The world is more interdependent than ever before, and it is becoming increasingly clear that to identify and solve the complex challenges of the 21st Century, we must develop new capacities for multilateral thinking, self-reflective leadership, risk-taking, and resilience. The Risk Project is an interconnected series of experiences that allows students to build capacities that empower them with foundational tools to confront messy, complex problems.
The Risk Project aims to create structures and support for students to explore ideas of risk, resilience, and creativity in a lower-stakes environment. Guided by a team of faculty and staff facilitators, students participate in a multi-day retreat that features workshops, exercises, and activities designed to: prompt reflection on risk-taking and creativity; practice risk in a safe space; explore their creativity; practice confronting ambiguity; and engage in mindfulness and other self-reflective practices. Technology-free time, the full participation of faculty and staff, and unstructured time for self-reflection are also essential components. Throughout the experience, students discuss how risk-taking is intertwined with identity and unpack the idea of “success.” In a short period of time, students develop the confidence to: work both independently and collaboratively, engage with the unexpected, and respond creatively to challenges. This program is unique to CC; none of our peer institutions are looking at risk-taking as a foundational academic value.
"The Risk Project has been the most monumental experience for me here at CC. The creative problem-solving processes that we explored I have used in every class here, whether that be when writing a cross-cultural research paper for my first Anthropology class, solving a difficult Calculus optimization problem, or when teaching myself the ancient Greek alphabet. We also worked with Jane Hilberry to find our creative muses, which I have since found helpful to channel into any work that I am doing. I often try to tune into my creative muse to allow me to move past creative blocks or challenges when solving complex problems."
"The Risk Project allowed me to feel comfortable with feeling vulnerable, which helps to guide me through blocks where I feel overwhelmed. Creative problem solving, first introduced to me during my FYE and at the Risk Project, is a process that truly integrates my experience on the block plan here at CC. I couldn’t imagine my CC experience without it having begun this way!"
"The idea of risk-taking has been more cemented in my understanding of myself since the beginning of the course…previously it was mostly tied to just wilderness risks and (personal) safety risks. It (my definition) has evolved to me being more vulnerable with others through sharing my passions and ambitions."