September 16, 2021 | NEWS | By April Kwan

Colorado College’s Creativity and Innovation Program has been the establishment for innovative, collaborative, and thought-provoking programs that seek to support students’ creative endeavors. The program works closely with the Collaborative for Community Engagement (CCE), which offers interactive spaces for students, faculty, and staff to address current issues in Colorado Springs and at CC. 

With the start of a new academic year, CC Creativity and Innovation has numerous Innovators in Residence that work with students, faculty, and staff through workshops, classes, talks and engaging projects. This year will include in-person events and opportunities for members of the CC community to engage with innovators such as:

Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish: Climate Innovation Program Manager for Movement Strategy Center (Block 3).

Teresa Cohn: Research Assistant Professor, College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho (Block 4).

Jessica Lynne: Arts writer and founding editor of ARTS.BLACK, an online journal of art criticism from Black perspectives (J Block).

Erin Elder: Artist, curator, and writer guided by interests in land use, experimental collaboration, and non-traditional modes of expression (Block 8).

Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd and So Sinopoulos-Lloyd: Leaders of Queer Nature, an education and social sculpture project that specializes in guiding people to develop place-based skills with an awareness of post-industrial/globalized/ecocidal contexts (Block B).

Myra L. Jackson: Creativity and Innovation’s Mindfulness Resident will work with classes and student groups and teach a Dynamic Half-Block class called Innate Mindfulness: Exploring our Inner Ecology for Thriving on a Changing Planet (Blocks J, 5, and 6).

Associate Director of Creativity & Innovation Jessica Hunter-Larsen told The Catalyst that the program works to “amplify, support, and resource the kind of creative thinking and teaching that characterizes Colorado College to help support students’ abilities to act as changemakers in an increasingly complex world.” 

“I wanted to understand how we might integrate some of the creative thinking skills I witnessed over many years as a curator into higher education,” Hunter-Larsen said. 

Now that the college has transitioned back to in-person learning and collaboration, the Creativity and Innovation Program is better equipped to support students’ creative projects. 

Despite the complexities last year, Hunter-Larsen applauded the flexibility of the faculty as well as CC students. 

“Students rose to the occasion beautifully, demonstrating the strength and insight that emerges from remaining open and vulnerable in a time when closing down feels like the only sane option,” Hunter-Larson said. “We discovered that our community is more resilient than perhaps we knew.”

Another aspect of CC Creativity and Innovation is funding student projects through grants, such as the Student Seed Innovation Grant program (SSIG). These grants are funded by donors and provide resources that allow students to explore and propose solutions to real-world problems. 

“We’ve had some fantastic applicants since the project launched last year. Their projects have ranged from creating podcasts to developing portable sterilization devices to investigating public health and social justice issues,” Hunter-Larsen said. 

“Reading the applications has quickly become one of my favorite aspects of working with Creativity and Innovation,” said Hunter-Larson. “I’m always so impressed with students’ creativity and passion.” These grant programs are also available for CC staff and faculty. 

The SSIG program has similar goals to the Changemaker Curriculum, which the Director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement, Jordan Radke, leads.

Creativity and Innovation is the main funding source for the Changemaker Curriculum, a workshop series geared towards students who are passionate about community engagement and social work. 

“The Changemaker program aim[s] to generate spaces for dialogue and reflection around three core themes,” Radke said. These core themes include: Self, Community Impact and Issues, and Theories of Social Change. 

The Changemaker Curriculum revolves around the goal of helping students develop into lifelong activists. “We believe students must have the opportunity to learn and grow from their engaged experiences in structured spaces,” Radke said.

The Creativity and Innovation building is located at 232 E. Cache La Poudre St.

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