning-making of our office with students.

In short, this is what we have been building it to become! We have been building the foundation for this current structure to exist over the past two years, where now student employees make up the backbone of all of our student programs and have a defined role in the collective visioning of the engaged work we, as a campus, participate in. The Co-Op started back in the summer of 2018, under the guidance of CCE Director Jordan Travis Radke with support of the assistant director and paraprofessional at the time, with five main coalitions: Prison Project, Refugee Alliance, Education, Political Advocacy, and Sustainable Community Development. The first two coalitions, Prison Project and Refugee Alliance, are both student organizations that served as examples for what an integrated coalition focused on a single issue-area could look like, while the last three were newly formed groups. As this was the first year of the Co-Op, the main focus was on connecting students within each designated issue-area, and on thinking through what relevant campaigns or projects could be hosted that would support the mission of the coalition.

How does the Co-Op operate within the CCE?

The Co-Op lives at the CCE, which means interns are advised by CCE staff and supported by office resources, however it is a space run primarily by students in collaboration with CC faculty and staff members, and community members. Our student interns enhance the quality of all our programs at the CCE, including student-facing work, faculty and staff engagement, and community partnership building. They are integral to our office's functioning, for they support our ability to continue ramping up our scope of work while retaining the same level of support for all of our stakeholders.

How does the Co-Op relate to the CCE's mission?

There are four main priorities for the Co-Op, which align with our office's strategic mission and goals. These are the main reasons this structure has been adopted by the CCE:

  1. Formalize student leadership and voice within the CCE staffing structure
  2. Support, through peer-to-peer mentorship and monetary means, student-driven and locally-centered community organizing efforts
  3. Create a space for collaborative efforts on the Colorado College campus
  4. Create a stronger intracampus network to support the connection of work at CC to beyond the campus

Coalition Goals:

  • Enhanced shared identity among student organizations within issue areas
  • Shared and public forum for all interested individuals and groups to come together, connect with each other, learn from each other, and create with each other
  • Potentially one of the following: A co-created campaign action, either internal or external; Co-created project, either white paper or event-oriented; Co-created awareness week, with multiple events, actions and that involves on- and off-campus partners; or Co-created capacity-building project where focus can be for on- and off-campus

What is the structural breakdown of the Co-Op?

There are two main components of the CCE Co-Op structure: the Board of Directors, and the Coalitions. The former consists of two Co-Directors who oversee the entire Co-Op-- the Community Engaged Fellows Co-Director and the Community Engaged Scholars & Leaders Co-Director-- as well as three Assistant Directors who report to the Co-Directors. The three Assistant Director positions are for Community Partnerships, Student Organizations, and BreakOut. While each individual member of the Board of Directors has a specific focus-area, they all collectively work together to make sure their specific constituents are connected to each other, and to the resources that each of the focus areas offers. They also collectively support the work of the Coalitions. The Issue Organizers are a group of interns who each have an issue-area coalition that they oversee on behalf of the CCE. They are designated peer facilitators and connectors for students, staff, faculty, and community partners who either want to find an on-ramp to work in that issue-area or who already have relevant events, opportunities, and knowledge that could be shared and built upon.



Why join the Co-op?

  • To transform ideas about change into actions
  • To sharpen skills like:
    • Community organizing
    • Volunteer management
    • Event planning
    • Public relations/communications
    • Qualitative research
  • To gain research experience
    • Potential foundation for a senior thesis
    • Ideal writing sample for certain job applications
    • Useful skill for students interested in studying/working on public policy
  • To access campus & community mentors
  • To earn hours towards CES, CEL & CEF requirements


Co-Op Students



Student Director of the Bonner Fellowship

Star Goudriaan'23


Bio: Coming Soon!


Student Director of Community Engaged Scholars and Leaders

Gillian Lasher '23

Major: Environmental Studies

Bio: My primary goal is to work with nonprofits that are focused on addressing environmental issues while creating authentic community relationships. I have loved exploring this interest through my involvement with the CC Office of Sustainability, BreakOut, and a few Fort Collins-based nonprofits, such as Trees, Water & People and the Sustainable Living Association.

I look forward to building genuine connections with all CES and CEL students as we work together to develop community partnerships. It is my utmost priority to create an inclusive, equitable and welcoming space for all students and organizations as a servant leader. My life motto is to walk and lead with love, and I intend to implement this philosophy in all my work at the CCE.


IMG_3165_Julieta-Lechini.jpgStudent Director of Student Organizations

Julieta Lechini '22

Major: Anthropology

Bio: I am an international student from Uruguay currently in my senior year at Colorado College. I am an Anthropology major and Political Science minor, areas in which I was able to combine my passions for social justice. I started working at the CCE as a Bonner Fellow in my freshmen year due to my love for community engagement and community organizing. Since then, I have worked with various partners in Colorado Springs and diverse projects in the area of migration, housing, and education. Since my sophomore year, I am the chair of AMA a student organization that tutors middle and high-school ESL students in D11. This year I joined the Board of Directors as the Student Directors of Students Organizations, where I can work closely with the CCE office overseeing and helping the more than twenty student organizations that work under our office. The most gratifying thing about my work is the amount of people I get to know and the amazing communities we are building together.


Student Director of BreakOut

Kylie Orf '24


Bio: Coming soon!




Student Director of Public Achievement

Anh Do '23

Major: Chemistry

Bio: I am originally from Vietnam. I have been living in Colorado for 8 years. I love the mountain and how sunny it is here. My interest in doing community-engaged work started when I was in high school. Together with a group of friends and a grant, we started a garden club that aim to contribute to the surrounding community. I started out with PA at CC as a volunteer. I am always excited to listen to the wonderful ideas that middle school students have. I enjoy supporting them in their processes and believe that their voices should be heard more. I am looking forward to collaborating with community partners and introducing more opportunities for youth to do the work they desire. 




Student Director of Community Partnerships

Andra Metcalfe '22

Major: Sociology

Bio: I have always had a passion for law, politics, and social justice, but my interest in community organizing (and in sociology) was sparked by an off-campus study program I completed last fall in Minneapolis called "Inequality in America: Policy, Community, and the Politics of Empowerment." The program was fantastic and really tuned me into the importance of organizing work and best practices. During my time in Minnesota, I worked as a public policy intern at HOME Line (a statewide tenant legal advocacy nonprofit). Since then, I have also worked as the CC volunteer coordinator with Colorado Springs food Rescue, and as a Public Interest Fellow with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. Additionally, last summer I worked as an intern with Senator Michael Bennet's office in Denver.

I am most looking forward to developing relationships with other students who are passionate about organizing, as well as learning and connecting with local partner organizations. More broadly, my goal is for these relationships to not only help build upon existing connections between CC students and local community organizers, but also to create new ones. I hope to encourage CC students to understand and get excited about the importance and potential of local community organizing but also be aware of best practices that allow organizing to actually be beneficial within a community.


IMG_0556-2_Sophie-Cardin-Edit.jpgStudent Director of the Co-Op

Sophie Cardin '22

Major: Political Science

Bio: I am a fourth year student from Denver. My principal academic interests are political thought, philosophy of law, and Yiddish language and culture. My struggles with dyslexia instilled in me a deep concern for equity that motivates my work on youth civic engagement, voting rights, and abolition. When I am not talking politics at the dinner table, I enjoy reading old books, baking bread, doing ceramics, and writing poetry. To relax, I throw pots, but not at anyone, usually. 

Issue Organizers

Luke-Ortiz-Grabe-Senior-Photo-JPG_Luke-Ortiz-Grabe.jpgLuke Ortiz-Grabe '25

Issue: K-12 Education and Youth Organizing
Major: Undeclared

Bio: I am interested in studying International Political Economy but am exploring other major paths. I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado and am excited to be in Colorado Springs for college! Throughout high school, I dedicated my time to political, educational, and advocacy. I interned with the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado for three years, where I designed state-wide congregational GIS maps, testified against discriminatory bills at the State Capitol, and facilitated youth workshops around interfaith sensitivity. I was also the Co-Chair of the Colorado Youth Diversity Conference, where I designed and facilitated a space for youth across Colorado to come together and organize around creating change in their local communities. Besides advocacy, I am also a very avid hiker and hammocker, and enjoy spending time with the dogs I find on campus. For college and with the K-12 Education & Youth Organizing Coalition, I hope to use my passion and experience to connect students to engagement opportunities and facilitate conversations in a space dedicated to engaging with youth across the Colorado Springs community! 


IMG_6594_Ceilidh-Shea.jpgCeilidh Shea '22


Issue: Poverty & Inequity
Major: Political Science

Bio: I'm currently a senior Political Science major and am originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but spent much of my time before college moving between international schools where my parents worked as teachers. I've spent time interning at a few NGOs based in Kenya and Niger which focus on remediation of poverty as a result of climate change for rural communities where agriculture is the main means of sustaining a livelihood. These experiences, alongside my Political Science major, have motivated me to become involved with the CCE. I love the Colorado Springs community and am hoping to help make and strengthen connections between students and community organizations that last for a while. 


Bhutani22.jpgSurbhi Bhutani '22

Issue: Racial Equity (liaison with CAL, the Collective for Anti-Racism & Liberation)







Byron23.jpgTom Byron '23

Issue: Political Advocacy







Geronimo24Denise Geronimo '24

Issue: Criminal Justice (aligns with Prison Project)
Major: International Political Economy

Bio: Hey, everyone! I'm Denise Geronimo, and I am from Memphis, Tennessee. I have lived in Memphis for all 18 years of my life, and I'm a biased, but it's the best city around. Both of my parents moved to Tennessee from the Philippines to pursue their careers, but neither of them decided to teach me their language (I'm only a little bitter.) Throughout high school, I participated in the worldwide organization Facing History and Ourselves as a facilitator and an ambassador, working with other students to promote conversations within our community about low-voter turnouts, gun violence, and youth incarcerations. I also engaged in community service through BRIDGES USA, a Memphis, youth-led organization, and volunteered at the Madonna Learning Center, a wonderful special needs school. I'm interested in studying International Relations, and my hobbies include biking, kickboxing, and unhealthy binge-watching.


jaxson.jpgJaxon Hoskinson '24

Issue: Gender & Sexuality
Major: Political Science and Philosophy 

Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Jaxon and I am a second-year Political Science and Philosophy double major. I am from the small town of Conifer, Colorado. In high school, I worked with a variety of student organizations and schools in our district to set up programming focused on making all students feel represented and safe in our community. I am excited to continue that work at CC and in the Springs! Having everyone's identities be validated is a crucial step in creating a positive and healthy community space, and I can't wait to do my part to help everyone feel represented here. I am not sure what the future holds for me yet, but I know I want to focus on community engagement moving forwards. 



Angelina ChenMisbah Lakhani '24

Issue: Health & Accessibility
Major: Undecided

Bio: Hey y'all! My name is Misbah Lakhani. I am a sophomore at CC and interested in Sociology and Neuroscience at the moment. I'm from Houston, Texas, but born, raised, and native to Pakistan. Even during my time in Pakistan, my parents knew I had a special passion for medicine, taking care of my family members when they were sick and looking up home remedies at the little age of six. After moving, in high school I was introduced to medicine in a very hands on way. By training I am CPR, BLS and OSHA certified, have drawn people's blood, shadowed at the Memorial Herman Hospital in the Texas Medical Center for two years, and created a partnership between Shriners Hospital for Children and my high school. With all the knowledge I gained during my experiences, I was able to be a teen advisory board member for the University of Texas at Austin's Teen Clinic in the Texas Medical Center and with Unity, a consortium advocating for vaccines in the US. Personally, healthcare and medicine are basic human rights, and throughout my high school career, I've tried to use my position in order to make healthcare more accessible to the greater Houston community, especially teens, and hope to continue to do so during college!

Mott24.jpgFinn Mott '24


Issue: Arts & Media for Social Change
Major: Business, Economics, and Society

Bio: Finn Mott is a Sophomore at Colorado College. He is passionate about telling stories, creating positive social change, and discovering the power in adversity. He strives to one day open up his own nonprofit that helps youth overcome both their mental and physical struggles through various creative mediums. Finn is a published poet and is always looking for new ways to make a difference.



Owusu-Ansah24Peniel Owusu-Ansah '24

Issue: Immigrant & Refugee Justice Coalition (aligns with Refugee Alliance)
Major: Political Science and Sociology

Bio: Hello everyone! My name is Peniel Owusu-Ansah (she/her). I am currently a sophomore, and I intend to double major in Political Science and Sociology. I was born and raised in a West African country called Ghana, and I moved to the United States several years ago. I have been involved in several advocacy groups, including being an ambassadorship with the Colorado Crisis Services. The reason I want to lead this coalition is because of my background as an immigrant. I believe my experience and insight can be used as a resource to create opportunities to interact and help this community. I hope that this coalition will assist immigrants and refugees in having an easier transition to a new culture and country.


Vera22.jpgAnna Vera '22

Issue: Environment & Ecology








Report an issue - Last updated: 02/28/2022