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CUnique Stories


Below you'll find a brief description of the stories you may hear at CUnique Stories. Select book now to secure a time with a specific storyteller. Feel free to book slots with more than one story.

A Girl's College Experience Before RBG

Because I got married after two years of college instead of pursuing my goals, I supported my husband's dreams. Federal laws in 1969 stated that a wife assumed her husband's residency or non-residency. I learned this when trying to complete my degree in Minnesota where my husband was getting his dental degree. Thus, I was unable to continue the pursuit of my degree at that time. When returning to Colorado after six years, I learned that I had to live in the state for one year before becoming a resident. My own personal values of being a supportive wife were influenced by the broader cultural values that the husband held more significance than the wife. Finally, going back to college in my forties was the start of me "growing a backbone."      Book now

  Discussion Questions

How would you rank the importance of getting an education to having a serious relationship?

Is it possible to share 50% each in a relationship or even 100% each?

Would you choose a profession because of the money it would provide or the meaning it provided in your life?

Organizing CU workers to strengthen our university and the public good

Alex Wolf-Root

In 2016, a dozen fellow graduate student workers and I formed an independent graduate labor union, the Committee on Rights and Compensation. We saw how working within the system could not make meaningful change, and the unjust conditions graduate workers faced impacted our entire university. Over the years we were able to win significant improvements in our conditions, but realized we needed to fight for more than "just" graduate students at CU Boulder. We've since expanded our scope as United Campus Workers Colorado – CWA Local 7799, to be a union for workers across job classifications across all CU campuses. Now we are building the power to truly fight not only for all CU workers but for the public teaching and research mission of our university. And while we've done some amazing things so far, this legislative session we're introducing – in conjunction with the CO AFL-CIO and Colorado Education Association – a bill to expand collective bargaining rights to all public workers across Colorado.     Book now

  Discussion Questions

What important change(s) would you make to CU if you could?

What barriers are in the way of making the changes you want?

Who should have a say in how CU operates? Who should have a say in how the rest of your world operates?

Witness to the end of the USSR

James Beach

In August 1991, I was working as an Economic Attache at the US Embassy in Moscow. I received a call at home early one Monday morning from a colleague, who warned me that Gorbachev had been arrested, and that the communist hardliners were resuming power. Driving into work shortly thereafter, everything seemed ordinary and I thought it might have been a hoax. I had no idea that the next three days would be some of the most exciting of my life, and that a recent graduate in Central and East European Studies would be an eyewitness to one of the most thrilling and shocking events of the 20th Century.      Book now

  Discussion Questions

The failed coup lasted three days. What were your impressions on each day?

Were you afraid at any time, either by the situation or being an American in the Soviet Union?

How did the Russian people react to the situation?

Para la Raza - How impossible looking dreams came true.

Erick Quintanilla

As I was preparing to graduate high school, I had discovered an interest in engineering and wanted to go to a high-level engineering school in the state. I am a DACAmented individual and have always had to work my way around education and work, to find ways to achieve my goals with the opportunities available to me. Being a teenager at that point, I assumed the process for DACA students to get college aid was the same as any other person. While settling into the dorms at my chosen university, I learned that was not the case. The financial aid lady told me that most of the financial aid would be unavailable to me because I didn't qualify. I was devastated and disappointed in myself and my inability to achieve a goal that was so important to me. I spent five years working through the issues that came with being a DACA student in a system where a lot of people don't know how to properly support students like me, ultimately transferring to CU Boulder after earning my associate‚Äôs degree while working full time. During my time in college, I felt completely isolated until I found Inspired Dreamers -a club designed to help undocumented and underrepresented students. There, I met some people that motivated me and helped me succeed.I am very fortunate to be where I am today, and my story is a good reminder of what can happen when a good support system is created during college.      Book now

  Discussion Questions

Are highschool advisors/ college advisors equipped to help every type of student that may need help?

What are your views on community college and transferring?

How important is community in finding proper resources to tough circumstances?

From Denver to Boulder: Another World

I am from Denver. I went to a very multi-racial and very mixed high school with a variety of socioeconomic statuses in the heart of Denver, CO. I come from a mixed race family. When I came to CU, my first few weeks were very hard. My best friend was here from high school and we both sorta struggled because there were not many folks that looked like us. Representation matters. We found our nitches. I went to work in Libby Hall (Short lived LOL) and then I found my way to athletics. I was an athlete in high school but nowhere near college-level material. I fell in love with athletic training. I became a student athletic trainer and that changed the trajectory of my time at CU. I loved my time both the bad and the good and have been giving back to CU ever since. I have never worn rose colored glasses as far as CU is concerned AND that has driven my desire to give back and create safer spaces for BIPOC students, staff and faculty and try to help them love CU as much as I do.      Book now

  Discussion Questions

What was the hardest part of coming to CU Boulder ?

What has driven you to come back to CU after working at other Institutions?

What would you tell students that are on the fence about CU ?

A Roadie and a Bouncer: CU's Era of Big Concerts and How It Shaped Me

Julann Andresen

I was lucky enough to work for the Program Council during my 4-years at CU from 1981-1985. Those were the days of regular big concerts being held at CU at multiple venues. It was also the days of the Alferd Packard Days and the Trivia Bowl, both that included the Program Council working to produce and secure the events. I worked security and production for the Program Council, hence the roadie and bouncer title. We did big stadium shows like the Rolling Stones in Folsom to bands like U2 and Jethro Tull in the CU Event Center to Pearl Jam in Balch Field House and Chuck Berry in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. It was amazing. I have so many stories about the work, the shows, the camaraderie, the fun and the friendships. I would be honored to share some of them. Book now

  Discussion Questions

How did your experience as a student employee of the Program Council shape your career?

Can you tell a story about a challenge that helped you grow as a person?

What is one of your favorite memories from that time in your life?

From Pens to Pixels

Shawn Small

My time at CU was marked by a great transition from typewriters and handwriting to computers and email. Looking back, this transition was a significant aspect of my undergraduate experience. In the Geography Department, we moved from hand drawn maps to computerized ones built with tools like Autocad. I also witnessed the arrival of something called a computer lab that modified the way I wrote papers. As we were introduced to email, my friends and I thought it sounded ridiculous. The version of email we had access to had very limited applications. It was a time of change and transition. Book now

  Discussion Questions

How did the process of writing papers and doing research for class change while at CU?

What do you remember about email addresses while you were at CU?

What was the process for setting schedules and staffing front-of-house programs at Macky before computers were ubiquitous?

My CU Journey Was My Launch

Brenda Hardwick

I started at CU with GED in hand, married, and with my first son under my arm. At seventeen I had no idea what I was going to do, what I would study, or where it would take me. CU is where I learned about myself, my life to be, and what my potential looked like. CU was a place to feed my dreams and learn what the world had to offer me through education. All of this was a result of walking the Boulder campus to attend classes, carrying one or both of my children with me before and after they were born. This is my story. [Virtual story]   Book now



  Discussion Questions

What made you choose to attend CU?

You said that your children attended classes with you; will you tell us about that?

What was your experience with campus life when you attended?

Healing the Past: The Only Way Forward

Christine Fang

I decided to move to Boulder, Colorado because I believe the best things in life are on the other side of fear. Moving away from my family in Illinois and going to a big university surrounded by gorgeous fearsome mountains, it was a big leap out of the nest. Although I found a community of people who accepted me, the journey to my own self acceptance turns out to be the most treacherous of all. Navigating heartbreak, self-esteem, healing generational trauma, mental health, ADHD, imposter syndrome and more have all been important parts of my journey. Even now as one of the youngest, only POC queer woman at my current workplace, I still deal with these issues. But I know that on the other side of the fear of failure, abandonment, and rejection, there is joy, belonging, and acceptance. Book now

  Discussion Questions

Explain a time where you felt like you didn't belong. How did you either cultivate belonging in your community or within yourself?

What role does authenticity and vulnerability play in the workplace? Where does it give you strength? Where does it expose weakness?

How do you define self-love?

Farrand Hall's Secret Sun Deck

Kim Adams

Hard to say who first became aware of the "secret sun deck" of Farrand Hall. It was secluded, it was locked, if there was a "marauder's map" of the residence hall, it did NOT appear on it. One day, early spring, the word began to spread: the secret sun deck was unlocked! I put on my swimsuit, grabbed a towel, and followed the directions. Sure enough, in the middle of the cold, damp, muddy, treeless Boulder springtime there was a little piece of summer. Book now

  Discussion Questions

What do you remember from your dorm experience? Was your room nice? Did the heat work?

College is a time of exploration and learning. Did you ever do something mischievous that got you in big trouble?

Do you have a letter from your residence hall director?

The Engineering Center: Space-Age Truth Behind the (Ugly) Building

Janet Tsai

The Engineering Sciences Center opened in 1965. At the time of its construction it was the largest building at CU, dominating the northeast corner of campus and immediately evident to anyone entering Boulder from Highway 36. Over the last fifty years, the building has been continually maligned for its brutal exterior of raw, unfinished concrete and myths about building, its purpose, and its designers have taken root for students, faculty and staff left to navigate its confusing layout. Exposing the realities behind the building's unique design and intended uses illuminates ways in which technologies and structures have lasting consequences - both intended and unintended by the original designers - and suggests possibilities for new stories to be told for the current era of engineering at CU Boulder. Book now

  Discussion Questions

What have you heard about the Engineering Center?

When you picture engineering in the 1960s, what / who do you envision? /p>

What do you think the future holds for the Engineering Center building? Will it still be here in 50 years?

From the beach to the Rockies - A Brazilian take on CU

Antonio Souza

As an international student, I would love to share the impact I had when I first arrived at Boulder, due to the huge differences between American and Brazilian universities. It was the first time I lived abroad and away from my parents, in a new country and so many cultural differences from where I grew up. This way, I believe I can talk about the process of meeting new people, adapting to such different aspects of social interaction, experiences working on campus, how Boulder helped me in my academic and professional trajectory and biggest differences between universities around the world. [Virtual story]   Book now

  Discussion Questions

How did CU Boulder impact your professional path?

What other campus experiences positively affected your transition to CU?

What did you notice about the differences in student life at your two campuses?

Tangent Alert

I came to CU as a graduate student, and I admit that one of the biggest draws was the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to be a spear carrier on the Mary Ripon!" Little did I know that within a few years I, an introvert and book-bound English major, would be doing exactly that, playing a soldier in "Henry IV, parts one and two." That experience was the first of many unplanned tangents that occurred to me during my time at CU. They were not necessarily part of my overall game plan, but I found that being open to the unexpected and being flexible enough to embrace new paths have led me to many joys I would otherwise have missed. Book now


  Discussion Questions

Do you feel more comfortable with a definite life plan or with a more general one?

How do you react to unexpected changes in your plans?

What tangents have occurred in your life and what effect did they have on you?

You CAN Do It All

Amina Otto

Coming from a background of homeschooling and small private schools, I was skeptical about attending a large state school for my undergrad. I expected to be lost in the thousands of students at CU and would simply float through my four years of study unnoticed and unchallenged. I could not have been more wrong. Thanks to the amazing faculty of CU, my fellow students, and opportunities that I would never have dreamed of, I ended up crafting an extremely unique and diverse educational experience within the university. I wrote and defended two honors theses, held student teaching positions in two different departments outside of my majors, joined several clubs, competed in snowboarding on a national level, and formed long lasting connections with friends and faculty. No matter how big the school, you CAN do it all and create your very own customized experience at CU. Book now

  Discussion Questions

What resources does CU have that allows for so much flexibility?

What role did CU faculty play in facilitating all of these activities?

How has this unique educational experience benefited you after graduation?

Reconnecting to the Queer Community

Shannon Small

I identify as aroace (aka aromantic asexual), and when I first began attending CU in Fall, 2014, it was at a time when there was a lot of contention in online queer spaces about whether or not asexual people deserved to be considered a part of the queer community and, more importantly, be allowed to use queer resources. Being an insecure 18 year old, I immediately absorbed this criticism and shoved myself back into the closet when I started college, preemptively cutting myself off from all the readily available resources and community that existed on campus. I talked myself out of living in the Spectrum dorm, never visited the LGBT+ resource center, and focused all my energy into classes. What I hadn't anticipated, and therefore hadn't mentally forbid myself from participating in, was LGBT Studies. In fall of 2016 I took Queer Theory, and the sheer euphoria of being surrounded by other queer people and talking about being queer for the first time in years launched my college path into a double major, the creation of a club just for asexual people, and me finally reclaiming my space as a part of the community. Book now

  Discussion Questions

How do you access the resources available on campus?

How can you create the resources you need when they aren't available?

Why is community so important?

The Secret to My Personal and Professional Success - Big Dreams, Hard Work, and a Lot of Serendipity

Christine Arguello

Christine Arguello, a first generation high school graduate, who accomplished her dream of becoming a lawyer and graduating from Harvard Law School, will share stories about several pivotal events that change the course of her life. [Virtual story]   Book now

  Discussion Questions

How many of you have had the audacity to dream big dreams about your future?

How many of you have had family or peers question or express disbelief in your dream?

It is not enough to just dream, you have to work hard to accomplish your dreams. What efforts have you made to blaze the path to your dream?

Global Journey

Keita Yasuda

I picked Boulder Colorado without thinking through the consequences that choice would have on the beginning of a life’s journey. The decision opened a path that led me to become a business executive at a global company. As an international student from Japan, who could barely speak English 20 years ago, I found a way to open myself up by being able to speak English and to communicate with the world. I got a job in Japan at a global company, which brought me the opportunity to work back in the US much later. Now, I am back in Colorado and pursuing a new career as a business innovator. My intuition picked Boulder as a destination. Book now

  Discussion Questions

Why was Boulder the right choice for you?

Can you describe how you experienced Boulder’s willingness to accept cultural diversity?

How did you connect the dots that led to your path and passion?

A Townie & Faculty Brat's Perspective

Sam Sandoe

Talking about my life-long involvement with CU: my parents met there and my father was a professor, librarian, and theatre director. My mother, three siblings, and myself are alumni and my sister Anne and I were both Staff members for a combined 35+ years. We still both act with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival when hired. Book now




  Discussion Questions

What was campus like when you were growing up?

How were you surprised by CU as an entering student?

When did you finally feel at home at CU as a student?

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