Featured News, Inside Western
The new MGES class, which is double the size of last year’s inaugural class, will meet with faculty, staff and the president over coffee in the art gallery of Quigley Hall.
The MGES students will also have an opportunity to meet with Ethel Rice, benefactor for both the Art and MGES programs at Western.
The class, which is double the size of last year’s inaugural class, will get acquainted with each other during the event, which precedes a two-week, on-campus orientation. The on-campus residency provides students with an introduction to the master’s program, including: a one-day program orientation; practicum instruction in on-site gallery and studio classroom settings; field trips; and workshops with arts professionals.
The MGES students will also have an opportunity to get acquainted with Ethel Rice, benefactor for both the Art and MGES programs at Western.
That didn’t take long. In less than a year, Western State Colorado University’s student honor society went from starting to sterling.
In October, Western introduced its first student members (15 in all) to Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society with chapters (“circles”) at approximately 300 colleges and universities across the United States. After merely eight months, the circle at Western, which introduced a second class of OΔK students (14) in April, was recognized this summer as a 2016-17 Circle of Distinction by OΔK national headquarters.
This May, seven students had the opportunity to investigate the topic of sustainable and resilient living throughout the Rocky Mountain region in an Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) special topics course called Mountain Resiliency.
Led by Brandon McNamara ’17, Mountain Resiliency immersed students in the world of sustainability through hands-on service activities. The class included a lecture and project preparation component, but the majority of the course took place in the field.
The bracketed contest began with dozens of colleges and universities across the West, including University of Colorado Boulder, University of Utah, Montana State University and Colorado Mesa University. The final round came down to Western vs. Prescott College.
“It’s the school’s dedication to programs that study, celebrate, protect and expand those wildlands that put it at the top in our poll,” Doug Schnitzspahn said in a recent Outdoor Elevation article about the victory.
Adam Beede ’17 initiated the start of the Gunnison Sockeyes River Conservation Club when he rounded up seven signatures during a meet-and-greet activity. Since then, Beede has worked relentlessly to get the club where it is today.
The Gunnison Sockeyes River Conservation Club strives to rehabilitate, maintain and improve the Gunnison Watershed through volunteer work. The club works closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Coldharbour Institute and the Gunnison Angling Society to improve angling opportunities in the Gunnison Valley.
From April 10 to 11, Western welcomed activists, lawmakers and visionaries to the University Center as part of the annual Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) Spring Symposium. Central to this year’s discussion was overcoming obstacles in tough times.
The event began with a keynote by Eryn Wise, a Dakota Access Pipeline activist who recently spent five months in the Standing Rock Reservation. She serves as an organizer for Honor the Earth and delivered an inspiring message on perseverance within conservation efforts.
The LEAD Sustainability Coordinators, Organics Guild and Sustainability Coalition came together to plan Earth Week from April 17 through April 21.
The week started off with free, bicycle-blended smoothies at the Mountaineer Field House. Students hopped on a bike and pedaled away, powering a blender in the process. The only energy used was that of students themselves. Later, community members gathered at the Chipeta Garden to prepare the plot of land for spring.
The Geiman Fellows is a program at Western for juniors that focuses on teaching students how to become leaders and productive members of society. Fellows are taught important values that they will use after graduation. Not only do the fellows learn from the staff and faculty members, as well as Dave Geiman—the benefactor of the program—they also learn from their peers.
Westbury was from St. Louis, Missouri and Johnson was from Woodland Park, Colorado. The two were placed together their freshman year by the random roommate selection that Western provides. After learning about each other via Facebook and texting each other a bit, the girls began to become friends.
“I was going to be a Business major, but I knew that I did not want to live with Business majors. I placed myself in the Recreational Outdoor students because I knew I would fit better with them,” Johnson said.
The Alumni Awards for Excellence celebrate Western State Colorado University as a community of teachers and learners. The Award, established by former President Harry Peterson in 1997, is an opportunity to recognize the talents and achievements of our graduates and remains the University's highest honor for its graduating seniors.
While mountain biking has been a flourishing component of Mountain Sports since the program’s inception in 2012, most riders tend to hang their bikes up when the snow begins to fly. Sophomore Ryan Trimble, a Business Marketing major from Seattle, WA, decided to break that mold and race in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (RMCCC) road biking circuit as the only representative from Western when he was a freshman.
As a Politics and Pre-Law student, Wagner is a self-motivated and self-trained high achiever. However, he identifies his community as a key part of his success as a student and athlete.
“Being involved is very important at Western,” he reflected. “Here, the close-knit community creates a sense of accountability.”
In his time at Western, Robert became involved in the Men’s Club Rugby team and served with the Peer Academic Leader (PAL) program to become connected with other students. Leadership has been a big part of Wagner’s life as a student and community member.
Once a year the Chemistry Club puts together a magic show that demonstrates the reactions that can occur when mixing elements. They work with everything from acid and bases to liquid nitrogen.
“I’m the coordinator of this club and the students work on this show for a couple of months to learn about the reactions that take place,” said Ryter, who helps the club get everything together.
Graduation will feature 402 graduates: 342 will receive their bachelor’s degrees and 60 will receive graduate degrees. Students hail from 37 different states and three foreign countries.
Alumna Nancy Chisholm ‘90 will serve as commencement speaker. Chisholm is the former vice president and general manager of Tyco Retail Solutions, a $1 billion vertical business unit of Tyco, headquartered in Neuhausen, Switzerland.
From March 30-31, Western hosted the Gunnison Valley Farm-to-Table Conference, bringing together students, farmers, legislators and activists in a discussion about healthy local economies.
Now in its fifth year, this event is supported by Western’s Borick School of Business, the Colorado State University Exension and the National Young Farmer’s Coalition. This time, turnout exceeded expectations and generated hope for future growth.
Konieczek has been running track for more than nine years. She is from Poland and while looking for colleges, was on the hunt for the perfect place to train at elevation.
“I was considering somewhere to train in elevation. I asked around, and decided to come to Colorado. My brother came [to Western] in the summer for an elevation sports camp. He sent me pictures and talked about the coach,” Konieczek said.
Konieczek wanted to make sure that Western would be a great fit for her.
Western's Model United Nations (Model UN) Team is one of hundreds to compete in the largest collegiate Model UN conference in the world, National Model United Nations - New York. For five action-packed days each spring, over 2,800 students from 40 countries simulate the workings of the United Nations in 21 committees.
“Googler” and former CEO and co-founder of NextSpace Jeremy Neuner spoke at the ICELab this past week to share his insights on collaborative workspaces and thoughts on why the Gunnison Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit is such a good fit for them. Listeners dragged in chairs, moved couches and flung their legs over armrests; the space appeared to manifest its creative potential before a word was spoken.
Thomas came to Western after a fortuitous encounter with the campus while road tripping from out East.
He previously attended a large school in his home state of Delaware, where he was unsure of his course of study and felt disengaged in his classes of over 300 students.
“I found myself losing a lot of time and credits not knowing what I wanted to do,” Thomas said.
Seavey, a Bostonian who came to Western in 2013 to pursue a degree in Exercise and Sports Science with an emphasis in Sport and Fitness Management, reveled in the prospect of snowboarding after class on mountains far larger than out East. While the wall of mountains that appear upon leaving the Gunnison city limits still capture his heart and imagination, his sights are currently set on Cranor Hill just 4 miles north of town.
As Mountaineers prepared to leave for Spring Break, a group of students attended the annual Professional Development Dinner in the University Center Ballroom.
Each year, this free event equips students for the work world by providing them with networking tips, etiquette advice and an opportunity to meet others in their fields.
This year’s dinner included a keynote by former broker-dealer-president Kim Scouller, who served as an in-house attorney at Transamerica. Scouller also spoke at a luncheon designed for female students in the Borick School of Business.
Starting in 2010, Partners In The Parks (PITP) Black Canyon and Curecanti has taken between 72 and 90 students on a life changing adventure through the Black Canyon in Gunnison. These honors students experience a week in the parks learning about the history around them and the importance of having National Parks in the world.
This year PITP is offered in 10 National Parks around the nation, with seven of them taking place during the summer time when students are more available for the weeklong programs.
Peterson joined the Western community in 2005 and quickly made his mark on the university with his congenial spirit, drive for knowledge and ability to persuade even the most reluctant to join him on an adventure.
Beer is a booming industry.
Noon demonstrates how the mountains and outdoor recreation opportunities in the valley drive him to be a better student.
As Travel GCB puts it, “When you attend college in an awe-inspiring location like Colorado's Gunnison Valley, academics and recreation often have a symbiotic relationship. For Western State Colorado University Senior Peter Noon, outdoor pursuits are a motivating factor rather than a distraction.”
This year was the Amigos’ 30th year celebrating Carnaval. All students could enjoy food and drinks in the front of local establishment, Timbers, and those who were 21 or over were able to enjoy the bar in the back. The dance floor was open to everyone to enjoy the music.
Business and entrepreneurship professor Tom Miller joined Western last year because, he says, “I got to a spot in my career where I wanted to teach.” He had also recently written a book, Lift: A New Paradigm for Influential Leaders, which redefines and revalues influence and encourages the building of communities and character.
The program allows students from participating universities to spend a semester at another institution in the United States, its territories or Canada. This means Western students can spend time elsewhere, returning to Gunnison with new perspectives and diversifying the learning experience back on campus. Meanwhile, many students from other universities and colleges choose to “study abroad” at Western, bringing with them new ideas and points of view.
John Hausdoerffer, Ph.D., recently published an edited collection, Wildness: Relations of People and Place, through the University of Chicago Press.
The book includes essays by Hausdoerffer himself as well as Western's David Rothman, in addition to works by internationally acclaimed authors and activists Gary Snyder, Vandana Shiva, Joel Salatin and Wes Jackson, among others.
Western’s Peak Out recently hosted three nights of improv. Each night had a different theme; Thursday night was “Love and Turmoil,” Friday night was “Good O’l Standard, Regular Run O’ The Mill,” and Saturday night was “Do or Die.” Each night needed audience participation to help fill in the blanks for on-the-spot story ideas.
Peace Corps Prep is a Western program run in conjunction with the international service-oriented Peace Corps. It focuses on specialization in one of the corps’ six sectors: education, health, environment, agriculture, youth in development, or community economic development, in addition to developing foreign language skills, intercultural competence, professionalism and leadership through selected coursework and service projects.
Western has welcomed two new faces to the campus, Keating and Beamer, who will help expand Western’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) program’s role in the community.
Returning to campus
Amidst making great strides in increasing enrollment, adding new academic programs and renovating facilities, matters of diversity, equity and inclusion are working their way to the forefront of Western’s attention.
Earlier in the semester, passionate students from all corners of campus made clear that diversity is an absolutely essential component for a vibrant learning community. The administration and student organizations responded readily with initiatives that have shown a promising commitment to increasing diversity and promoting equity and inclusion across campus.
Rebecca is originally from Boulder, Colorado and has found her way back to Colorado after working in many different places throughout the world.
Rebecca holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a MA in International Studies and a MS Ed in Higher Education Counseling both from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
The Friday evening concert will be the culmination of the group’s 43rd annual week-long rehearsal sequence.
Providing the Gunnison Valley with 43 years of summer concerts featuring traditional brass band music, the group draws players from all over the country. More than 50 participants will rehearse for more than 26 hours over the course of five days to produce a variety of music.
Gunnison, Colorado – Now in its 18th year, Writing the Rockies (July 19 – 23, 2017) is one of the largest and most diverse writers’ conferences in the Rocky Mountain region.
On a short trip into one of Colorado’s most beautiful summer valleys, aspiring novelists, screenwriters, poets, creative nonfiction authors, educators, editors, critics, and anyone who loves the written word can meet and work with a national roster of authors and teachers, all at an affordable price.
When: Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: University Center Theater
Western State Colorado University
600 N. Adams Street, Gunnison, CO
Tickets: Free and open to the public
In addition to oral presentations, an awards ceremony and tours of the local ecosystem (as well as the High Alpine Brewery), the meeting will feature keynotes by University of California, Davis’ Gail Patricelli, Ph.D. and Adam State’s Megan Sherbenou, Ph.D.
Patricelli, a professor and Chancellor’s Fellow in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis, will speak on new technology—such as microphone arrays, biomimetic robotics and remote telemetry—used to study breeding behaviors, bioacoustics and the effects of noise pollution on birds in the wild.
Gabriel, a Sociology lecturer at Western, received the Constance Coiner Award for Best Dissertation for her work titled, “Manufacturing Precarity: A Case Study of the Grain Processing Corporation (GPC)/United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 86D Lockout in Muscatine, Iowa.”
Judges for the award found Gabriel’s work to be “brilliant” and “a fascinating and useful take on how job loss and re-employment works in the Heartland.”
Like many 19-year-olds, Cote attended college after finishing high school. He enrolled at a university in his home state of New Hampshire, and hadn’t thought much about why he was there. It was just the next step in fulfilling what society taught him was the path to success.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Cote said.
Cote decided to drop out and become a self-declared “ski bum” out West. He skied and worked at Crested Butte Mountain Resort for eight years before deciding to attend Western for the Petroleum Geology program.
Featured News, Press Release
Germ Wars: The Politics of Microbes and America's Landscape of Fear (University of California Press)
The United States government has spent billions of dollars to prepare the nation for bioterrorism despite the extremely rare occurrence of biological attacks in modern American history. Germ Wars argues that bioterrorism has emerged as a prominent fear in the modern age, arising with the production of new forms of microbial nature and the changing practices of warfare.
Dear Western Community,
It has been a pleasure to engage and connect with all of you through various campus events and activities, especially at the Campus Conversations events held this spring. I hope open dialogue continues to enrich our campus culture.