Published: April 28, 2023

Julia Rodriguez collageJulia Rodriguez, an architecture major from the San Francisco Bay Area, considers finding her community at CU Boulder as one of her greatest experiences at ENVD. 

Julia RodriguesThank you for making the past four years so memorable. We started off with in person studios together, we experienced online classes together, some of us studied abroad together, and now we get to graduate together.

Where are you from? 
San Francisco Bay Area 

Tell us about your involvement and/or student leadership roles in and/or outside of ENVD. 
Throughout my time at Environmental Design, I served as the Executive Chair of the Environmental Design Diverse Scholars, Co-President of the American Institute of Architecture Students CU Boulder Chapter, and an ENVD First Year Experience Mentor. I spent two years working for the ENVD Marketing and Communications department where I got to design, film, and photograph content for the ENVD Program. Outside of ENVD, I got to serve as a CU Boulder Journey Leader, where I had the chance to give campus tours, speak at first year student orientation events, and host buff meetups. My involvement these past four years made my college experience so special! 

What inspired you to come to ENVD when choosing your school? 
I felt inspired to come to ENVD after learning all about the interdisciplinary approach. I loved that I would have the chance to take studios in architecture but also landscape architecture, urban planning, and product design. I felt like this would help me understand and appreciate all aspects of design, and even learn how to work with all kinds of designers in the future. 

What is one of the greatest experiences or lessons from your time at CU Boulder that you'll carry with you into the next chapter of your life? 
One of the greatest experiences from my time at CU Boulder has definitely been finding my community. Moving out of state and starting a new chapter of my life was exciting and intimidating all at once, but I quickly found people on campus that welcomed me, inspired me, and motivated me. Having people that brought out the best version of myself was by far one of my favorite experiences, and I plan to continue seeking those people out in the next chapter of my life. 

Based on what you know now, what is your best piece of advice for other students? 
My piece of advice for other students is to try out everything! Join the club, take the elective, do the semester abroad; you will learn so much about yourself. I found some of my closest friends and made some of my favorite memories through all kinds of experiences: ENVD student groups, different electives, and spending a semester in Barcelona, Spain. 

Describe one of your favorite memories. 
One of my favorite memories from Environmental Design is definitely in 2019, when we spent all of our time in the first year basement studios. One night, we were finishing our models together when I looked outside and noticed the sun was starting to rise. Somehow we worked all night, and while we were all feeling a bit delirious, one by one we started finishing our models and we were all just ecstatic. My friend and I would have to wait for the buff bus when it started to run again in the morning! We probably looked funny wandering out of the basement of ENVD with drawings tubes, tool boxes, and modeling materials. Even with those long nights, I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything. 

If you could say anything to your classmates what would you say? 
If I could say anything to all of my classmates, I’d say thank you for making the past four years so memorable. We started off with in person studios together, we experienced online classes together, some of us studied abroad together, and now we get to graduate together. This ENVD community has been so special and I feel super grateful for my peers. 

What does graduating from college represent for you? 
Graduating from college represents so many things to me. Firstly, it's the celebration of years of hard work. It’s also a representation of my family, who has worked extremely hard to support me in this process. My father immigrated to the United States for a better future, and he and my mother have given my sister and I exactly that. Lastly, graduating from college represents a chapter of my life ending. It’s a bittersweet experience, but I’m beyond excited for what’s next, and I know I’ll never forget my time at CU Boulder. 

What are your plans beyond graduation? 
Beyond graduation, I look forward to practicing architecture! I’d love to work on a variety of projects, participate in design build work, and continue to work with social justice groups in design. In the distant future, I see myself going to graduate school, becoming licensed, starting a firm, and possibly teaching at an architecture school one day.