School is Cool marks three decades of helping PSD students succeed

School Is Cool volunteers packing backpacks

CSU volunteers stuffed nearly 3,000 backpacks full of supplies for students in need in the Poudre School district last year, while observing public health guidelines for social distancing and masking to slow the spread of COVID-19. Photo by John Eisele, CSU Photography.

August will be an exciting month on the Colorado State University campus. Not only will faculty, students and staff be returning to in-person teaching, learning and working after nearly 18 months of remote operations, but one of the University’s signature outreach programs will embark on its 30th year of service.

School is Cool has been providing backpacks and high-quality school supplies to students in need in the Poudre School District since 1991.

Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program provided more than 2,800 backpacks full of donated classroom supplies to elementary, middle and high school schools throughout the district. That brings the total number of backpacks stuffed and delivered entirely by volunteers over the years to more than 50,000.

Colleen Rodriguez, assistant director of Creative Services, and Connie Schimmels, interim chief of staff for University Communications, are co-chairing the School is Cool committee this year.

“We are so proud of the impact School Is Cool has been able to make on our local students over the past 30 years,” they said. “This program exists because of the generous support of the CSU campus and surrounding community. We could not do what we do without the collective efforts of many who stand alongside of us to ensure that students in our community can start the school year off on a path of academic excellence.”

Give your time, treasure

Funding for School is Cool has always come from the community. The Bohemian Foundation and the CSU Bookstore are major sponsors, but the greatest support comes from the CSU community – faculty and staff, alumni, students and donors.

A donation of just $25 purchases a backpack and the supplies to fill it. Donating online is easy. 

And it’s not too early to sign up to volunteer some time to stuff those backpacks full of the tools for classroom success. Volunteers are needed all day in 222 Johnson Hall on Aug. 4 for stuffing, and on Aug. 5 for delivery to schools in two-hour shifts. This is a great team-building opportunity for CSU offices and units that are returning to campus from working remotely, as well as a meaningful way to support the local community.

The online volunteer signup portal is now open.