To Be or Not to Be? This month the University of Colorado launched a new branding campaign, entitled "Be Boulder," after shelling out more than $100,000 to come up with the concept and test it. The motivation behind the move was to turn the conversation away from CU being a party school and towards all of CU's accomplishments, like the noble laureates and astronauts and filmmakers the institution has produced -- and one of the tag lines for the campaign reads, "Be courageous. Be visionary. Be daring. Be Boulder." But is this really the way to sell the school?
With this new campaign, CU might just be ignoring how CU, and its students, are perceived and perceive themselves. After all, most students relate to what other students are doing, not what an astronaut has done. And just because students like to party on the weekends, like most twenty-year-olds, that doesn't mean they aren't also ace-ing their astro-physics classes. With a recent CU grad leading the way, we started thinking about exactly what it means to "Be Boulder."
1. Be Stoned
Marijuana is now legal, and before the university spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and god knows how much fish fertilizer to stop it, CU was THE 4/20 hangout. The school's efforts haven't stopped CU students from smoking regularly, and last 4/20, while all the cops were outside barricading Norlin Quad, many students were probably inside their dorms lighting up.
2. Be Rich
Colorado seems to be a haven for rich California and East Coast transplants, and that trend is definitely alive and well at CU. While everyone's financial situation is different, it's not uncommon to see students wearing expensive clothes and driving Mercedes and BMWs around The Hill.
3. Be in huge debt.
While some students at CU can get by using their parents' credit cards, others are drowning in a sea of student loans. There are cases of students who have had to take a semester off, apply for in-state tuition or even transfer in order to lower their rising debt. As CU tuition continues to rise, so does the debt of its students.
4. Girls: Be constantly wearing overpriced yoga clothes Boys: Be constantly dressed like a ski bum
It's understood that when you go to bed at 2 a.m. and get up at 7:45 a.m. for that 8 a.m. class, you aren't going to look your best. But CU students take it to a whole new level. Girls tend to wear expensive Lululemon and Prana no matter the occasion, and the boys tend to look like they just came from the slopes, even in the summer.
5. Be drunk, on your roof, blasting dubstep
CU students love to drink. Whether it's grabbing a pint in between classes at The Sink, getting wasted off Strong Island pitchers atHalf Fast or bar-hopping through downtown, drinking consumes much of CU students' free time. When the warm weather hits, students love nothing more than to spend the day laying out and downing a six-pack on their roof. Of course, no drunken roof party would be complete without some dubstep. CU should really just rid of the fight song altogether and replace it with Skrillex.
6. Be paying too much to live in a rundown, possibly flooded and/or over-crowded house
Rent in Boulder is outrageous. And for students with little to no money, that means having to pay way too much for too little. The Hill, especially, is full of rundown old houses, usually with double the designed-for tenants and maybe a student in a tent out back, all to save a few bucks each month. And this year, that "little" flood added an unwanted water-feature to many students already damaged homes.
7. Be mugged/assaulted/robbed
Assault, sexual or otherwise, and muggings, sometimes at knife or gun-point, happen surprisingly often on or near CU's campus; then there are the break-ins, stolen laptops and lost bikes. And this past summer, CU got in trouble for mishandling a sexual assault. 8. Be Bro-lder
From dudes in baggy beanies cruising around on longboards to fraternity brothers rocking pastel pants and Sperrys, there's no shortage of bros in Boulder. Whether they're wearing Polos and downing beers at The Goose or blaring dubstep or reggae while wearing neon bro-tanks, they aren't hard to spot.
9. Be obsessed with Americanized sushi
If you're looking for somewhere delicious and authentic to eat on a weekend night, you might want to avoid Hapa, which has entertaining names like the "double-orgasm roll" -- and plenty of crowds. Students and Boulderites gravitate towards the restaurant like it's a godsend, when its Americanized sushi has about the same quality as the rolls at Whole Foods.
10. Be dedicated to a foundering football team while ignoring other campus issues.
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CU football may be improving, but it's been a long uphill battle from last year's singular win. There have also been three coaches over the past four years, with plenty of money spent on the buyouts and leftover salaries of Hawkins and Embree. The athletic department is currently in huge debt to the university, yet alumni and others keep funneling money towards the football program. Meanwhile, lecture halls continue to have stained carpets, broken desks and peeling paint, and the university continues to slash budgets and raise tuition.
Bonus: Be able to bike up Flagstaff on a fixie.
Boulderites LOVE biking, and CU students, despite Boulder's hills, love fixies. Want to really "Be Boulder"? Take that fixie and bike up Flagstaff like it's no big deal. In full professional biking gear and with a few locally-brewed beers on board, of course. From our archives: University of Colorado to ban visitors on 4/20