Call them the Kennedys of the University of Colorado.
Identical twins Ellie and Lora Roberts, both seniors this year, are preparing for a second year of Robertses leading the student government on the Boulder campus.
As Ellie finished her term this spring as CU Student Government president of internal affairs, one of three student body presidents, her sister Lora was elected by her peers to the position for the 2014-2015 school year.
They've heard a lot names for their mini-dynasty.
"The Kennedys of CUSG," said Ellie, laughing.
"Dean (Steve) Leigh, who is the dean of arts and sciences, he called us the mafia the other day," Lora said. "Thank you Dean Leigh."
They both represent the UNITE party, so the issues they care about are largely similar.
But perhaps the biggest challenge the two have faced since they became active in student in government three years ago is differentiating themselves as individual leaders.
When they finally hear from friends and colleagues the magical words "I don't even think of you as twins anymore," they know they've made an impression as individuals.
"We have a lot of overlapping personality traits, but we also have different personality traits," Lora said. "Because we have different experiences, we lead differently."
Ellie played basketball for most of high school, and was one of the team's captains. Lora, on the other hand, wasn't as competitive in the hoops category but is a diehard Broncos fan. They both worked for their school newspaper in Littleton, but were editors of different sections.
While Lora prepares for a busy school year as a tri-executive, Ellie is interning with the "I Have A Dream" Foundation.
Their dad Michael Roberts, a journalist for Westword in Denver, is careful to characterize their differences — even as adults, their personalities are fluid, he said.
"Both of them are capable of doing anything and everything you want from a leader and if one of them is weaker in a certain area on a given day, the other one compensates," he said.
Being student body president for one year is usually enough at CU, because the job is so stressful, time-consuming and comes with the responsibility of a roughly $25 million budget.
Ellie said she has applied for several positions on executive staff, the team that supports the tri-executives, so she'll be around as a sounding board for sister Lora, should the need arise.
"It would've been neat to have had the former executives, not holding our hands obviously, but being there as a resource to say 'This is what we're facing. What do you think?'" said Marco Dorado, a tri-executive with Ellie last year. "At least the opportunity of that person you can go to when you're unsure."
One of the sisters' fondest memories is the night Ellie was elected last spring. With Lora as her chief-of-staff, the two learned the election results early. They snuck away to silently celebrate together while the rest of the UNITE party waited for election results.
"We jumped up and down and silently screamed," Ellie said, laughing. "And then we had to get our faces together and go upstairs like nothing had happened."
They were equally excited this spring when Lora won.
The plan now is for this year's leaders to continue working on issues around campus climate, which include improving relationships amongst students, faculty and administrators, increasing and encouraging all kinds of diversity on campus and making sure everyone feels included and proud to be a Buff.
There's no one solution, but Lora — with the support of her sister — and fellow executives Juedon Kebede and Chelsea Canada hope to make strides.
"How do we make students feel welcome on this campus and want to stay here?" she said. "And how do we make different students attracted to this school and how do we make it affordable so they come?
"That's a big mystery but working on different things associated with that is really what we're aiming for."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org