In the spacious and comfortable Jerry Wartgow Welcome Center on the first floor of the Student Commons Building, all eyes are on Sarah Leger from CU Denver Admissions. Outside, it’s a hot, windy summer afternoon, but inside prospective students and their parents are cool and comfortable while they listen to Leger as she starts their tour of the CU Denver campus.
Paying very close attention is Doris Richards. She drove from Delta, Colo., with her twin sons Alex and Andy and daughter Anha for the tour. On the opposite side of the room, Dan and Lora Goetz and their daughter Emma have come in from Longmont to visit the campus.
Leger starts her presentation by pointing out that what unites and drives CU Denver are three simple words with broad implication—“Learn with purpose.” For students, those words give focus to their future as they invest in their classwork, research, internships and career choices. At CU Denver, it’s everyone’s goal to make education matter.
By the time they move to the next stop on the tour, future CU Denver students already know more about the university:
CU Denver is located in the heart of Denver, a city that was named in Forbes Top 10 cities for Young Professionals.
- Students can choose from more than 120 majors and minors.
- CU Denver is just a shuttle ride away from CU Anschutz, with its many health and research programs.
- 70 percent of students receive financial aid which covers, on average, 60 percent of the total cost of attending CU Denver
- 600 internships are awarded to students each year; the Career Center has 180 organizations recruiting students for jobs.
- There are 140 student organizations to choose from, including club sports.
- The new Wellness Center with a lap pool, weight room and other facilities is scheduled to open in spring 2018.
- Housing is available at Campus Village, located on the west side of campus.
The mention of housing inevitably brings up the most important subject—food. Doris Richards asks if there is a meal plan (There are several, but students don’t have to purchase them). Dan Goetz asks if there are gluten-free options for students. (There are.) Doris asks about student to teacher ratio. (It’s 17 to 1.)
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Student Commons Building
Student Ambassadors Matt Stark and Ana Ibanez lead the group out of the Welcome Center and up to the second floor of the Student Commons Building. Here, the visitors have a panoramic view of downtown Denver skyscrapers, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts with its multiple theaters, Sports Authority Field at Mile High where the Broncos play, Elitch Gardens with roller coasters and water slides, and the iconic Tivoli building where students can eat and study. The group visits several areas of the Student Commons Building, including a computer lab and a large lecture classroom where the seats turn completely around to facilitate discussion.
Now, the questions start coming from parents and students more quickly. What is parking like for students who drive cars to campus? (Lots of parking available, but all students get free RTD passes, so riding the light rail or bus to campus is easy.) Is there a policy requiring students to live on campus? (No.) Is there Greek life? (There are professional organizations with Greek letters, but no sororities or fraternities.) Does CU Denver offer opportunities to study internationally? (Most definitely yes. There are also international internships.)
Vindhyaa Pasupuleti, a junior at Cherry Creek High School, asks if there are research opportunities for students. (Yes, on both the CU Anschutz campus and CU Denver campus.)
After a quick look at the Transfer Office, which is devoted to helping transfer students, and the Lynx Center, which is always staffed to help answer student questions, the group heads out the door and across Speer Boulevard into the heart of Denver.
Doris Richards talks as they walk. “I like that students can get around the city by light rail or with a bus pass,” she says. “That’s a great thing.” Since her children have grown up in a smaller Colorado town, she says she would like to see them attend college in Denver. “There are so many cultural activities that they don’t have in Delta,” she says. “They need to venture out and see the world.”
Emma Goetz hopes to become a nurse, and CU Denver appeals to her because of the close connection to CU Anschutz. “I think there would be so many opportunities for research!” she exclaims. Her father works in Denver and reminds his daughter that she could live at home and ride with him to the city every day. “We could commute together,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.
With a big grin, Emma sets him straight. “That is not the college experience I was looking for!”
inWorks, Larimer Street and The Business School
Next stop for the group is 14th and Larimer at Inworks, a laboratory for human-centered design and interdisciplinary innovation open to faculty, staff and students at both CU Denver and CU Anschutz. Assistant Professor Kate Goodman greets the group and encourages them to wander around the laser cutters and 3D printers where “you can build what you can imagine.”
From Inworks, the group heads down Larimer Street, checking out the boutiques, top-rated restaurants and al fresco dining before arriving at the Business School.
At the Business School, Matt and Ana point out the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities with its digital ticker tape showing today’s commodity trading prices. Matt also talks to students about the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship, where students can compete for seed money to start their own business. Andy Richards studies the directory in the lobby and reflects on how CU Denver is different from other schools he has visited. “There are more opportunities here to find a job,” he said. “What kind of jobs will you find if you are in a small town?”
CU Denver neighborhood
The group heads back across Speer and enters the CU Denver “neighborhood” on campus. They walk past the North Classroom building as Matt explains that even though CU Denver is located on a tri-institutional campus and shares some buildings with its fellow schools, CU Denver students will be taught by CU Denver professors and learn with CU Denver students.
The group passes the library, where improvements are under construction. Matt mentions that CU Denver has a Writing Center where students can go to get help. “Make the most of it,” he advises. The group makes a quick stop to visit a laboratory at the Science Building and then moves on past St. Cajetan’s Cathedral, the Emmanuel Gallery, and the Health Center. Matt also points out the red emergency poles on campus which help ensure quick response from campus police to any emergency.
Next stop—the Tivoli Student Union. In this historic building, students can get a slice of pizza, buy their books, get a discount on a new computer, find an internship or get a job with assistance from the Career Center.
Finally, the group heads for a look at Campus Village where students tour suites that come complete with mini-kitchens. They also check out the dining hall with its view of light rail trains and Elitch Gardens. There are a few more questions about Wi-Fi, thermostats and room costs ($799/month for two roommates sharing a room; $599/month when three roommates share).
With that final stop, the tour ends. But the interest in CU Denver continues. Vindhyaa Pasupuleti says she really likes the diversity she saw on campus. Andy Richards thought the campus feels “compact” and easy to walk through. And Emma Goetz says CU Denver is definitely on her “Will Apply” list.