I am saddened and offended by the sentiments of Annie Livingston in her letter to the editor last week. As the director of a local nonprofit who works closely with CMC students and campus staff and administrators, I don’t see where she is coming from. (I should disclose that the campus dean is a volunteer member of our board of directors.)

In the 20-some years I have lived in Leadville, I’ve never seen the campus more vibrant and engaged with the community than it is today. Every summer at the Cloud City Farm, we work with CMC students as interns to help us grow food, we host field visits with the environmental studies classes, and provide hands-on practice for the heavy-equipment operator classes. This relationship yields benefits for all. The students gain real-world experience they can add to their resumes, we gain the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of these young people, and the community is made richer. We even have CMC faculty members who volunteer for our nonprofit every year. We love working with CMC students and staff!

We are so grateful for the wisdom of CMC faculty as well. Did you see the guest column in this paper last week by a CMC faculty and student pair advocating for the support of Dreamers and the DACA Program? These are people who care for all members of our community and are encouraging us to do the same. Let’s focus on the positive people.

I can only speak from my own experience, but I know there are a multitude of ways the college interacts with the community and the experiences enrich us all. We are so lucky to have a college in our community and especially one that brings resources from the far corners of the world to our small town. There’s a reason Salida has sought to join the system: they see the value in affiliation with CMC, and they want to be part of it too.

Kendra Kurihara

Executive Director

Cloud City Conservation Center

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