Cans Around the Oval has 27th year

Video: CANstruction





For the 27th year, CSU students and the Fort Collins community is engaging in a food fight — a fight to see who can serve our community better.

Cans Around the Oval, a SLiCE-based program started by a student, allows students, faculty, business owners and community members to form a group to collect cans and donations, that will be donated to charity. Teams are judged by how many pounds of donations they produce.

Among the campus organizations involved in Cans Around the Oval are many fraternities and sororities who believe that Cans Around the Oval is important philanthropy that serves the community.

“We’re a community service frat, so we take pride in helping the community in any way we can,” said Kate Douglas, Alpha Phi Omega president and senior health and human sciences major. “Poverty is really surprising because as college students, we really don’t see it.”

Douglas said that her brothers especially enjoy CANstruction, the Oct. 9 event in the hockey rink where groups have the opportunity to create structures out of their collected cans. The fraternity canvasses neighborhoods to collect cans, but has realized in recent years that the further off campus they go, the more likely they are to receive donations.

“People in the community that aren’t students are much more willing to donate, unfortunately,” Douglas said.

Gamma Phi Beta member and sophomore journalism major Liz Donnelly said that she believes that Cans Around the Oval is particularly important this year, after the many natural disasters.


“This year it’s especially important, because of all of the flood relief,” Donnelly said. “As the greek community, we have so much, we have a support system, and so I think it’s important to give food back to those less fortunate.”

According to a study done by Feeding America, a national hunger-relief charity, 15.5 percent of the Colorado population and 21.9 percent of Colorado’s children are considered to be food insecure.

The United States Department of Agriculture identifies food insecurity as a “lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life … and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.”

In partnering with local relief organizations, Cans Around the Oval aims to combat this problem in and around Larimer County.

The Larimer County Food Bank is Cans Around the Oval’s primary donation recipient, according to Jenn Rieskamp, SLiCE programs coordinator.

This is not a contest for any sort of physical prize but serving the homeless and hungry populations in Larimer County is reward enough, according to Reiskamp.

“We’ll take all of the cans and all of the money collected, give the organization a receipt that says ‘This is what you brought in. Thanks, this is great,’ and then we record it … the following week, we will publish an ad in the paper to have their final totals,” Rieskamp said. “They get bragging rights, for sure.”

Collegian Reporter Ellie Mulder can be reached at

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Photos by Madison Brandt