Published: Nov. 5, 2021 By

When Emerson Zamensky (EBio’22) graduates in May, she hopes to take some time off before pursuing a career in green technology. 

Her CU Boulder experience — especially her role as co-president of the Herd Leadership Council (HLC) — was one that helped her realize her dream. And while she’s still on campus, she wants to help connect her peers with the university.

“Our goal is to integrate all current students into the Forever Buffs family before they graduate,” she said.

A student becomes a Forever Buff — a student or alum of the university — the moment they step foot on campus. This makes student engagement with CU Boulder a top priority for the Alumni Association. And who better to reach students than their peers? This is why students like Zamensky become Forever Buffs student leaders on the Herd Leadership Council. 

This group is made up of passionate students connecting their peers to the Forever Buff journey through philanthropy, volunteerism, events and awareness opportunities. A few of their signature celebrations include the charity race Nearly Naked Mile, Fall Welcome and Spirit Days on the Quad.

“The goal of these celebrations is to really instill students with a sense of pride and belonging with the university,” said Sara Abdulla (EnvSt; Psych’13), the Alumni Association’s program manager of student outreach.

In addition to celebrations that benefit other students, they also work to develop leadership skills. They create student-focused programs — yoga classes, speakers from the Leeds Business School and lectures on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Another pillar of the HLC is its focus on philanthropy. In March 2020 and 2021, the HCL raised more than $3,000 from 77 individual donors through the Herd Mental Health Fund to support the Peer Wellness Coaching program, a free service available to CU Boulder students to help students set and achieve their wellness goals. Now, the group is focused on expanding their philanthropic efforts to engage more student organizations and individual student crowdfunders in 2022.

The group is a close-knit community bonded together by what they love — strengthening the CU community through engagement and philanthropy.

“We’re a very diverse group of people,” Zamensky said. “We’re all from different walks of life and we all have different majors, focuses and interests. But we all have something in common: We’re all very passionate about making a difference in our community.”

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Photo courtesy of the CU Boulder Alumni Association