Campus closes for DNC; learning continues
The closing of the Auraria Campus for the Democratic National Convention during the third week of the fall semester (Aug. 25-29) will have many ripple effects for faculty, staff and students at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Some will use the time for an end-of-summer vacation. Others will use the time to tap into the historical presence of the DNC in the mile-high city or to become more involved in meeting the needs of local communities.
For Director of Student Activities Brooke Dilling, the timing of the closures spurred discussions around how to keep students involved during a critical time in the school year – the beginning. The first six weeks of a new semester tend to determine how successful a student will be, as patterns are set in areas including class attendance, study habits, meeting with advisors and making friends.
“We want to make sure they come back,” Dilling says. “Our hope is to help connect students with one another in volunteer and social opportunities.”
As a result Student Activities developed “Metro State Gets Unconventional,” which offers service-learning opportunities and social activities during that off week for students who are new to the campus, with a focus on freshman and transfer students. Students have signed up for more than 200 volunteer opportunities.
All activities will be held off campus, to avoid the traffic congestion surround the DNC. Participating organizations include: Assisted Cycling Tours, Food Bank of the Rockies, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Project C.U.R.E., Denver Dumb Friends League, Friends of Dinosaur Ridge, and Colorado Youth at Risk.
For example, some students will help Colorado Youth at Risk relocate to their new home at Manual High School. The project will have students sanding and repainting areas of the high school, as well as framing 3 X 3 artistic tiles created by children involved with the organization. “The Metro students will certainly help us get organized at our new home,” says Sarah McGill, interim volunteer manager for Colorado Youth at Risk.
Others have committed to riding with participants in Assisted Cycling Tours, a program that takes a child or adult with any disability, along with their parent/guardian, on a fully supported cycling tour.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Assisted Cycling Tours and having so many out at one time will really help our kids enjoy their day cycling,” says Bob Matter, executive director and founder of Assisted Cycling Tours. “Many of the Metro volunteers will captain groups of riders, man rest stops or ride alongside the kids who may not have parents or guardians to ride with them.
“This will have a lasting impact on not just the kids, but parents as well since so many of us tend to be overprotective. The riding day tends to teach people that anyone can enjoy the outdoors no matter what.”
Social activities for Metro State Gets Unconventional include outings at Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Elitch Lanes Bowling. Some of the staff and students will be blogging about their experiences.
Metro State faculty and staff are also involved in DNC-related activities.
The CVA is located in LoDo at 1734 Wazee Street.
Metro State Center for Visual Art Director and Curator Jennifer Garner and Assistant Director and Curator Cecily Cullen will provide DNC delegates a sneak preview of the “Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Prints and Objects” exhibition. It officially runs Aug. 29-Nov.1, featuring a guest lecture by the artists on Sept. 18 at the Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre. For more information, visit www.MetroStateCVA.org.
Political Science Professor and Chair Robert Hazan has developed a course, integrating the DNC called “Behind the Scenes at the DNC.” The online course will provide comprehensive insider views of the convention and the 2008 presidential race. Learn more about the course at http://www.dnceduonline.org/.
Professor of Technical Communication and Media Production Peggy O’Neill Jones is taking K-12 educators inside the DNC with When History Happens. As the director of the Library of Congress’ "Teaching with Primary Sources-Colorado" O’Neill Jones is leading this collaboration with various agencies to provide educators statewide with concrete 21st-century tools they can take back to their classrooms to implement immediately.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology Allison Cotton is a DNC delegate.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology Allison Cotton is a convention delegate. She will be blogging for Metro State about her DNC experience.
Assistant Professor of Management Whitney Traylor is a panelist at a special DNC event. The panel, titled “A New Voice – A New Conversation,” will include actor Hill Harper, best known for his role on CSI: NY. It will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, at the Pavilion State, 2401 Washington Street in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood.
Assistant Professor and Journalism Program Coordinator Kenn Bisio has coordinated with the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post and Associated Press for journalism students to have paid positions assisting reporters on the floor of the DNC. The students will be writing, taking photos and producing videos for the Web.
Visiting Instructors of History Kevin Rucker and Deborah Faulkner will coordinate DNC special historic walking tours of Lower Downtown (LoDo) from Saturday, Aug. 24, through Thursday, Aug. 28. For more information, go to http://www.lodo.org/lodo-walk-tour.html.
Chicana/o Studies Chair and Associate Professor Ramon Del Castillo
Chicana/o Studies Chair and Associate Professor Ramon Del Castillo will be inside the DNC covering news for El Semanario, a local weekly publication that targets the Latino community.
Theatre Production Manager Megan Euler will be the VIP event manager for Mayor John Hickenlooper's DNC opening night party.
Rounding out the DNC theme, the Political Science Department on Sept. 10 will host its final session of the Metro State Skyline Park Series “Countdown to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.” The title of the discussion is “Post-Convention Follow-up and Evaluation – What Comes Next?” Political Science Professors Robert Hazan and Norman Provizer, along with Metro State President Stephen Jordan will lead the discussion.