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Does Greeley Stink? Growing Up in a Town Everyone Else Hates

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

One of the jobs I have is to give tours of the CU business school to prospective students. At the beginning of each tour, I introduce myself, say what I’m involved in at CU, along with whether I’m an in-state or out-of-state student. 

I make the same joke every single time: “Greeley is known for their cows, fields, and oil. And yes, I’m so glad to get out of there.”

By now the joke is a force of habit; I have the same script I say in my head every time that leaving this part out would just mess up my whole tour routine. However, the more I reflect on it, I wonder if I’m just perpetuating a worse stereotype on the town I grew up in my entire life.

I’m not lying when I say that Greeley is in fact known for their cows, fields, and oil. The town is also known for worse slander: that Greeley smells like cow poop. Let me just debunk this right now, that smell isn’t manure specifically, but rather it’s a mix of smells from the JBS headquarters. JBS is the world’s largest meat packing plant; one of its locations is on the East side of town. I was also told that the smell was specifically the boiling of cow blood, and I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than poop.

Almost everyone from Colorado knows Greeley, and often it’s not perceived in a positive light. Those who didn’t grow up in the town only know our negative stereotypes, and many of those who do grow up here have a simple urge: to get out.

To be honest, I was never the greatest fan of growing up in Greeley either. I went to the same K-12 school for thirteen years and only had friends from that school. There wasn’t much to do on the weekends unless you wanted to get food or see a movie in our mall that was falling apart. Though Greeley is a college town to the University of Northern Colorado, I lived on the other side of town and didn’t experience any college town ‘vibes.’ 

When senior year of high school came around, I only applied to three schools: Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), and CU Boulder. Although I technically gave myself the option of all three, I knew that I wasn’t going to go to UNC since I had been wanting to move out for years. Getting to go to Boulder was such a fresh start while still being close to my parents in Greeley, only about an hour away. 

As I’m approaching my senior year of college, I get to reflect back on my childhood experiences and find the root reason for disliking Greeley, and wanting to leave. 

I don’t think I ever disliked Greeley itself, rather the lack of opportunity there. As soon as I knew that I wanted to do something with corporate business or writing in high school, they were both careers that would require moving into a bigger town or city. As a kid, you are always wanting something to do and once you’ve done it all, you get bored. I definitely experienced this as well.

Now that I’ve had some space away, I love going back. I’m not sure if I just like visiting my parents, seeing the new changes to the city or having that nostalgic childhood feel, but I don’t feel any of that Greeley ‘hate’ that I did growing up. I do find myself defending the town more when random college students speak poorly of the town, but that usually just turns into someone speaking poorly about me (like I was given a choice on where I lived? Their logic is flawed). 

Long story short, Greeley does sometimes stink, though it only lasts for a few moments, both literally and figuratively. I don’t regret growing up there, as it was definitely a safe environment and I made my friends for life at that K-12 school. Even now when my friends and I come back, there’s still nothing to do, but it just gives us more time to catch up with each other over ice cream and walk through Target.

I don’t plan on living in Greeley again, but it will always have a special place in my heart. 

Anna Bedell

CU Boulder '25

Anna Bedell is the social media director at the Her Campus, CU Boulder chapter. She writes content mainly on entertainment and culture, along with personal essays and experiences. A junior at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Anna is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in journalism. She’s recently studied abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy for the fall semester. An involved student in the business school, Anna writes for the school’s marketing department, is a representative for the Leeds Student Government, and works as a Leeds Student Ambassador. Outside of school, you’ll find Anna rock climbing, watching movies, writing, or traveling around. She’s sure to constantly update her Spotify profile and will never miss an opportunity to talk about her cat, Biscuit.