Colorado State University was founded in 1870 as the Agricultural College of Colorado. The school opened to students in 1879 under President Elijah Edwards and two other faculty members, and enrolled 19 freshmen students. For 78 years, CSU was referred to as the “Aggies.”
Although the name was changed to Colorado State University in 1957, there are still visible signs of the Colorado State Aggies, like the giant ‘A’ painted into the side of one of the Rocky Mountains, which border CSU’s campus to the west. From its origins as an agricultural school of 19 students, CSU has morphed into a university with over 22,000 students, a classification as a Carnegie Class I research institution, and annual research expenditures up to $138 million. The school has 1,400 faculty members in eight colleges and 55 academic departments and boasts more than 116,000 living alumni.
CSU’s main campus of 579 acres is in central Fort Collins, Colorado at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and features an abundance of trees to reflect the breathtaking surrounding scenery. The Oval, a lawn with a circumference of 2,065 feet, is a major facet of CSU’s Fort Collins campus. The administration sits on the Oval’s southern end; the rest of the border houses academic buildings.
Another CSU campus notable, the main plaza, is surrounded by academic buildings, including the Lory Student Center (which has Student Media, organization offices, Student Government, and dining and study facilities) and Morgan Library.
Fort Collins, a 142,000-resident city, is a cozy college town nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Because of its proximity to the mountains, there’s easy access to hiking, skiing, rafting, and other outdoor sports. Although Fort Collins is known as a great place to raise a family, the north side, called “Old Town,” is overrun with college students. Old Town has a brag-worthy collection of eclectic shops, fountains, restaurants, and bars, and on sunny days, college students shop, eat, and drink on Fort Collins’ patios.
In 2006, Money Magazine named Fort Collins the best city to live in America. To the typical Colorado State Ram, that is not shocking: Fort Collins has over 650 restaurants, 30 bars, 19 golf courses and 13 ski resorts within 100 miles. Money Magazine isn’t alone. CSU also was named as the fourth best place to live in the US by Men's Journal (2005, 2003), one of Runner's World Magazine’s 25 best running cities in America (2005), Employment Review’s 17th-best place to live and work in America (2002), and one of A&E Television’s 10 most livable cities (2000). A 2002 Digital Cities Survey conducted by The Center for Digital Government rated Fort Collins the second-best digital city in the nation, and the city received an ICLEI 5-Star Award for efforts to reduce global warming and pollution in the same year.
Colorado State University’s traditions…
Aome of the biggest unofficial traditions are the things we always do around football games. First, you always have to tailgate before the game. You don't necessarily have to drink, but many people do. If it happens to be a big rivalry game, many people will come to the stadium hours early and set up BBQ's and coolers filled with beer cans. It's a great time to get pumped up right before kick-off. Then right before the game, the marching band comes out. They do what's called the ‘Trombone Suicide.’…If one person messes up, it could be tragic. But they are all so talented that rarely happens. Next, once the game starts going the crowd gets riled up and starts singing the fight song and chanting ‘I'm Proud to be a CSU Ram!’ Then every time the football team makes a touchdown, you can see people lifting up the petite girls in the crowd and pumping them in the air 7 times for 7 points. Overall, football games are really awesome and it’s always fun to tailgate and do chants that are exclusive to CSU... like you're really a part of something.
In the back of the CSU handbook/ planner, there is a list of 101 things you need to do before graduating. It's really fun to look at the list closer to graduation to see all things you've done in the last four years. Some of the best ones include: streaking the oval, swimming in Horsetooth Reservoir, voting for campus president, taking a ‘fun’ final, joining a student organization, getting a parking ticket, watching a sunset, and going to a CSU sporting event.
Another tradition is to go to Old Town when you turn 21. Usually all the bars will give you a birthday shot. There is a bar called Tony's and they are famous for their flaming birthday shot. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but they light the shot on fire, blow the flames toward you, have you blow it out and shoot it down. It's probably the most disgusting shot you'll drink, but it's definitely worth it knowing you participated in that tradition.”
Another unofficial tradition that many CSU students participate in is the Tour de Fat, a bicycle tour of epic proportions held by the Fort Collins brewery, New Belgium. Thousands of Rams strap on their goofiest getups, costumes and uniforms and bike around campus and the surrounding area only to end up at New Belgium’s brewery for free concerts, food, and beers. The Tour de Fat was such a success last year that it has now spread to eight cities nationwide: another unofficial Ram tradition that spread like wildfire!
Of all the unofficial traditions of CSU, participation in RamRatings.com might be the most controversial on campus. Every semester, students log onto the site and give their two cents on their professors. Consider it either a warning or promotion of every professor on campus. Students, once registered, have the opportunity to grade their professor on ‘Presenting Material Clearly’ and ‘Recognizes Student Difficulties.’ Considering these ratings (which are much like GPA’s), student then give reasons why they graded their professors. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, all the opinions are honest and real.
Susan Howlet Butcher was the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986 and, by 1990, had become the second four-time winner.
Keith Carradine (1967) is an actor who starred in the television show “Dexter,” as well as other shows and full-length films.
Mary Louise Cleave (1969) was a United States astronaut and, for three years, the NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate.
Joey Porter (1999) is a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins.
Amy Van Dyken (attended) won six Olympic gold medals for swimming.
Bradlee Van Pelt (2004) is a free agent quarterback in the NFL.
Colorado State University’s 10 varsity women’s teams and six varsity men’s teams compete at the Division I level in the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State is most well-known for its football (the Rams have competed for 115 seasons). The Rams experienced the most success under Sonny Lubick, who joined as coach in 1992. Since then, the Rams have competed in nine bowls, and between 1994 and 2002, the Rams were a top 25 contender. In 2007, CSU replaced Lubick with Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild.
Other CSU teams have enjoyed success, too. The women’s volleyball team was in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament in 2004 and competed in its 13th straight NCAA tournament in 2007. The volleyball team has won six out of the past eight Mountain West Conferences.
The women’s basketball team has competed in five NCAA tournaments and made it to the Sweet Sixteen in 1999. The men’s basketball team competed in four NCAA tournaments and made it to the quarterfinals in 1969.
CSU’s club teams—especially lacrosse, hockey, polo, and archery—are also competitive.
Fort Collins was the template for Walt Disney World.
The South College Fieldhouse, built in 1924 and renovated in 1998, was featured in A League of Their Own (1992), starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks.
Moby Arena (where basketball and volleyball are played) served as the setting for the 1976 movie One on One, starring Robby Benson, Annette O'Toole, G.D. Spradlin, Gaill Strickland, and Melanie Griffith.
Several famous academics and politicians have spoken on CSU’s campus through the Monfort Lecture Series, including Jane Goodall, Mikhail Gorbachev, Madeleine Albright, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Westfall and Durward, also known as ‘The Towers’ are located furthest from campus. Because of this, it can be difficult to get to class, but The Towers are known for having the rowdiest kids (and most citations). Parmelee and Corbett are also a ways away from campus, but they have the best food courts and always seem to have the most attractive people. Allison and Braiden are for engineer majors and freshmen who are extremely smart. They do not offer co-ed halls and only offer breakfast for food (skip these).
The halls on campus, such as Braiden, Allison, Newsom, and Ingersoll are mainly for students who put education first in their priorities and are marked by a diverse population due of students from different countries. Colorado State is currently building a new dormitory that looks more like a village than a residence hall. Like the newest addition to CSU halls, Summit, the Village will offer air conditioning and tiny rooms.
Other amenities that Corbett offers include a huge courtyard with volleyball nets and a basketball court, and when the weather gets a little bit warmer, dozens of residents make their way out there to socialize, play, and hang out.
In the actual hall, most residents leave their doors open all the time so that everyone can develop really good relationships with one another and our hall in particular had really good camaraderie. We would all go to dinner together and out to parties on weekends. (A lot of us are still friends three years later!) Our RA's were really laid back and a lot of times would stop in our room to check up on us or just to hang out. Since the dorm is right on campus, the walk to class is really short and I usually didn't leave until 10 minutes before class which made it really convenient.