Published: Sept. 30, 2021

Get to Know is a series highlighting community through the unique perspectives, interests and involvements of our faculty and staff members at CU Boulder. In this issue, learn more about Taylor Stratton's corner of campus.

Taylor Stratton, center, getting ready to open the gate for Ralphie VI's inaugural run.

 Get to know Taylor Stratton, program manager for the Ralphie program


 Read other Get to Know Q&As

Without saying your title, describe who you serve on campus and what you do.

My job is to prioritize the health and safety of Ralphie and her handlers above all else. My assistant coach Colton Behr and I will always put that above everything else that is asked us of. Working with animals and students is incredibly rewarding and watching them grow and learn is an unparalleled experience. My whole job is to create situations where our team can be successful because they have developed the skills and confidence they need to through training to perform under pressure. For 54 years, Ralphie has transcended game days to become a symbol of CU that alumni and fans can rally behind—I'm biased, but I consider her to be the heart and soul that campus can rally behind and I spend my days making sure she has the top notch care and love that she deserves.

Beyond your unit, what is a campus group or effort you are involved in or want to highlight?

Student Philanthropy is a fantastic effort across campus, and it's being spearheaded by Sara Abdulla with the Herd Leadership Council as well as the Buff Club. The Ralphie Program is entirely fan funded and this year, the students who purchased a CU Sports Pass donated a portion of that purchase to Ralphie, and it made a huge difference to our program. I want to thank the students and let them know that every bit helps, so find something you're passionate about and give back!

What are you most proud of professionally or personally?

I really pride myself on being a person who acts with integrity in my personal and professional life. I focus on making the best of each day and recognizing, supporting and building up those around me who are putting out their best effort. So many things in today's world are out of our control and while at times it's difficult, I pride myself on focusing on the controllables, such as my personal attitude, the effort I put forth and the results that I'm able to achieve. I don't like to focus on single events or achievements, but instead focus on living a life as a good person.

What are your favorite spots or moments on campus?

My favorite place on campus is Folsom Field in the early morning when there is nobody else there. I've spent a lot of time doing workouts on those steps and when the sun is just coming up and hitting the Flatirons, there's no better place on campus. Game days are a great atmosphere also, but there's something special about being in a silent Folsom putting in the work!

What is your current office like?

I have two offices actually! One is located on the fifth floor of the Champions Center and I adore it—I'm surrounded by some of the best people in the world who are fantastic sports when I extrovertedly interrupt their work days to say hello and catch up. My second office is very special and where I'm lucky enough to spend time with Ralphie VI and Ralphie V (who is happily retired and doing well). I also spend a good amount of time in the Dal Ward weight room and running around town to get things such as feed and enrichment items for the buffalo.

What is the best-kept secret on campus?

Ralphie is a prestigious title for our favorite buffalo. Each buffalo has their own nickname they go by, depending on their unique personality, situation and characteristics. There will be an upcoming announcement regarding Ralphie VI’s name, so follow Ralphie on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook).