Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam lined up a unique team-building exercise for her staff this year.
Instead of building towers out of decks of cards or falling backward into colleagues’ arms to inspire trust, she and her team rolled up their sleeves on Thursday to help University of Colorado Boulder students move into their residence halls before the start of the fall semester.
The City Manager's Office joined CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano's office and senior university administrators, faculty and staff, who also assisted students as they settled into their new digs in 24 residence halls.
Move-in week at CU Boulder is an annual tradition to welcome students into the Buff fold and help them feel more at ease on campus before classes start and they delve into the rigors of academics, from post-modern literature to biology, world history and college algebra. Naturally, the excitement of forging lifelong friendships, seeking unique paths toward academic success, and cheering on the Colorado Buffaloes will be part of the journey, too, and volunteers relish the sense of optimism, can-do spirit and great memories the experience creates for everyone.
“Hey, we get to have fun, too,” said Brautigam, who along with eight of her staff members spent several hours unloading suitcases, boxes, laptops and other critical undergraduate accoutrements from family cars, trucks and minivans. “We get to show up to work in jeans and they get the help they need. It’s a win-win situation.”
More than 7,000 students moved onto the CU Boulder campus this past week, including a freshman class the university expects to be slightly larger than last year’s class of 6,208 incoming students.
The university typically sees a 2 percent attrition rate through Sept. 1 as students confirm their enrollment status, and final student numbers will not be available until after the Sept. 9 census date, according to Katie Theiler, director of marketing and communications for the campus’s Housing and Dining Services office.
Under sunny summer skies over Kittredge Central on Thursday, Brautigam and her team were part of a cadre of volunteers who loaded carts with students’ belongings and helped them find their rooms so they could connect with roommates, residence hall advisors, and other faculty and staff tasked with untangling time-honored traditions from the riddles of life on a large college campus.
Aimee Kane, volunteer program and project manager for the city of Boulder, is a CU Boulder alumna, and said helping a new generation move onto campus was an uplifting experience.
“I wanted to welcome students," said Kane. "It sure is fun to meet families and students. It’s a good way to start off on the right foot and a fun opportunity for our staff to get together for this team effort."
Volunteers chatted with students and their families, welcoming them to the Boulder community. It was the first time the City Manager’s Office participated in the move-in ritual, though other city offices have helped in the past, including Boulder's Municipal Court staff.
Brautigam’s two children graduated from CU Boulder, and she still remembers moving them into their residence halls. She is grateful for how the university has streamlined the move-in process. Over the past few years, improvements have eased traffic congestion and addressed other logistical issues.
“I personally love CU," she said. "It provides a fabulous education to our students, and I want to show families that the city is welcoming their children to our community and that we hope they’ll be a wonderful contribution to the city of Boulder.”