The 3,000 students at Western Colorado University gain a combination of traditional liberal arts curricula and immersive practical experience. Western offers more than 100 areas of academic study in both undergraduate and graduate programs. New additions to Western’s offerings include the Rady School of Computer Science and Engineering and Blister Labs. Western’s proximity to epic skiing makes it the best school for skiers and snowboarders in some eyes, and the Mountain Sports program allows students to compete in their favorite outdoor sports while getting their degree.
The city of Gunnison is home to about 7,000 people. Located at an altitude of 7,703 feet, Gunnison is surrounded by public lands and opportunities to play outside. The Signal Peak trail system is next door to Western’s campus, and Hartman Rocks is just a few minutes from town. Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Gunnison River are also close by. Gunnison County’s location within two million acres of public lands equals easy access to mountain biking, hiking, fishing and hunting. Thirty miles north via free bus or car, Crested Butte is home to a world-class ski area and even more outdoor recreation.
Western Colorado University is home to the ICELab, an organization devoted to diversifying the Valley’s economy and helping small businesses succeed. The ICELab offers a coworking and study space, private office spaces, conference rooms and a coffee shop. It is a hub for the Gunnison Valley’s startup and small business community. Its location in Escalante Terrace on the Western campus makes the ICELab an ideal fusion point for local businesses and students.
Along with an infusion of students to the valley come intellectual initiatives. Faculty, staff and student groups bring visiting speakers, filmmakers, poets, scientists and politicians to campus. That’s on top of concerts and movie screenings. Many of the events are free and open to the public. Community members can tap into Western’s academic offerings as well by signing up for courses or enrolling in extended studies.
The university’s Field House is also available for community use. The facility includes an indoor track, cardio and weight room, an aquatics center, spin studio, climbing wall and more.