by Amy Vaerewyck
Margo Meriggi knows that when she finishes her information systems homework, she can go climbing in the Rockies. How’s that for a study incentive?
While you’re studying, researching and learning at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, you can also take advantage of all that the nearby Rocky Mountains have to offer.
“There’s a lot to do right in Denver, but you also have quick, easy access to the mountains,” said Meriggi, a Houston native who transferred to the CU Denver Business School from CU Boulder. “I spend most of my weekends up in the mountains. Just hop on I-70.”
Make your friends jealous.
“Denver has all of the metropolitan and cultural benefits of a mid-sized city, but when you really need to escape to the wilderness, you can be well away from the city doing practically any outdoor activity that strikes your fancy in under a half hour,” said Stephen Palermo (pictured in slideshow photos above), a CU Denver undergrad majoring in philosophy
Palermo—who competes in rock climbing and placed third in the 2012 Teva Mountain Games—gets up to the mountains almost every day of the week.
“There’s a huge amount of climbing that’s all really close to the Denver area,” said Keith North, a mechanical engineering
major. He loves being able to go straight from class to the mountains, which makes him the envy of his friends in other areas of the country—even those in sunny California.
It’s the same for Meriggi: “My friends back in Texas are jealous that I get to go snowboarding all the time,” she said. “It’s my lifestyle. It’s pretty awesome.”
- Palermo’s Fave: Rocky Mountain National Park
- Close and Convenient: Clear Creek Canyon
- Climbing Variety: Estes Park Valley
- Fourteener: Mount Evans
- Weekend Hot-spot: Boulder’s Flatirons
- Longer Trip: Rifle Mountain Park
Meet people who love what you love.
“I find that CU Denver and the Auraria Campus have a very rad and motivated climbing community,” Palermo said.
In between classes, Meriggi goes to the rock-climbing wall at the Auraria Campus PER Event Center
, where she’s met a bunch of rock-climbing buddies. They practice at the climbing wall during the week and then head to the mountains together on the weekends. North has met most of his friends through rock-climbing, too.
“The strong, friendly and all-around amazing climbing community in Colorado is unmatched in the U.S. so far as I can tell,” Palermo said.
Become an even better student.
Most CU Denver students probably couldn’t imagine their college experience without the mountain wilderness and all the outdoor activities—camping, hiking, rafting, backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding and more.
“Having the ability to partake in wilderness activities has absolutely added to my experience at CU Denver,” Palermo said. “I've always been psyched on learning, but much more so on the outdoors. I find that being able to blend these two passions has made the college experience as good as I could hope.”
Many students use outdoor activities as a form of therapeutic stress relief.
“It takes your mind off things,” North said. “Any problems, you can just forget about them. It’s fun to look for some sort of adventure.
“The mountains are where I feel happy,” Meriggi said.