The CSU College of Liberal Arts’ mission is to create and extend knowledge and artistry that develops reflective citizens and confident leaders.

In a 2021 monthly series, we share stories that reflect our curiosity, ability to adapt, engagement with the community, and research and creative expertise.

This month, we are focusing on community engagement.

Together, we advocate for people and causes, engage the community with new ideas and programs, and lead others into a direction that is more equitable and just.



Illustration of three people connected




Together, we advance the human experience.

Together, we Advocate
Dr. Ray Black at a Juneteenth march in Denver

Department of Ethnic Studies

On Friday, June 19, 2020, a non-violent Juneteenth March was held and organized by CSU students at the Denver Capitol. Following many months (on top of many centuries) of police brutality, social unrest, and relentless racial injustice, students and faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies, felt this call to action and used their voices and their presence to practice the advocacy that is taught within the classroom. For this event, Ethnic Studies assistant professor Ray Black was one of the chosen speakers who helped support, affirm, and uplift students. 

Raven Pinto

Department of Political Science

Political Science alumna (’20), Raven Pinto, served as a Native American Congressional Intern for the office of U.S. Senator Tom Udall, and represented the Native American Cultural Center in student government. Pinto hopes to combine her education and experience at CSU with her love for the Navajo Nation by working in tribal policy.

Read more about Raven Pinto, who was the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Grad in Spring 2020.

Fracking rig near a residential neighborhood

Department of Sociology

Professor Stephanie Malin bridges scientific research and community concerns through her work with residents affected by fracking, water governance, and nuclear power issues. Malin is a well-known author, speaker, mentor, and collaborator, as well as a founding member of CSU’s Center for Environmental Justice. Her interdisciplinary Food-Energy-Water team is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Read some of Malin’s research about the physical and mental health impacts of fracking near communities.

Hodge-SaintJour and Associates

Department of Journalism and Media Communication

Journalism and Media Communication alumni Jayla Hodge and Gabriel Go have teamed up with fellow CSU grads Ikra Mohamed (Business Admininistration) and Joycey SaintJour (Human Development and Family Studies) to form Hodge-SaintJour and Associates. The new black-owned consulting firm aspires to create a world where diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism is the standard.

Students visiting booths getting information about CSU

Department of English

One of the unique features of the English department and its various concentrations at CSU is the implementation of a symposium for all first-year students. The symposium, led by faculty members from each concentration, seeks to reduce some of the overwhelm that first-years often face. Faculty from across the English department shared their experiences with symposium students, including the inspiration for the course and its goals for all incoming English students.

Read more about ways the Department of English is creating community-building resources for their students.

Students participating in the Parks as Portals to Learning

Department of History

The Parks as Portals to Learning program, part of the Public Lands History Center, pairs students with Rocky Mountain National Park professionals. Participants engage with natural and cultural resource managers, learn about management issues within the park, and propose ways to use environmental history to address issues and propose creative strategies for learning about and preserving park resources.

Learn more about the Parks as Portals to Learning program run by the Public Lands History Center.

Promotional material for Boy Gets Girl

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

The show must – and has – gone on! CSU Theatre is engaging in new technology and engaging with audiences and students in a new way. During the pandemic, they’ve tapped into their technical creativity and compelling performance skills to achieve something extraordinary. This fall, CSU Theatre presented a live-action Zoom production of Boy Gets Girl by Rebecca Gilman, and produced their first full-length film — Concord Floral by Jordan Tannahill.

Read more about the innovations the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance are making to bring performing arts to the community during a pandemic.

The Center for Public Diliberation holds a community forum on local air quality in Fort Collins Colorado on March 6, 2019

Department of Communication Studies

Center for Public Deliberation student associates facilitate complex conversations about wicked problems facing our community. During civic engagement events, students lead small-group conversations about these issues with participants from all walks of life, listening across difference, maintaining neutrality, and fostering a sense of belonging. Since the pandemic started, the CPD has shifted their in-person facilitation to a virtual format. 

Learn more about the Center for Public Deliberation housed within the Department of Communication Studies.

Painters working on mural

Department of Art and Art History

October 2020 was the launch of the first Engaged Art Walk, an arts-based community building project and an outdoor exhibition space that features rotating installations to integrate art, society, and education. In collaboration with the Black African American Cultural Center and the Ethnic Studies department, “Black Lives Matter” was emblazoned in yellow block lettering on the ground outside of the Visual Arts Building.

Read more about the Engaged Art Walk and series of events and art projects integrating art, education and civic engagement.

Students in the Sociology and Global Environmental Issues class

Department of Sociology

CSU Sociology has become one of the largest non-commercial donors to the Food Bank of Larimer County. After studying equality, poverty, stratification, and theory, students in Jason Downing’s General Sociology and Global Environmental Issues courses help organize a community food drive each semester. This service project demonstrates sociology in action. (Photos from a pre-pandemic class.)

Learn more about the service project facilitated by the Department of Sociology.

Together, we Lead
Undergraduate Women in Economics meeting

Department of Economics

Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) is working to close the gender gap in Economics. Currently, women are underrepresented in the major at CSU by a ratio of 5:1. The group advocates for more opportunities and works to break down barriers for women and underrepresented groups to major in Economics. This April, the group hosted a Women in Economics Alumni Panel to provide information, connections, and resources for women in the major.

Aram leading a Black Lives Matter march on the Oval

Department of Philosophy

In June, the Fort Collins community marched peacefully in solidarity to condemn injustice and racism, and to promote unity. Recent philosophy alumnus Aram Sahakyan, spurred by the prevalence of police violence and the killing of George Floyd, took action as a key figure in the organization of the march.