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Partnering for Success

September 10, 2021
people watching a movie on a football field
Cowboy Summer Movie Series. (Image courtesy of UniWyo)

UW Athletics and UniWyo Federal Credit Union come together to support students, sports and the entire state. 

By Micaela Myers 

It’s not University of Wyoming Director of Athletics Tom Burman’s typical role, but last summer, there he was reading a children’s book on Facebook live—delighting little ones across the country. The weekly Little Pokes Story Time featured a host of coaches and others from Athletics giving tired parents a healthy distraction for their kids during the pandemic. Each book was signed and mailed to a lucky winner. This is just one example of the many ways UW’s partnership with UniWyo Federal Credit Union benefits the community of Wyoming and beyond.

Started by nine UW employees back in 1953, UniWyo maintains branches in Laramie—on and off campus—and Cheyenne, and many former students keep their accounts well after they graduate. UniWyo is the financial wellness sponsor for UW and offers many services to all students, including financial wellness. In the past decade, it has also developed strong support for athletics, which must generate 50 percent of its own revenue.

“UniWyo is the exclusive credit union of UW Athletics,” says UniWyo Vice President of Marketing Mindy Uitterdyk. “We feel it supports our entire state because we’re all proud of our only four-year university and that we can rally behind our Cowboys and Cowgirls. Whether a student is an athlete or not, we really try to support the university as a whole, and athletics is a great way to do that.”

Burman says that the partnership is invaluable—from programming for students and the state to marketing and financial support. While other universities had to drop sports during the pandemic, UW prevented this with the support of partners such as UniWyo.

UniWyo provides workshops, lectures and services to all students, and it also tailors financial wellness programming for athletes as part of Excellence at 7220.

“In our leadership development programming for our first- and second-year students, we do everything from basic financial planning to how to deal with college debt and how to handle a lease agreement,” Burman says. “UniWyo has been very helpful in teaching classes and mentoring our young people.”

Uitterdyk says, “We’re trying to help create well-rounded individuals in the presentations we’re giving. We talk about budgeting, credit, and tips and tricks to help our college students be more prepared not only during their college journey but also after they graduate.”

The partnership reaches well beyond the university to give back to the community. In addition to the story hour and similar outreach in schools across the state, UniWyo sponsors three movie nights in War Memorial Stadium each summer in non-pandemic years. The events are free, and credit union staff are there to hand out drinks and popcorn. Attendees also enter to win fun prizes. Last summer, UniWyo sponsored a drive-in movie.

The partnership is emblazened across the UniWyo Sports Complex, and each year the credit union hosts a massive member appreciation event inside the practice facility—welcoming thousands of members for a free dinner and entertainment, including interacting with Pistol Pete and the UW Spirit Squad. You’ll also find the cheerleaders and Pistol Pete at annual branch events, where community members get a framed photo with the crew.

“We collaborate together to come up with new ideas,” Uitterdyk says. “Athletics has been such an amazing partnership for us. We take such pride in that partnership.”

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