kristy holland

C ampus is abuzz right now, with enthusiasm and school pride are at its annual peak. So is the excitement about new relationships and a refreshed start at an old one -- romance potential is high in Buff country.

What better way to capitalize on both spirited fronts than to combine them? Think about it: If you can initiate (or cement) a lasting relationship with a fellow undergrad, you'll never have to argue about which football game to watch on ESPN, you'll actually know other people when you attend each other's alumni reunions, and you'll know exactly where to send your kids to college.

OK, maybe planning your children's future around a mascot is jumping the gun. But, the values that brought you to by CU, the shared experiences you'll have after four years spent on the Hill and equivalent education levels are all contributing factors to a successful relationship -- and something you have in common with 20,000 other coeds.

Plus, there are a couple of ways to capitalize on your CU-student-status that make meeting -- or entertaining -- on an undergraduate's budget more feasible.

The first such event is a big, old-fashioned parade -- the Pearl Street Stampede -- that moves west along the walking mall starting at 14th and ending with a mid-street performance at 11th an hour or so later. The mass of black-and-gold bedecked fans wiggle their spirit fingers as the Golden Buffalo marching band fills the air with fight-song energy that lasts until kickoff time on game-day. Look to lock eyes with the gal you've been drooling over at the crescendo of the fight song, just before the screaming commences.

The best way to attract the attention of one of the Buffs' unofficial cheerleading squad is to go all out yourself. Stop into T-Galaxy (1121 13th St.; cubuffshop.com) or Goldmine Vintage (1123 Pearl St.; goldminevintage.com) and pair an outrageous set of buffalo-inspired specs, a fuzzy hat in Ralphie's profile, or a sparkly CU T-shirt with some golden leggings from American Apparel ( 1130 Pearl St.; americanapparel.net) or a cape you score at Savers Thrift Store (695 S. Broadway Ave.; savers.com).

A second option for using your campus connection to your advantage is decidedly tamer -- and more practical. Maybe instead of playing pickup artists at a rally, you've already been making smooth moves on a girl you pass in the quad, or one who always sits near the window during class. Here's one less excuse for asking her out: the Student Discount Handbook (mysdh.com). The site offers coupons for CU students -- and anyone else who bothers to print them out -- at local restaurants. That $3 off coupon for Ben & Jerry's, 10 percent off at Illegal Pete's, or 10 percent off at Dish Gourmet (1918 Pearl St.; dishgourmet.com) will make it easier to invite your crush out even if you're on a tight budget.

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.