Published: June 1, 2020

When senior Anna Ritz (StComm’20) saw a need to motivate students to practice social distancing this March, she helped launch a student-run campaign, #flattenthecurve, which featured daily photos of friends and family deemed high-risk for COVID-19.

“We thought that seeing the message come from peers and friends would help drive home the message in a more effective way,” said Ritz, president of CU Boulder’s branch of the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Serene SinghThe idea caught on: Fifty other CU Boulder students shared moving testimonials for remaining home.

Dozens of stories like Ritz’s surfaced early in the pandemic. Rhodes Scholar Serene Singh (Jour, PolSci’19), pictured, pushed for a crowdfunding campaign to help struggling students. Isabella Shelby (MCDBio, PreMed’20) started a petition to postpone graduation to maintain a safe environment, an effort that garnered 2,500 signatures in days.

University labs, units and departments donated more than 130,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), and CU engineering labs printed more PPE on 3D printers. Kyle Judah, director of entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering and Applied Science, led an initiative to help local restaurants by having them make meals for Boulder healthcare workers. CMCI professor Dan Ligon sewed masks.

Moon YinThe effort of Buffs was global. Moon Yin (ElCompEngr’16), leader of CU’s Shanghai alumni chapter and pictured below, brought together 10 other alums to donate 1,200 N95 masks to CU.

In April, the university launched the Buffs Together campaign to further support students, staff and faculty in need. CU Boulder committed $1.6 million in emergency funds.

“Together as a community, our Buffs have offered their generosity, skills, supplies and expertise for others,” said Ryan Chreist (Kines’96, MPA’09), assistant vice chancellor and Alumni Association executive director. “Wherever we are in the world, these efforts are uniting us as a university and making a profound impact.”

Find out more about the Buffs Together campaign at

Photo by Glenn Asakawa (Top); Courtesy Moon Yin