Introduction to the CCE Coalitions

Issue-based coalitions are the primary "on-ramps" to community engagement work for students hoping to get involved with the local community, faculty members seeking to establish partnerships with community organizations for Community Based Learning projects, and community partners looking to connect directly with CC community members interested in engaging in their issue area.

Coalitions are defined as groups of individuals working together to support progress and change-making in the realm of a specific issue area. There are ten coalitions affiliated with the CCE, each with a corresponding information page. The overarching goal for each of these coalitions is to promote, support, and integrate the existing community work being done on and beyond Colorado College's campus, and so we invite all of our community members to participate in the coalition building!

Quarterly coalition meetings are facilitated by Issue Organizers. Issue Organizers are CCE interns who work collectively through the CCE Co-op and each have an issue-based coalition that they oversee. 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 have relevant events, opportunities, and knowledge that could be shared and built upon.

In addition to the regular coalition meetings facilitated by Issue Organizers, project-based meetings will pop up as needed while new community partner needs arise. Coalition members have the opportunity of contributing to or leading new issue-based projects and working collaboratively to meet the end goals of each project. You can learn more about the opportunities for project-based work on this page.

Coalition Goals

  • Relationship-Building: Cultivate intracampus and campus/community relationships to lay a foundation for collaboration.
  • Collective Identity: Enhanced shared identity among students, student organizations, community partners, and staff/faculty within issue areas.
  • Co-Creation: During COVID times, connect campus change-makers (students, staff, and faculty) to community-based virtual project needs submitted through the PEAK Inquiry Project platform. Small groups within the coalition co-create these capacity building projects for local organizations. In the future, this work of co-creation may be expanded to include campaigns and/or awareness initiatives.
  • Awareness Raising: Increase awareness of existing partnerships and projects related to the issue-area, to better connect interested students to existing opportunities.
  • Co-Learning: Establish learning communities in an effort to learn together and from one another about issues areas, deepening informed and intentional engagement.

Issues vs. Problems

Explanation of Terms

We believe that there is an important distinction between Issues and Problems.

Issues are broad topics that contain multiple smaller, specific concerns. Education, for example, is an issue. Homelessness or Hunger, LGBTQIA Rights, Racial Equity: these are all broad categories that we call Issues.

Problems are specific challenges within a larger issue area. Problems often have clear geographic boundaries, and sometimes they refer to specific subpopulations.

For example, if the Issue is Education, perhaps the problem is Inadequate Teacher Pay in Colorado. Or even more specifically, Inadequate Teacher Pay in School District 11.

We distinguish between issues and problems for a number of reasons.

  1. We encourage students, staff, faculty, and community partners to co-create an understanding of what they will work on, and how they will do their work together. Moving from large, abstract issues to concrete problems often clarifies what we can do together - and how we might do it. This also allows individuals to share what they see as the specific problem to be addressed - but encourages group consensus on a problem they can tackle together.
  1. Secondly, identifying a specific problem often leads to very specific actions. These actions can be mapped on to a timeline, and it's possible to later measure whether your actions were successful.

In short, articulating a clear problem allows groups to organize around a solution.

To use the example of Inadequate Teacher Pay in School District 11, A group would need to determine:

  • Why who makes decisions about teacher pay?
  • What actions might be taken to influence these decision makers?
  • Who will take these actions?
  • When will these actions be taken?
  • Were our actions successful?

The term "Issue" is a neutral one: our world, all nations, all states, all regions and cities have issues.

We call the particular challenges we face "Problems" because it suggests we can solve them.

In the CCE, we believe that we can work together to solve specific problems related to big issues and contribute to a more just and equitable world.

The Coalitions

Ready to join an issue-based coalition?

Click on the links below to learn more, join the communication groups where general coalition information-sharing takes place, and register for the coalition meetings to get updates for upcoming meetings.

Our coalitions will communicate through Outlook groups, which require your CC single sign-on credentials to access. Community Partners interested in joining a coalition can reach out to Niki Sosa Gallegos to be added to the listservs. 


Arts and Media for Social Change
Issue Organizer: Finn Mott '24
Criminal Justice *(aligns with Prison Project)
Issue Organizer: Denise Geronimo '24
Environment & Ecology
Issue Organizer: Anna Vera '22
Gender & Sexuality
Issue Organizer: Jaxon Hoskinson '24
Health & Accessibility
Issue Organizer: Currently Hiring for 22-23AY
Immigrant & Refugee Justice *(aligns with Refugee Alliance)
Issue Organizer: Peniel Owusu-Ansah '24
K-12 Education & Youth Organizing
Issue Organizer: Luke Ortiz-Grabe '25
Political Advocacy
Issue Organizer: Tom Byron '23
 Poverty & Inequity
Issue Organizer: Ceilidh Shea '22
Racial Equity *(aligns with Collective for Anti-Racism and Liberation (CAL))
Issue Organizer: Surbhi Bhutani '22 (liaison with CAL)



How have these coalitions emerged on Colorado College's campus?

We have been building the foundation for this current coalition structure to exist over the past three years, to foster a culture of collaboration on campus. Issue-based coalitions affiliated with the CCE 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 continue to serve as examples for what an integrated coalition focused on a single issue-area can 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.

In 2019-2020, only the three newly formed coalitions (Education, Political Advocacy, and Sustainable Community Development) continued with CCE supervision, and had two Issue Organizers each who were responsible for holding weekly coalition meetings and attending a Community Organizing adjunct class to inform their leadership. While no formal projects were completed by the groups, events such as "Incarceration Nation" and "The Basics of Community Organizing" were held, as well as Open House events that involved phone banking and letter-writing for the Political Advocacy Coalition, asset-mapping and research sessions for the SCD Coalition's project on Martin Drake's early closure and consequential neighborhood development plans, and finally, events with the superintendent of Colorado Springs and other guests for the Education Coalition to help student organization leaders understand the context of K-12 education in Colorado Springs.

We are deeply grateful to all of the past student leaders, volunteers, faculty and staff members, and community partners who have helped inform the direction of this Co-Op structure, and are looking forward to many more years to come of the growth of this student-led operation.


Additional Information

I am still looking for more information about issue-based coalitions, who should I reach out to?

Anyone can get involved! Click on the link above to join the Microsoft Team coalition spaces that interest you, and check out the bios of Issue Organizers through this link.

  • Students may reach out to Sophie Cardin (, CCE student intern - Student Director of the Co-op, for additional information about getting involved.
  • Community partners may reach out to Niki Sosa Gallegos (, the Community Partnerships Coordinator at the CCE, about getting involved.
Report an issue - Last updated: 03/23/2022