INTRODUCTION While faculty votes to establish open access (OA) policies leverage one particular campus-level democratic mechanism in the name of advancing scholarly communication, other processes, including student government actions, can also play significant roles in OA policy adoption and related efforts. As early career researchers, graduate students are particularly well-poised to engage with campus-level democratic institutions in order to bring about change in scholarly communication. DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM This case study details a multi-year collaboration between librarians and graduate students at the University of Colorado Boulder aimed at the development and adoption of a campus OA policy. Librarians and graduate students worked together to plan for and sustain momentum throughout the process of building formal support for the policy through student government and faculty assembly resolutions, drafting policy language, and shepherding the proposed policy through numerous meetings and committees all the way up to and including its formal adoption. This collaboration through engaged citizenship at the campus level also led to a number of unintended benefits to both librarians and graduate students involved. NEXT STEPS AND CONCLUSIONS Ultimately, the CU Boulder collaboration between librarians and graduate students led to significant scholarly communication achievements largely through the utilization of campus-level democratic processes. The case study concludes with a look at next steps for implementing the OA policy across campus as well as a discussion of the labor involved in such efforts, including implications for graduate student involvement in scholarly communication initiatives.