The seven University of Colorado at Boulder students who took it upon them-selves to do something to change their school's negative image have shown imagi-native leadership.
Last week, the students unveiled a statement of social responsibility which they called the "Colorado Creed," intended to "create a culture where people care about one another."
"I agree to act with honor, integrity and accountability in my interactions with students, faculty, staff and neighbors," reads the first line of the creed, written for the Boulder community as well as for the university.
Senior business finance major Chris Deardorff started the change movement in 2003 after the Princeton Review ranked CU the No. 1 party school in the nation. Deardorff, 21, said he was so bothered by the ranking that he and a buddy launched the campaign to show that it was based on misconceptions.
First, they wrote to media outlets calling the ranking unscientific and invalid and a public relations stunt by the Princeton publication. Then they recruited other students and waged a campus-wide "Maybe we are No. 1" publicity campaign focusing a spotlight on positive aspects of the university: research projects, intramural sports, entrepreneurial programs, the recreation center, student government and other programs at which the university excels.
Then one of the students came up with the creed to promote values like honor and integrity. At first, Deardorff said he and other students in the group thought the creed idea was too "hokey." "We didn't think it would make an impact. Then we thought about it and the different effects that a creed could have, especially when it comes to changing the culture," Deardorff said.
With the help of CU administrators and the student government, the students unveiled the creed last week and announced that its guiding principles would be carved in 14 flagstones and laid in high-traffic areas across campus. The first flagstone, carved with "Integrity," was laid in the Norlin Quadrangle. Seven plaques containing the creed will be hung in buildings, such as the student union.
"We're just a group of students who came together because we care about our school," said Deardorff, who will graduate this year. "We don't want our degrees to have a tarnished value." "We're not asking people to be perfect. We're not trying to infringe on how they live their lives as students," said Deardorff. "But when they walk across an integrity stone, hopefully they will ask themselves: 'Am I living my life the way I should?' "We applaud those students who dare to try.