Windell: From CU to CSU — different schools, different vibes

Bridgette Windell

This is my version of a “coming out story.” I was, at one point, a CU Buff.

My freshman year and half of my sophomore year was spent attending university in Boulder. I transferred to CSU exactly a year ago, and these are my opinions on both campuses, whether you agree or not.


I’ve had the opportunity to experience two amazing schools in Colorado and have two sides to my college experience. Both schools hold a place in my heart, and each has pros and cons.

I won’t lie and say that I don’t miss Boulder — I do, sometimes a lot. The flatirons are, without a doubt, one of the coolest geological landmarks in the United States, and I’ve seen a lot. I miss not seeing cracks on the walls of buildings or graffiti on campus, or chalk defacing the side of a building — I’m forever awaiting the day CSU decides to rebuild Clark.

I am going to be a stereotypical college student and say that I miss the “party scene.” My freshman year at CU seemed to be out of a movie. Every party I went to reminded me of “Project X,” and because of that, I’ve learned not to take a midterm after a thirsty Thursday.

But all of the things I mentioned above are superficial, and that’s the reason I transferred to Fort Collins. I am not a superficial person, but I felt myself getting concerned with reputation, appearance and privilege more than I ever had.

Deciding to transfer to Colorado State University was by far one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Since transferring here, I have grown immensely as a person. CSU and Fort Collins have taught me more meaningful life lessons than any I could have learned in Boulder.

The difference between CU and CSU are the values that are so evidently prominent and actively practiced on campus everyday.

At CSU, it’s clear that the University emphasizes a holistic approach to the college experience. It’s about taking advantage of your education, experiencing as many opportunities you can and making lasting and meaningful connections with peers and your professors. It’s not about money, privilege or reputation — it’s about being a conscious and capable human being, on and off campus.

I’m not saying that all of those things aren’t possible a CU, but for me, it is easier to practice those values here.

I’m grateful for my attendance at the University of Colorado and I don’t regret any time I spent there. If it weren’t for CU, I wouldn’t have ended up in Fort Collins.

I still won’t pick sides when it comes to the Rocky Mountain Showdown. And, yeah, sometimes I still have to stop myself from saying “it sucks to be a CSU Ram.” Old habits die hard.


Overall, though, I would thank CSU for the best year of my college experience — your people, your beer, your bikes and your down-to-earth vibes are everything I could have wanted. Thanks for making me not want to graduate, and stay here as long as I can.

Collegian Columnist Bridgette Windell can be reached at or on Twitter @Bridgette_Rae.