February 10, 2011
Transition to college life can be tough, but stuffed animals, soft blankets, and sundry trinkets are just some of the things students bring to campus to remind them of home.
Edgar Nieto, a first-year pre-veterinary student, lives in Braiden Hall with Bentley, a stuffed husky that reminds Nieto of his real dog, Lucky. Lucky, who stayed in Denver with Nieto’s parents, is a Havanese, a friendly and outgoing breed of dog.
Before coming to CSU, Nieto worked for six months at the Tender Touch Animal Hospital in Denver, and that helped make up his mind about vet school here. “I have other mementos from Tender Touch that remind me of the great people I worked with.”
Nieto is the first in his family to attend college, and he’s part of the Key Academic Community of students who live and study together in Braiden. He’s also been to Dog Lovers Group meetings for students on campus who miss their dogs back home or simply enjoy being around animals.
Nieto decided on CSU after looking at Cornell and universities in Colorado, Wyoming, and Glasgow, Scotland. His decision was easy: “CSU has the best vet school.”
Devin Larson, a psychology sophomore and Edgar Nieto’s roommate in Braiden, also attended Dog Lovers meetings. Larson left two dogs at home: Buffy the boxer and Bandit. “We don’t know what Bandit is,” he says. “He’s just a weirdly proportioned dog of unknown origins.”
Larson keeps photos of Bandit and Buffy on his corkboard. Both dogs are with Larson’s parents in Cedaredge, a small town perched on the southern slope of Grand Mesa.
Another memento doesn’t come from home. A poster of Ecuador is tacked on Larson’s dorm room wall, a reminder of a 10-day trip he took in 2008 with the Spanish Club at Cedaredge High School. The group went rafting, hiking, and horseback riding and visited Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve.
To take care of more serious business, Larson made his own spreadsheet to rank a handful of colleges before deciding on CSU, a place he’s calling a second home because, “It’s such an open and friendly place.”
This story first appeared in the Winter 2010-2011 issue of Colorado State Magazine.