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Block Seven Campus Story

A Snapshot: CC's Commitment to Equitable Campus Programming through a Sustainability Lens

By: Daniel Cortes '22

A college which commits itself to sustainability is committed not only to addressing climate change. To the contrary, sustainability encompasses an array of issue areas regarding the challenges humanity faces across the globe. A serious commitment to sustainability includes a deep and sustained dedication to key social justice issues that we face in our communities. To demonstrate such dedication requires that a conscientious college consider the concerns regarding existing disparities, on and off campus, and that it addresses these concerns promptly, effectively, and with sensitivity towards all parties involved. More so, a college aspiring to be sustainable must put resources in place (i.e. offices, programs, etc.) which exist to support students, faculty, and staff in addressing any and all related challenges which may arise in the college's future. As an institution committed to "diversity, equity, and inclusion", Colorado College views social justice as a key tenet in its work to foster a more sustainable campus.

Each year, Colorado College increases the amount of resources it allocates towards creating a more just and equitable campus. Regarding scholarships, the amount of money invested by CC has increased significantly since 2010. Moving forward the school plans to arrive at a need-blind model, meaning that students' economic backgrounds are not considered during the application process, and, upon admission, students receive scholarships to match their demonstrated need regardless of their financial status. In addition to careful financial planning to meet the needs of all CC students, the college has also partnered with QuestBridge ("QB" in short), a nonprofit organization that matches top students from underrepresented backgrounds with top undergraduate institutions.

Questbridge Match applicants select up to 10 schools with which they attempt to match. Likewise, colleges that partner with the organization generate their own lists of top QB Match students who they would like to admit. If a student ranks highly on a college's list, and that college ranks the student highly on their own, they match! If matched, a student receives admission to that college as well as a four-year, full-ride scholarship. In addition to the QB Match scholarship, CC provides extra support to all QB-affiliated students attending the college (matched or not) as well as underrepresented students in general.

Colorado College is host to several on-campus programs/initiatives which aim to make the CC experience feel welcoming and supportive for students of all backgrounds. For example, the Butler Center serves as a resource both for marginalized students, as well as students who want to become productive allies for those suffering from institutionalized inequality. In addition to hosting events, and providing confidential resources for students facing serious difficulties, the Butler center supports the student-run QB chapter on campus. This chapter hosts a variety of events for QB-affiliated students, providing additional support for a group of students who typically experience major 'culture shock' when adjusting to life on an elite, liberal arts campus. Whether affiliated with Questbridge or not, incoming students coming from first-gen, low-income, and/or minority backgrounds receive an invitation to begin their CC experience a couple of weeks early.

Not to be confused with Questbridge is the Bridge Scholars Program ("BSP" in short). The BSP is an all-expenses-paid program providing students the opportunity to get to know one another, engage in a mind-opening Half-block course, and participate in activities such as bowling and hiking, all while becoming accustomed to campus life prior to the majority of students moving in. Those who take part in BSP often regard the experience as instrumental in preparing them for life at Colorado College. These initiatives play critical roles in making CC an accessible and inviting institution for a diverse group of students. Other initiatives have focused on bridging the gap between Colorado College and the surrounding community of Colorado Springs.

Colorado College strives to serve a positive role in the city of Colorado Springs. In an effort to develop the impact and capacity of on and off campus organizations, while also providing students the opportunity to participate in meaningful work, CC established the Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE). The CCE is a resource through which students can engage with nonprofits in the Springs and throughout the Southwest. In addition to its broad range of nonprofit partnerships, the CCE has developed a number of unique initiatives for students who seek a career in community-engaged work. The Bonner Fellowship is an example of this, providing a four-year work-study experience for those (the majority of whom come from underrepresented backgrounds) who wish to make a significant impact in the Springs community during their time at CC. A comparable commitment is available to students who sign up for either the Community Engaged Scholars or the Community Engaged Leaders programs. Though these initiatives have their differences, students in each of these cohorts play critical roles in fostering engagement on the CC campus and in the greater Springs community and developing a strong sense of place.

Altogether, one cannot ignore the significant progress CC has made in becoming an institution capable of genuinely supporting all of its students. No institution striving for change achieves progress without encountering obstacles. However, the programs that have been developed serve as a solid foundation for the work ahead. More so, the college has demonstrated a clear commitment to developing, securing, and expanding these initiatives, and is prepared to respond to evolving needs in the rapidly developing landscape of higher education. Finally, the students being shaped by these pieces of the Colorado College experience hold the keys to our collective future, and so long as we can sustain that reality, our future is looking very bright.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020