32nd annual Cans Around the Oval begins at CSU

Matthew Bailey

It’s that time of the year again.

The 32nd annual Cans Around the Oval is officially underway at Colorado State University, offering students the chance to volunteer and collect food and monetary donations for the Food Bank of Larimer County.


Beginning with last week’s CANS Kick-Off Week, this Cans Around the Oval season offers events students can take part in during this Cans Around the Oval season include CANvassing, CANstruction and collection day events.

“This event is Larimer County’s largest single-day food drive and benefits the Food Bank for Larimer County,” wrote Sarah Stephens, the senior program coordinator of community engagement at the Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) Office, in an email to The Collegian.

Cans Around the Oval is a CSU tradition in which students, faculty and staff partner with community members, local media and area businesses to raise awareness about hunger and collect food and monetary donations, Stephens wrote.

Hunger and food insecurity, issues that not only impact a vast amount of people outside the CSU community, but within CSU itself, Stephens wrote.

“Approximately one in ten CSU students experience food insecurity,” Stephens wrote. “Thus, your participation in Cans Around the Oval can be felt throughout the county and close to home at CSU, as well.”

Last year, the fundraiser gathered 42,293 pounds of food and raised $56,349 in additional funds, resulting in a total impact of 324,038 pounds of nonperishable food items.

Stephens wrote that the primary goal for this year’s Cans Around the Oval season is to raise more monetary donations over cans or pounds of food, as monetary donations go further for the Food Bank and for anyone who relies on its services.

The goal is to raise $65,000 and receive 35,000 lbs. of food donations.

“Every dollar donated can be stretched into five dollars’ worth of food by the Food Bank for Larimer County,” Stephens wrote. “Ninety-six cents of every dollar goes right back to hunger relief programs in your community.”

CANS Kick-Off Week took place from Sept. 10-14 and offered students a chance to learn more about Cans Around the Oval and how to register, determine a neighborhood and acquire collection materials for CANvassing.


Anyone who is interested in taking part in Cans Around the Oval but was unable to stop by the SLiCE Office during the kick-off week can still do so up until collection day  on Oct. 17. 

In the meantime, students can start preparing the community for collection day through CANvassing, as well as CANstruction, Stephens wrote.

CANvassing offers students a chance to go door-to-door in assigned neighborhoods and spread awareness of Cans Around the Oval. Students will then return to their assigned neighborhoods to collect donations a few days after promotion.

“CANvassing can also occur at local grocery stores, too,” Stephens wrote. “Either way, it’s a method of collecting donations more externally beyond your student organization, friend group, family, staff, etc.”

During CANstruction Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Lory Student Center Plaza, students can build artistic structures out of cans with a CSU student group, office, group of friends or by themselves.

Students earn bonus pounds for participating in CANstruction, and winning groups will earn even more pounds, Stephens wrote.

Finally, the Cans Around the Oval collection and volunteering event takes place Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will line the edge of the Oval with donations.

During collection day, students and student groups can drop off collected items around the Oval, and students have the chance to volunteer and help SLiCE with the collection between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

SLiCE encourages anyone who would like to learn more about Cans Around the Oval, register or access an online monetary donation link to visit cans.colostate.edu.

Additionally, anyone who would like to volunteer on collection day or has any questions about how to get involved this season can contact the SLiCE Special Events Team at slice_community_programs@colostate.edu.

Matt Bailey can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @mattbailey760.