Magazine Feature / People

Scholars’ Network connects students, businesses

The Scholars’ Network, designed to connect higher ed students with local businesses and government agencies, started in 2004 as a DU Pioneer Leadership Program community change project.

Scholars’ Network President Christopher Dirgo came up with the idea for an organization that capitalizes on students’ economical impact. Last year, the network received nonprofit status.

“In Colorado there are 340,000 registered students in higher ed,” says Dirgo, BA ’06. “In examining this community, I realized the impact and influence that students have. We’re providing a collective voice and representative body for students.”

The University of Denver is one of 13 institutions that hold membership within the network. Mary Wadle, a recent Colorado State University graduate, represents her alma mater.

“It helps students hear from other people and learn from their experiences, either positive or negative,” Wadle says.

Paul Kosempel, director of alumni career information at DU, advised the organizers when it was a Pioneers Leadership Project and now serves on the network’s board.

“It gives the students the chance to share best practices and have a collective voice,” Kosempel says, adding that Dirgo and marketing major Elisabeth Myers, the organization’s executive director, are bringing a tremendous amount of energy to the organization.

Dirgo says the network is mostly student-run because students know best how to work with and advocate for students. The network’s Web site provides centralized information about schools and events. Dirgo says the site,, will expand to host forums and provide a statewide event calendar; a marketplace for jobs, internships and goods; and a gallery where students can exchange work and do peer editing.

Student interns maintain the site, earning college credit and pay while they’re learning about Web design. The network is funded primarily through businesses partnerships. Along with ads, Dirgo says businesses will provide Web content such as financial tips for students. Corporate sponsors are eager to support the network in exchange for reaching busy college students.

“A lot of these businesses don’t even know what is,” Dirgo says.

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