Note to Reporters: Photos of the CSU’s new Denver Center are available with the news release at http://www.news.colostate.edu/. Media are invited to attend the grand opening on Aug. 4 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you are interested in interviews or photos, please contact Brad Bohlander at 970-491-1545.
Colorado State University has opened new doors in downtown Denver as part of a strategic effort to better serve and engage its 43,000 Denver-area alumni as well as the larger metro Denver community. CSU will host a grand opening for its new Denver center from 4:30-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at 475 17th St. Those who want to attend can register for the event at www.rams5280.colostate.edu. The event is free and open to the public.
Nearly two years ago, CSU began realigning existing staff and placing them in Denver to build a strategic, coordinated approach to Denver-area activities. Alumni, athletics, corporate relations, donor development, public relations and marketing representatives are helping lead this effort. This new effort joins CSU’s Executive MBA and Continuing Education, which have been offering courses in Denver for more than 20 years.
The collaboration, called the “Denver Initiative,” was created to forge a stronger connection with alumni and friends of the university who are in the Denver metropolitan area. The CSU staff in Denver helps connect CSU colleges, departments, faculty and students with opportunities in Denver for increased exposure, alumni engagement, donor development and corporate relations.
Strategically, the Denver metro area is home to more than 43,000 Colorado State alumni in the six counties. It also is the population center of Colorado and the hub for political, economic and media activities. Additionally, more than half of the state’s high school graduates come from the metro Denver area.
Denver alumni and friends are critical for building financial support for the university as well. In September, CSU launched its first-ever comprehensive campaign to seek other sources of funds outside of tuition and state money.
“Colorado State University and higher education depend on alumni and donor support to make a great education available to Colorado students,” said President Tony Frank. “With the large concentration of CSU students and graduates in the Denver metro area, it just makes sense for us to better target and focus our activities in Denver so that we can more fully engage with people who care about and want to connect with CSU.”
CSU isn’t taking anything for granted, and the team in Denver is exploring new opportunities to build relationships and engage alumni and businesses in the area. Before the creation of the Denver Initiative, CSU had not had a universitywide and consistent strategic plan for the metro area, which made it difficult to get area residents and businesses engaged.
The Denver Initiative has made a difference in the nearly two years it has existed at the CSU System offices. The new location, being called CSU’s Denver Center, is the newest vehicle to build a stronger presence in the metro area and to help serve educational and training needs of the overall Denver market.
CSU’s new center in Denver provides a competitive location with better visibility, street-level retail and space to host events and conduct educational courses. Alumni, athletics, Continuing Education, corporate relations, donor development and career services will be housed in the new location.
“By realigning existing staff and resources solely focused on Denver, we are already seeing a return,” said Brett Anderson, vice president for Advancement at CSU. “It may not all come in the form of increased donations – that comes with time and cultivation – but we have definitely increased our contacts and engagement with alumni, donors, corporations and the Denver community.”
The new space has classrooms for Continuing Education courses and it offers the alumni association and athletics space to host events, saving the university money as the alumni association has increased the number of events in Denver by more than 800 percent since last year (seven in FY2009; 66 in FY2010), with many of the events in downtown Denver.
According to CSU, the number of alumni attending events increased by more than 600 percent from the year before (1,137 in FY2009; 7,696 in FY2010). Donor visits were up by 200 percent over last year, and business leaders engaged in CSU increased by 300 percent from 2009. A top priority for the alumni association is to increase its volunteer base, which grew by more than 900 percent from last year.
Public affairs efforts included an increase in the number of industry events attended by CSU, most notably in business and sustainability areas. More faculty are also being encouraged to speak to Denver business organizations. As a result of these and other efforts, a recent Denver poll showed a 21 percent increase in a willingness to recommend CSU to students. The poll also showed a 27 percent increase in CSU’s top-of-mind awareness in the Denver metro area. Donations by Denver alumni increased by 4 percent over last year.
“We are not adding a new department but rather refocusing talent and resources to do more to build CSU’s presence, activities and connections in Denver,” Anderson said. “We’re extremely excited about the results we’ve seen thus far. We’re seeing a range of direct impacts from increased enrollment to faculty exposure to additional donations, all of which benefit the CSU community.”
For information on CSU’s activities in Denver, visit rams5280.colostate.edu.