The Colorado Creed originated in response to misleading ratings from the Princeton Review that portrayed aspects of CU's culture that did not represent the true climate on or off campus.
After the review rated CU the number one party school in the nation in 2003, a group of students quickly formed out of a desire to do something to inform the public that the CU they attended was not the CU in the media. These students engaged in a campaign to inform the public of the unscientific nature and invalidity of the Review's rankings, but they quickly realized a desire for something more. Rather than attack CU's adversaries, these students wanted to share their passion and love for their university with the world.
In the fall of 2004, the members of the group that had advocated against the Princeton Review the year before officially formed the Colorado Creed. The Creed is a code of conduct, a lifestyle, and a way of life. It is a response to the daily pressures that wear on a college student, as well as the exceptional circumstances that can unfortunately arise over the course of a year. The Creed is about taking responsibility for our actions, good and bad, and living by the tenets of respect, accountability, acceptance, honor, and integrity. Every single student, faculty, and staff member is a part of the Colorado Creed. The Creed, while not written down until 2004, has been part of CU's culture and spirit since 1876 when the university was founded.
The power of individuals is key to the success of the Creed. Every single person can make a difference. The Colorado Creed found its roots when a small group of students contacted the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and told him of their desire to make positive change on the campus culture and in the attitudes of the public. They wanted the world to know of the incredible opportunities and assets that CU possesses. CU's Nobel Laureates, the National Professor of the Year, world-class faculty and hundreds of student groups working to affect change slipped to the background in the midst of the party school rankings. These first students demanded a change, and took action to take back their university. They held meetings and forums, visited student groups, and gathered support from staff and administrators. They studied other creeds around the country, and over the course of a semester came up with the Colorado Creed you see today.
From the beginning, the Creed was never meant to be their vision for the campus; rather it was an articulation of what students thought their campus already was and could be. After securing an initial budget from the Office of the Chancellor, they made plaques with the text of the Creed on it, and hung them at the student union, the recreation center, Folsom Field, Coors Event Center, the library, and the University Club. They also got the key words of the Creed engravedin flagstones and installed them in the walkways around campus. Next, they turned to help out with diversity training at summer orientations for incoming students. In fact, the application essay for admission to CU is based wholly on the Creed. After meeting with the Athletic Director, they were able to have Creed Day at both a football and basketball game and hand out t-shirts with the Creed’s motto (“Live It!”) to promote awareness.
In 2013, the Colorado Creed adapted. The group became a consortium of student leaders from a variety of areas on campus including Greek Life, Residence Life, CU GOLD, and more. This group meets regularly to decide how to infuse the values of the Colorado Creed into events on campus as well as in the lives of students within the CU community. By promoting to students to “Live the Creed”, they are reminding people to act with integrity, honor, and respect.
The Colorado Creed's success is due to the passion of a few students and a sustained grassroots level movement by the entire campus and Boulder communities. It is from the students and for the students. Every school, fraternity, sorority, and athletic team lives by the tenets of the Creed. Though the Colorado Creed is specific to the University of Colorado, anybody can formulate their own creed and live by its ideals. We encourage you to have open discussions about how the ideals of the Creed affect your daily life and the community around you. Most importantly, remember to Live the Creed!
If you would like more information about the Colorado Creed, contact Kristen Salo (Kristen.Salo@colorado.edu).