By Isabel Hicks | Illustration by Xixi Qin
Internet access — the thing whose very existence used to antagonize boomers as their kids became screen-agers and stopped talking to them — now serves as the skeleton for the fractured new reality of the coronavirus era.
Even with its students now scattered across the globe, the Colorado College community is stronger than ever. From themed newsletters to book clubs and Zoom birthday parties, here are some of the unique ways CC students are staying in touch amidst the pandemic.
Old Town — the residential community of Bemis, Ticknor, McGregor, and Montgomery dorms — is spearheading a project to put together a weekly meme newsletter to distribute every Friday. The idea is the brainchild of Cody Porter, who is the Residential Life Coordinator (RLC) of Old Town. “I’d like to compile a newsletter ‘timeline’ of the hottest memes of 2020 you find/create,” they wrote in an email to their residents. “I also think that it would be really cool to showcase anything that you’re getting accomplished or infusing your creativity in to find connection in community that way, as well.”
Porter asked that none of the memes are “outrageously inappropriate” and also stressed that COVID-19 related memes will get their own separate newsletter, in case people are sensitive to those. The bottom line? “I think that we could all use a laugh and an opportunity to connect with others,” they said. Old Town residents are eagerly watching their inbox for the first collection of memes.
An Outdoor Ed inspired book club was launched a few days ago by senior Cody Leong. After an Outdoor Ed listserv email to gauge interest was sent out, 15 students from all walks of life expressed a desire to be involved in the online book club. On Tuesday, the club decided via Google Forms that their first read would be “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey, a story about an environmentalist’s transformative experience as a park ranger in Arches National Park, Utah. The book has been described as “an uncommonly beautiful love letter to solitude and the spiritual rewards of getting lost.” The discussion of the book is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, April 19 at 7 p.m. MST. Anyone can still join and is welcome — email Cody at firstname.lastname@example.org to stay in the loop.
Nik Chapleski ’21, a sociology major and dedicated artist, is staying connected with friends through competitive drawing games. “I made [my friends] download Draw Something,” they said. “It’s been so fun.” Draw Something is an app where people can connect with friends and play a Pictionary-esque game where one person has to draw a given word and the other person has to guess what they’re drawing. The app is notoriously addictive, and an effective time-passer.
Helen Lenski ’22 said that she FaceTimed her friend and they played each other in the Webkinz tournament arena. Nayeli Pena ’22 indulges in old-school computer games as well, passing her time playing Club Penguin with her friends over Zoom.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC) at Colorado College has recently launched an eMuseum where you can browse the museum’s permanent collection from your computer at home, free of charge. Some of the exhibits include “Selections from the Collection,” a comprehensive gathering of curators and guests’ favorite pieces, and “O Beautiful! Shifting Landscapes of the Pikes Peak Region,” a wide array of art depicting familiar sights of Colorado Springs. If you’ve spent any time at the FAC, you’re sure to recognize your favorite pieces now in online form.
Pardes Lyons-Warren ’22 said that Strata, the club frisbee team she plays on, had a Zoom meeting where they played a Kahoot game. The twist? All of the questions were about the team members and their lives. Kahoot is a quiz platform normally used in academic settings to test students on material, but Strata gave the game a unique, personalized twist to stay connected with its members from a distance.
For the early birds, Morning Meditation and Muffins continues every Thursday at 8 a.m. MST over Zoom. “This is an opportunity to connect with oneself, to ground oneself in stillness before the start of the day,” the email blurb discloses. Studies find meditation is associated with many positive health effects, from decreased anxiety to a longer attention span and better memory. The virtual meditation is BYOM — bring your own muffin.
Sophie Cardin ’22 had a musical jam session over Zoom with her friends. They decided to make things more interesting by “using instruments we mostly [didn’t] know how to play,” Cardin shared.
Creativity and Innovation is providing an outlet for creative energy by hosting weekly “Creative Mondays” from 3 to 5 p.m. MST over Zoom. All you have to bring, they said, is your willing spirit. People can work on art of any form while conversing with other creative thinkers, swapping ideas, or just hanging out. What better time to perfect your painting skills than mandatory quarantine?
In a 20-second-long Youtube video released last weekend, journalism professor Steve Hayward offered some quick words of encouragement to the CC community:
“Colorado College is a special place. But it’s not that place that makes us a community,” Hayward said. “What makes us a community is not where we are — it’s who we are.”
CC students are proving that Professor Hayward couldn’t be more right. Even though we’re geographically separated for the time being, every story of friends adapting to this new virtual lifestyle provides a little bit more encouragement that together, we will get through this.
To appropriate the infamous words of Timothy Leary: turn on, tune in … and Zoom on.