It was said in jest with sincere gratitude: Audrey Snyder doesn’t want Colorado State University to know that they could have doubled her tuition bill.
That’s how much she values her education from CSU’s College of Business as part of the Impact MBA program, a graduate degree that empowers students to use business to create a better world.
“My tuition did not even match that value that I got from our international students and the forward-thinking in the classroom,” she says.
In her time at CSU, Snyder and her cohort have launched two startups focusing on improving ways people get food.
The Fort Collins Delivery Network, a Fort Collins-based 501(c)3 nonprofit, launched in March as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has helped hundreds at-risk individuals obtain essential items through the delivery of food, medicine and other essential supplies by 70-plus volunteers.
The latest venture, ReKaivery, provides an e-commerce platform that connects local farmers with local commercial kitchens to promote more local, sustainable food networks. The startup’s name stems from a play on the words “recovery” and “kai,” which means food or meal in the Polynesian language of Māori.
“I’m really proud to be a CSU Ram because sustainability is so important in me,” says Snyder, who is quick to note the startups’ successes were a team effort. “The fact that CSU has that in their values is why I chose CSU.”
Before CSU, Snyder was an emergency room technician in Vail, Colorado, looking to make more of a difference.
“Health care is such a rewarding job, and you make an impact every day,” she says. “However, you don’t make long-term impact. While the job was so rewarding to be with patients in critical moments, I wanted to do more with the long-term impact and protect what we have today for tomorrow. It was hard to work in an industry that performs on a single-waste system.”
Instructor Gracie Wright, who teaches entrepreneurship and social and sustainable venturing, witnessed Snyder’s caring spirit in the classroom, calling her smart, ambitious and inquisitive.
Wright explains that she was struck by the way Snyder and her classmates (Emma McKay, Marya Skotte, Francie Saunders, Reid Anderson, and Gerardo Aguilera-Navarrette) sprung to action in the midst of the pandemic to create the Fort Collins Delivery Network.
“When scary things happen, some people freeze, but not Audrey,” Wright says. “She made sure to use her talents, her resources, and her network to help others. She is a living lesson in generosity, creative action and courage.”
As for what’s next, Snyder and her partner Natasha Lloyd will be fulling invested into launching ReKaivery’s business model along the Front Range region. Come June 2021, they hope their proof-of-concept with gain them admission into an incubator to help develop the startup’s technology even more.
But before Snyder leaves CSU, she has a little bit of advice for those looking to create a better world.
“Business can be and should be for good,” she says. “The Impact MBA program made me realize that we can shape our planet, our society, down to the very person.”