In a perpetual cycle of four-year undergraduates in one of the most unique colleges in the country, it is assumed that a long history of characters, creators, thinkers, and doers will create a strong community stretching and connecting from the past into the future. However, for some reason or another, many of the ties, which once held people close to their CC rootss, loosen as careers develop. Four years at Colorado College fade into a memory with old friends and accomplishments.
Jackson Solway, an alumnus from the class of 2009, recognized his tie to CC coming loose and decided to do something about it. In an “attempt to reunite with a group [he cares] about,” Solway created http://www.ccradar.com, a website creating conversation not just with CC alumni, but also with the broad span of the whole college community.
As a student at CC, Solway was the editor-in-chief of the Catalyst. After graduating from CC, he moved to San Francisco to expand his career in technology and publishing. Between working for McSweeney’s Publishing, founding and becoming CEO of Once Magazine, a highly successful magazine for the iPad, and working as a photo editor and for local newspapers, Solway has established a strong presence in the world of media and publication. He has an acute awareness of the importance of connections and the role media and publications play in a community. By combining his experience and his hopes to reconnect with the college, he created CC Radar.
As a “community hub” preserving the history and connections of a school in a convenient and accessible place, the website is where every aspect of Colorado College’s past and present can come together. According to Solway, there is a “very short institutional history” at the college. After students finish their four years, the next round of students often replaces the previous class’ legacy. Solway asked if what we’ve done has no part in the future, “what’s history good for?” Students are not the only contributors to CC history; the staff and faculty of Colorado College are some of the most involved and consistent participants in the community with years and years devoted to the institution. One of the main purposes of CC Radar is to utilize the experiences from these more permanent members to help students engage in the greater CC community.
The college does not regulate CC Radar, allowing for an open space where individuals are encouraged to share their interests and comments. Also known as “Colorado College’s Internet Itch,” the site is conveniently laid out to provide opportunities to receive feedback, advertise jobs for hire, post about events or sales, ask favors, or simply just share ideas. People can create profiles, form discussions through comment forums, or share interesting posts through Google plus and Twitter. Solway describes the website as a “known social mechanism Reddit clone,” where the success is dependent upon a large audience and participant body. He hopes to engage more people and work with community members and groups like CCSGA, the Alumni Office, the Catalyst, and other organizations to spread the word. Solway compares the young website to “software trees.” It doesn’t matter how big and tall the trees are; if they fall without an audience, the forest will remain silent, the tree forgotten.
In terms of its new presence, this growing tree seems to be off to a good start. With only a week on the net, CC Radar has already attracted several contributions and instigated many conversations and interesting posts ranging from sports, to Planting Justice, to piano ensembles. The increasing participation of Colorado College community members will bolster the site’s success and strengthen the thread that connects us all.