Colorado State University’s Football 101, a unique program designed to introduce international students to American college football and its many traditions, has been awarded a Gold Circle of Excellence Award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
CSU also won a Silver Circle of Excellence Award for its innovate publication “In Fact.” CSU was the only university or college in the state to be honored by CASE.
“We are truly honored to win these CASE awards,” said Tom Milligan, CSU’s vice president for external relations. “Football 101 is a truly remarkable program that has really helped us connect our international students with the great traditions associated with college football, and In Fact is a terrific publication that we are very proud of.”
Football 101, the brainchild of CSU alums Darshan Shah and Kaizer Cooper, combines resources in the Alumni Association, Athletics and International Programs to introduce football traditions such as tailgating and singing the CSU Fight Song to international students – most of whom have never seen a football game. More than 1,000 international students have participated in the program since its introduction in 2009.
“What makes Football 101 extra special is that it’s a product of several dedicated CSU alumni who identified a need and created an opportunity. In typical CSU fashion, they’ve rolled up their sleeves to make it a success,” said Colleen Meyer, executive director of CSU’s Alumni Association. “My favorite part of the event is teaching the CSU fight song to the students and exciting them about being a Ram.”
Last year, nearly 300 students – 25 percent of CSU’s international population – participated. The program has been such a success it was expanded this spring to include Basketball 101.
“I love teaching Football 101,” said senior associate athletic director Gary Ozzello, who has taught a class in football basics since the program’s inception. “Some of the kids have no clue about the game, but there are others who know more about football than me.
“My favorite part is when I show them the equipment. They are stunned by the weight and volume of it – particularly the helmet.”
CSU’s In Fact book took an old concept – a booklet with basic facts about enrollment, finances and other university facts and figures – and turned it on its ear. The new version includes photos, graphics and quotes from students and faculty that help bring the boring facts and figures to life.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education.