Not only did Boulder County’s Fourmile Fire destroy more homes than any fire in Colorado history, it threatened scholarships for 100 students at the University of Colorado.
That’s because the fire forced the cancellation of the annual Buffalo Bicycle Classic, which is the single largest source of scholarships in CU’s College of Arts and Sciences.
But thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors and riders — most of whom donated their registration and sponsorship dollars — the event that didn’t occur still raised $200,000 for scholarships, which is more than 80 percent of the event’s goal this year.
Elevations Credit Union, the ride’s title sponsor, gave an additional $25,000 to support the scholarship fund and to encourage riders to donate their registration fees instead of seeking refunds.
Almost every other sponsor followed Elevation’s lead and also left their financial support intact. Additionally, about 75 percent of registered riders donated their fees for scholarships, and some individuals not registered to ride even donated to the cause after the ride’s cancellation.
Todd Gleeson, dean of arts and sciences and one of the event’s founders, expressed relief.
“Had the ride occurred, we were hoping for $225,000 to $250,000, so $200,000 is pretty darned good for a non-event!” This year’s Buffalo Bicycle Classic was scheduled for Sept. 12. As the Fourmile Fire raged, Boulder County and the event’s organizers worried that riders might impede the access of emergency crews to the Fourmile Fire and breathe very smoky air. They were also concerned about already-overtaxed lawenforcement officials who would be asked to monitor the event.
CU first to gain environmental gold
The University of Colorado at Boulder is the first in the nation to rank “gold” for its environmental leadership through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Ratings System, or STARS.
STARS is a self-reporting method developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. It provides colleges and universities a common set of measurements for gauging progress toward sustainability. Since its launch in January 2010, 234 schools have registered with STARS.
CU-Boulder was rated high in all three categories of the STARS assessment, including operations, education and research, and planning, administration and engagement.
“Even with our growing campus, we are on track to meet the aggressive 2012 conservation goals outlined in the governor’s executive order,” said campus conservation officer Moe Tabrizi. “STARS has helped us pinpoint necessary work, benchmarks and improve our performance going forward.”
STARS also functions to better inform the many rankings, grades and opinions offered each year by various magazines and organizations.
“Our STARS gold rating is based on credible, transparent data that documents CU’s leadership and dedication to sustainability,” said Dave Newport, CU Environmental Center director and STARS team leader. “We look forward to the near future when all organizations use STARS to guide their efforts and benchmark with peers.”
Other universities currently collecting data to submit for a STARS assessment include Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Emory, Rice and UCLA.
To view a list of STARS registrants, available reports and confirmed ratings, visit https://stars.aashe.org/institutions.