Skip to main content Skip to main content

CANtastic

MSU Denver hosts a Super-Bowl-themed art installation to raise awareness about hunger and collect canned food donations.

February 8, 2016

A couch made from 3,500 cans of food will be on display in the SSB through Friday, Feb. 12. PHOTO: Sara Hertwig
A couch made from 3,500 cans of food will be on display in the SSB through Friday, Feb. 12. PHOTO: Sara Hertwig

There’s a new addition to the ground floor of the Student Success Building – a S(o)uper Bowl couch made entirely from cans of food. The unique art installation, comprised of 3,500 cans, was intended to raise awareness about hunger in the community in the run up to the big game.

The couch was assembled on Friday, Feb. 5, by middle school students from Denver’s STEM Launch School and served as the centerpiece for an event dubbed the CANstruction Celebration. The celebration highlighted this fall’s successful #TackleHunger Football For A Cause campaign, which collected more than 10,000 cans, almost 8 tons of food, for local hunger-relief nonprofit Metro Caring.

“We really appreciate MSU Denver hosting this celebration and giving us the opportunity to get more exposure for the issue of hunger,” said Paul Heitzenrater, the community organizer who originally launched the food-collection campaign on social media.

The initial idea, according to Heitzenrater, was to have people donate a can of food to Metro Caring for every point the Broncos scored. The first game, he collected 250 cans, and the campaign unexpectedly took off from there. As the Broncos made their playoff run, momentum only continued to grow.

Sage Hospitality, which runs MSU Denver’s hotel, was a major supporter. Sage held a collection competition between its 10 metro Denver hotels and Global Office.

"I'm very proud of our hotels for collecting more than 5,000 cans of food,” said Sage Hospitality CEO Walter Isenberg. “As a company, Sage is dedicated to supporting the communities that we serve, so we were thrilled to gather food for this important local cause. And because of Sage's ongoing commitment to supporting the MSU Denver community through the on-campus SpringHill Suites, we felt that this was the perfect space to host this celebration."

Students and faculty from MSU Denver’s Department of Art also were on hand to offer assistance and guidance to the middle school students. Assistant Professor Matt Jenkins said he appreciated the couch for what it represented. “A lot of people will be spending Sunday on the couch,” he said. “And that’s great. But in a way, this installation is a reminder to get up and take action to end hunger in the community.”

The couch will be on display through Friday, Feb. 12. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to check it out and bring a canned good donation to benefit Colorado families who struggle with hunger.

Edit this page