So I wanted to share with you a little more information about the University of Colorado (usually abbreviated as CU, or CU-Boulder) and the community of Boulder that it calls home. Boulder is a city of just over 100,000, located about 25 miles north of the state capital of Denver. Boulder offers a very intellectual environment, as reflected by Forbes Magazine, which in 2008 recently recognized Boulder as “America’s smartest city.” Similarly in 2011, US News and World Report put Boulder at the top of its list of “most educated US cities”. Boulder is also known for being a “green city”, and very environmentally-conscious. And of course most recently Boulder, and the state of Colorado, have been in the headlines for legalizing marijuana.
The University of Colorado-Boulder, founded in 1876, is the flagship school of the University of Colorado system. It is considered a “Public Ivy”, and is one of the leading universities in the western United States. It is a large and diverse school, with over 30,000 students, 35% of whom come from out of state, as well as a growing international community representing 95 different countries. Notable academic departments at CU include Aerospace engineering (17 astronauts have come from CU), Environmental engineering, physics, geology, and Environmental law.
However, Boulder, and by extension the CU campus, are places of considerable spiritual darkness. Consider a Gallup poll conducted in spring 2012 which revealed that while Montgomery ranked as the second most religious city in America, Boulder placed as the second least religious U.S. city, with a scant 17% of its residents describing themselves as “very religious”. Not surprisingly there is a well-organized atheist student group at CU as well as a prominent atheist organization in the Boulder community. Boulder is also a place where Eastern and New Age religions and philosophies have become increasingly popular. The city is home to Naropa University, a liberal arts college which is the first Buddhist-affiliated university in America. Boulder also features the Shambhala Meditation Center, a center for Buddhist practice and teaching. All around Boulder and the CU campus, Tibetan prayer flags are a common sight.
So it’s definitely a big mission field out there! And yet, as I will share with you in future posts, God has done some great work here in the past. Even during one of my recent visits, I saw evidence to suggest that there is more spiritual curiosity and openness on the CU campus than might be expected. More to come!!