SLiCE Engagement Programs:
Cans Around the Oval

Cans Around the Oval is a Colorado State University tradition, where students, faculty, and staff partner with community members, local media, and area businesses to raise awareness about the facts surrounding the issue of hunger, as well as raise food and monetary donations. This event is Larimer County’s Largest single-day Food Drive and benefits The Food Bank for Larimer County.

Results for Cans Around the Oval 2017


How You Can Get Involved with Cans Around the Oval


Participate in Cans Around the Oval by making a simple donation as an individual or enter into a competition! You can even participate as part of a group and challenge other CSU groups to see who can get the most donations!

Important Dates

Ready to do your part? Get organized for 2017 Cans Around the Oval. You can make a difference in the lives of thousands of Larimer County residents. Click here for important dates and times.

History of Cans

Did you know that Cans Around the Oval began as part of a student interview with the first Director of the Food Bank for Larimer County? Click here to learn more about this altruistic CSU tradition.

Raising Awareness About Hunger and Raising Money for Food

In 1986, a senior CSU PR student, interviewed Sandy Bowden, the founder and first Director of the Food Bank for Larimer County as part of a class assignment. In the interview, Sandy spun the idea of circling the Oval with canned food as a way to promote a campus food drive.  In her paper, the student coined the name “Cans Around the Oval.”
At the time of her graduation, the student handed the paper over to the ASCSU Community Services Office.  The Director read her short paper and agreed that it was a great idea.  CSU contacted the Food Bank and they decided to partner on the project. The first year, Fall of 1987, the event raised only enough food to circle the Oval one time by placing the cans about 1 foot apart!  Over the years, as the event grew, more and more cans were collected and the oval was circled with cans 3-4 times.
Since that time, Cans has grown in scope and impact, involving more groups and collecting more food each year. The Office for Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) now sponsors Cans Around the Oval.

Cans Around the Oval Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Participate?

  • CSU student groups
  • CSU student individuals
  • Student Organizations
  • CSU Departments, Offices, & Colleges
  • Greek Organizations
  • Residence Life
  • Community Schools
  • Fort Collins Community Businesses/Non-profits
  • Faith-Based Community Organizations

Do we have to compete to be a part of cans?

You do not have to enter a competition in order to participate in Cans Around the Oval!  If you simply wish to provide donations, you may do so at any time during the event.  We would appreciate it if you would still register, so you can be properly thanked for your participation.  You can drop off monetary and food donations at the SLiCE office throughout the event, or bring them all to the Oval any time during Collection Day.

The Cans Contest is provided for CSU students, faculty and staff, as well as local schools, businesses, and community groups to add an element of fun to this food drive.  This friendly competition has developed over the years as the food drive has grown.  Because of the popularity of the competition, we have developed a set of guidelines to ensure that all groups’ totals are properly counted and recorded.

How do I collect food and monetary donations?

  • Canvass your neighborhood (SLiCE will provide canvassing areas upon request), asking folks to contribute what they are able to provide.
    • The most effective way to Canvass is to leave a bag with a canvassing flier (provided by SLiCE) on every doorstep in your territory.  Decide upon a VERY SPECIFIC time to return, usually a few days will suffice, write that date on your canvassing fliers, then return and pick up the donation bags.  NEVER STUFF BAGS AND FLIERS IN MAILBOXES!  Leave them on doorknobs and porches where they are visible.
    • You can also use the direct approach.  Knock on doors and chat with your neighbors about Cans.  Give them the fliers and bags directly, and leave them on doors where no one is home.  Come back at a designated time to pick up donations.
  • Ask your family and friends to collect food and cash donations for your drive.  If they have any questions, refer them to SLiCE or the Food Bank for Larimer County
  • Put up a poster at your business or department.  Ask your colleagues and/or classmates to bring in donations at a designated time (by October 20th)
  • Find a business to sponsor your drive, either by matching all donations that your drive brings in, or by providing a one time donation of cans or cash.
  • Hold a fundraiser event on campus or off.
  • Simply give some food or cash by stopping by the SLiCE office anytime before Collection Day and leaving your donation there.
  • There are so many creative ways to collect donations, these are merely suggestions.  Do what you can to make the most of your drive and do it your way!

What is CANStruction?

CANStruction is a competition organized to raise food for Cans Around the Oval and raise awareness about food access and for the Food Bank for Larimer County.