On April 9-13th, the University of Colorado at Boulder will begin their annual Conference on World Affairs (CWA).
Every year, speakers, visionaries, and generally ballin’ individuals come from around the world to offer their knowledge through free talks and seminars within the city limits of Boulder. This year will be the 70th occurrence of the program, with community individuals— that is, those who actually know what’s going on in their community— looking forward to a legendary year. The CWA prides itself on being free to the public, as well as actively prioritizing student attendance and participation.
They’ve even invited Aly Raisman, US Olympic gold medalist, to the program as the keynote speaker for this year’s event. They hope that it will change the fact that, ,70 years later, the majority of the CU population still doesn’t quite know what the hell the Conference on World Affairs is.
“I always thought it was a carnival celebrating polygamy across the world,” comments a CU sophomore. “CU has always been forward thinking and edgy, so it didn’t strike me as anything different. A celebration of a strange and kinda messed up way of life? Why not. Now that I know what it actually is, it makes a lot more sense… it actually sounds kind of better than that first thing.”
The University of Colorado tends to advertise the CWA with still frame photographs of diverse groups walking down Norlin Quad or emails that say “the special week is approaching.” Many students at CU think the CWA is something you have to subscribe to, do homework for, or even worse: pay for. Some of the skateboarding freshman near Farrand thought it may have been a method of punishment for the thousands of kids at CU that get MIP’d, but were relieved to find out it wasn’t so, and went back to drinking their Four Lokos.
“We’re aware that the the CWA may not always be communicated effectively,” says one of the coordinators for the event. “There are always those students who waltz into the Glenn Miller Ballroom because they think there’s a housing fair or something, and they want free pizza. Once they catch onto the fact that the event is educational, they turn around, still searching for free pizza. We’ve considered including free pizza in the event schedule, but there has to be some other way to intrigue students that isn’t through free pizza… right? Please help us.”
While the coordinators look for other ways to intrigue students, it seems maybe they might be onto something by inviting well-known speakers to attend the event. “Once Aly Raisman was announced as the keynote speaker, I started to think that maybe the event wasn’t all about polygamy,” says the same CU sophomore. “She’s pretty famous, and it seems like you might not be able to be a polygamist and be in the Olympics, so maybe I should do more research about what exactly this event is.”
While students around CU ponder what hell the Conference on World Affairs actually is, the committee and University continue to prepare for one of the largest events CU has to offer to its community. The board member we had talked to mentioned her hopes that Raisman will get more students to pay attention to the CWA; however, they have been preoccupied regarding multi-generational Mormon families seeking religious freedom on Norlin Quad during the same time.