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Making the most out of college

The Emmanuel Art Gallery is a place to meet potential friends on campus.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

College is never an easy thing to start, but attending a commuter campus can present a particularly challenging hurdle to overcome. Few people stay on campus after their classes; CU Denver doesn’t have big sporting events, Auraria is a large campus with people who go to other schools, and there isn’t the luxury of on-campus housing. Still, getting involved on a commuter campus is not impossible.

A great way to start building a community is with social media. Following CU Denver Live!, The Office of Events and Partnerships, CU Denver Student Government Association, and the official CU Denver profile is a way to know what’s happening every day. These accounts, and the CU Denver News email distributed weekly on Tuesdays, are all full of useful information, like special guests lecturing on campus, art shows on display, open forum-style discussions, and, of course, where to go to get all the free food a college student needs.

Specifically, CU Denver Live! and the Office of Events and Partnerships host a plethora of events each semester, usually at least one a month. These gatherings can include discounted tickets to theater shows and sporting events; on-campus activities, like food truck festivals; or free events, like tie-dying shirts and outdoor movie nights. These events can help those looking for a community since they can meet new people and immediately have a shared experience (and perhaps even interests) to discuss.

MyLynx, which can be accessed through the UCD Access portal, is also useful. It’s a database of every school-recognized club and organization on campus. Right now, there are nearly 500 official clubs and organizations for students to join. These can range from intramural sports to anime and film clubs, so there’s no shortage of people with similar interests. However, if a student does have an interest that doesn’t have a related club, they can find a few people who share their passion and make their own club. 

The Office of Student Life located on the third floor of Tivoli in suite 303 is also a helpful resource. It is the job of quite literally everyone in that office to help students find their niche.

On a more hands-on level, another idea is simply to explore campus. While some buildings are institution specific, some are open to students of all three schools. The Tivoli is one of the most heavily trafficked areas on campus, meaning it houses a ton of events and hangout spots. Infinitus Pie (commonly called iPie) is hardly ever empty and serves tasty pizza, but most importantly, it’s a prime place to meet up with or bump into potential friends. They also plaster the walls with flyers, so there’s an events calendar next to every table.

If pizza isn’t appealing, there are other restaurants on campus, like Los Molinos, Intermission Café, and Simply Fresh Market that serve good food and create friendly atmospheres that make it easy to meet people. 

Plus, Emmanuel Gallery, a free public art gallery that features both student and professional artists, provides a hangout spot on campus that’s filled with potential connections to be made.

It might not be as easy to get involved in college as it was in high school, but that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. Denver might seem like a dauntingly big place at first, but in fact, Auraria Campus makes it quite the opposite. Do a little research, explore the options, and start making meaningful connections.

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