The University of Eastern Colorado is one of the many locations that Joel and Ellie travel to during their journey across the United States in The Last of Us. It was formerly the Fireflies' base of operations before they fled to Salt Lake City in Utah.
The outbreak struck around homecoming week, as evidenced by several banners around campus. Almost all of the university's population died or became infected. Some students managed to hold out for almost eleven months. They built barricades to keep the infected out, scrounged what little food was left, and even kept a radio working in order to get news from the outside world, but around ten months later, batteries became scarce. Eventually, some gave up hope of being rescued and left to scavenge for supplies in the nearby city of Boulder. Many years later, Joel found one student's journal and learned of the events there.
Some years later, the Fireflies set up their base of operations in the science building of the campus. Beginning in late August, they transferred a lot of their equipment from the hospital in Salt Lake City to the university over the next seven months. However, they left after a scientist was bitten by an infected lab monkey and spread the infection throughout the campus. The second outbreak must have happened a while before Joel and Ellie found the place, as one of the infected had the time to turn into a bloater.
Events of The Last of Us
- Main article: The University
When Joel and Ellie arrive at the university, they're immediately suspicious about the campus, as it is too quiet and desolate to be occupied. Joel leaves Ellie to wait with Callus as he goes around the campus, starting up generators, so that they may make their way through gates and other obstacles. Once the duo reaches the science building, they discover that the Fireflies have moved once more to St. Mary's Hospital, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. As they make their way back to Callus, multiple assailants arrive and attack them. Joel ends up being seriously wounded on a piece of jagged rebar, leaving Ellie to guide them both to safety. They make it out, fleeing the university on Callus.
- The school's mascot was the bighorn sheep. This is also the mascot for Colorado State University in real life. The school's colors (green and gold) are also borrowed from CSU.
- According to the campus map, the school is in Boulder, Colorado. In real life, Boulder is actually where the University of Colorado is located.
- Despite being located in North America and Joel discussing American football with Ellie, the goalposts on the football field are the type used for rugby, not American football. If they are, they resemble those from a high school football field and not college.
- In the 2016 video game the player character Henry may come across a "University of Eastern Colorado" sweater in one of the many scattered Supply Caches. This is likely a reference to the UEC from The Last of Us, as the sweater bears the bighorn mascot and is green with gold lettering. Henry then asks another character, Delilah, why someone would make the place up and put it on a sweatshirt. Later, Delilah references a region called "The Bighorns."
- The monkeys are the only species of animal confirmed to be infected.