CAM the Ram sat eerily still on Friday morning, his huge mascot head peeking over a podium in the Colorado State Capitolâ€™s Senate chambers.
â€œHe looked very alert, didnâ€™t he?â€ joked CSU President Tony Frank. â€œIâ€™m biased, but I think he fits better back there than a buffalo.â€
CAM watched as members of the House and Senate responded to a bi-partisan resolution passed earlier that morning recognizing the CSU system, including the Fort Collins, Pueblo and the growing CSU Global Campus.
â€œIâ€™m privileged, and Iâ€™m pleased to sponsor this resolution,â€ said Colorado Representative and CSU alumnus B.J. Nikkel, District 49.
The recognition of the resolution was part of CSU Day at the Capitol, an event â€“â€“ in addition to Foundersâ€™ Day â€“â€“ that recognizes Feb. 11, 1870 when Gov. Edward McCook first signed a bill authorizing the creation of CSU.
Numerous representatives spoke out in support of the resolution; among them were CSU graduates Rep. Randy Fischer, District 53; Rep. John Kefalas, District 52; Rep. Larry Liston, District 16; and Rep. Matt Jones, District 12.
â€œIâ€™m lucky to have two degrees from CSU,â€ said Rep. Jones, who studied political science and natural resource policy during his time at the university.
â€œIn fact, I still remember that John Straayer taught my state and local politics class,â€ Jones said, pointing to the gallery where Straayerâ€™s group of legislative interns sat. â€œI donâ€™t know if that tells you how old I am or how old he is.â€
With a history dating back to 1870, CSU graduates about 6,800 students each year and is one of the largest employers in northern Colorado. CSU produces about $4.2 billion in state income through its campus projects and alumni.
â€œItâ€™s always very humbling to hear the impact the institution has had on everyone,â€ Frank said of the representativesâ€™ earlier remarks. â€œThis is about celebrating the heritage of CSU. Thatâ€™s why we started this process (Founderâ€™s Day) last year.â€
CSU is also Coloradoâ€™s only land-grant institution, placing an emphasis on the teaching of agricultural science and engineering.
Demonstrating this passion for research and innovation, several of CSUâ€™s focal programs, like the universityâ€™s engines and energy conversion laboratory (EECL), displayed their current projects.
â€œThis is basically a snapshot of whatâ€™s going on at the engines lab,â€ said senior mechanical engineering major Jason Golly, pointing to the laboratoryâ€™s display.
Some of the EECLâ€™s current projects include laser based ignition systems, algae-based biodiesel, intelligent electric grid control and clean burning fuel efficient biomass cooking stoves.
â€œWe try to teach students not to just be students,â€ said Christian Lâ€˜Orange, who is currently working on his doctorate in mechanical engineering at CSU. â€œWeâ€™re training them to move on in the world because itâ€™s all about getting our ideas out there.â€
Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at email@example.com.