Published: July 2, 2021

A Community, Changed
I just received the Spring 2021 issue of the Coloradan. Absolutely beautiful. And given this past week [March 22, 2021], it made me wonder how different the Summer issue will be. And it saddens me how long might be the pall that the tragic 2021 Boulder Massacre eventually casts.

Gregory Hinton (Bus’77)
Los Angeles 

Shelly MillerCOVID Restrictions for Wind Instruments? 

I am a retired nuclear/mechanical engineer living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am also an amateur musician (clarinet and saxophone). I was particularly interested in the “Aerosol Superstar” article in the Spring issue. In the picture at the top of the article, I noticed that Shelly Miller was placing a cover over the bell of a clarinet in order to minimize aerosol distribution when the instrument is played. I can see how a cover over the bell works on brass instruments (trumpets, trombones, French horns, tubas, etc.) as all of the air blown into the horn by the musician transfers through all the tubing of the instrument and exits at the bell. However, for woodwinds (clarinets, saxophones, flutes, bassoons, etc.), unless you are playing the lowest note on the horn (all finger holes and keys closed), the air blown into the horn by the musician comes out all the open key holes as well as the bell. It seems a person would need to put the whole instrument into a bag to keep the blown aerosols from dispersing into the room (especially for the high notes where most of the keyholes are open). 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all five of the bands and musical groups that I play in have been on hold since March of 2020, and I really miss playing. Therefore, I am really curious about how professor Miller was able to successfully mitigate the COVID risks for musical wind instrument performers at the university.  

David Dennison (MechEngr’73)
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Idyllic Buildings

I’m always impressed by the continuity of the design of new buildings on campus with the themes of the past with the “trademark sandstone brick, limestone trim and red clay roof tile.” 

How about a story on the unsung craftspeople that continue to build the new buildings and keep the tradition alive?

David Armstrong (Econ’68)
Thornton, Colorado

Coloradan Thoughts

I am always impressed by the breadth and substance of the subjects covered. Even though most don’t apply to me, I do find them interesting and informative. I like that this magazine is not just a “rah-rah” tool for CU. Despite this, it still instills pride in our university. I have always marveled at how much information you are able to gather on myself and my fellow alumni.

Joe Felice (Span’72)
Aurora, Colorado


I am a communications officer at The Colorado Health Foundation, and I work on our annual poll, Pulse. I got an alert about your March 18 article "How to Cope in a Pandemic." I plan to share it on our social media channels but saw that a correction is needed. In the article, it states: "The statistics back her up. A September 2020 survey from the Colorado Health Foundation found 77% of Coloradans reported anxiety, loneliness or stress related to COVID-19." In fact the percentage is actually 53% of Coloradans who have reported they experienced mental health strain, such as anxiety, loneliness or stress. You can see that in our interactive dashboard [with Pulse].

Austin Montoya

[Editor’s Note: We updated our online version with the correct statistics. We regret the error.]

Emirates Mars Mission

The following letter is in response to our March 31 online exclusive, “Everything You Need to Know About CU’s Involvement in the Emirates Mars Mission.” 

I really enjoyed that Mars article. I didn’t realize that it was a collaborative effort, or that CU was involved, let alone at that level. And so respectful to the Emiratis, really a professional grade article — it gave plenty of information for us to understand who was involved, what was contributed, what’s the background, what’s the accomplishment, etc.

Yousif Aluzri (MCDBio’15)

Isaiah headshot“My Time as CU Student Body President”

Following is an excerpt from Isaiah Chavous’ (PolSci’21) guest opinion essay in the Boulder Daily Camera, published May 20. Read the full essay at

I learned quite a lot in my senior year at the University of Colorado Boulder, but not all of it came from the classroom. I had the privilege to serve as student body president, which  provided me a frontrow seat to engage and observe during perhaps the most tumultuous year in CU history. 

Despite all odds, much was accomplished this year. Yet there is much still to do. 

The confluence of COVID and a civil rights reckoning had an impact on just about everything, not just at CU, but in society. 

Through it all, my fellow students and I received important lessons we can carry with us the rest of our lives. We learned how to adapt to dramatic shifts in how our education was delivered and how to be flexible. I suspect these skills will serve us extremely well in the future. 

We saw that we could transition to remote learning and developed an appreciation for faculty who had to do the same. It wasn’t optimal for anyone, but it worked. Students had to be creative and improvisational in how we fostered the “traditional” college experience so crucial to academic success and personal growth. Again, valuable lessons. 

Student government was particularly invested in focusing on student mental health. The isolation, uncertainty and fear the pandemic wrought led to a crush of need for mental health services. We worked with the administration to ramp up services and increase personnel, and to connect those with students in need. This effort must continue as the pandemic subsides. 

The racial reckoning that began with George Floyd’s murder was a significant focus this year, as well as a tremendous learning experience. Students engaged on the issue at unprecedented levels, and it remains at the forefront. We learned how to make our voices heard and how to work productively.

Isaiah Chavous (PolSci’21)
Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Letters edited for length and clarity.