Program Details: Open to the public

Center of the American West

The Center of the American West, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is one of the region's most creative and innovative organizations in identifying and addressing such crucial issues as multiculturalism, community building, fire policy, and land, water, and energy use. The Center brings together, for meaningful conversation and interaction, people as diverse as the American West itself. To understand the region, the Center believes that the exploration of the minds of its residents is as important as the inquiry into the workings of its cultures and ecosystems. Enterprising and inclusive in its embrace of a wide range of disciplines and strategies of communication, the Center strives to illuminate the challenges and opportunities facing this complicated geographic and cultural area. Ultimately, they want to help citizens of the West become agents of sustainability, citizens who recognize that their actions determine the region's future and who find satisfaction and purpose in that recognition.

The Center is associated with faculty from departments across the university, drawing, as appropriate, on a wide range of disciplines including: English, Philosophy, Fine Arts, Religious Studies, History, Film Studies, Theater and Dance, Linguistics, Ethnic Studies, Women Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, Geography, Sociology, Environmental Studies, Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Law, Music, Business, Journalism, Education, the Museum, and the Library. We believe that the practitioners of these disciplines and the residents of this region share many loyalties and goals.

The Center annually produces 30 to 40 public events on a multitude of Western topics. The Center has hosted great Western thinkers such as Wallace Stegner, Richard Rodriguez, Senator Alan Simpson, Terry Tempest Williams, Daniel Kemmis, Wes Jackson, Rudolfo Anaya, John Nichols, Sherman Alexie, and Annie Proulx. In addition, the Center has hosted conferences on Western issues such as tourism, the role of scientists in shaping the future of the West, the relationship between race and environmental issues, the region's boom and bust economy, wildfire in the West, noise issues in the National Parks, the Nuclear West, and how Western music has shaped our regional culture. Several of these conferences have given rise to more in-depth reports focused on critical Western issues.

The Center is an outreach program that works to bring people together through the examination of issues facing the west with a dose of good humor. About six events per year are hosted on the CU-Boulder campus. These events are coupled with an academic arm in which Center of the American West offers internships, scholarships, and contests for students. The research examined challenges in the American West to find solutions that can work for everyone.

The Center of the American West serves students, Boulder residents, and anyone interested in the American West.

More information can be found at the website.

This is a public program and there is no fee to attend. For more information, please visit the program website.


On Campus

  • Macky Auditorium

In Colorado

  • Aspen
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver
  • Fort Collins
  • Golden
  • Longmont
  • Loveland
  • Vail

Program Contact

Kurt Gutjahr
Center of the American West

Program Categories


  • Art History
  • Community Planning
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Fine Arts
  • Govt./Law/Public Policy
  • History
  • Journalism/Media
  • Reading and Writing
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  • Sustainability and Energy
  • Technology

Program Types:

  • Community Development
  • Film Series
  • Public Lecture/Demonstration
  • Public Performance
  • Publications
  • Workshop


  • Adult Learners
  • Alumni/Parents/Friends
  • Families
  • General Public
  • Government
  • Media
  • Minority Group(s)
  • Non-Profit Organization
  • Rural Communities
  • Senior Citizens
  • Socio-Economic Disadvantaged
  • Urban Communities

We do our best to accurately represent CU Boulder’s outreach programs and services, but they are subject to change and may no longer be active in a community. Please contact the program directly for current information.