Posted on Aug 30, 2023
On August 30, in place of our usual in-person meeting at the Lincoln Center, Dave Stewart organized a field trip to CSU’s new SPUR campus at the National Western Center in Denver.  Some 47 Rotary members and guests, mostly riding a CSU bus and enjoying a box lunch on the way, met at the campus and enjoyed a whirlwind tour of the three SPUR buildings.  We learned that the SPUR campus is a facility that provides:  service to the community along with research in animal life, agriculture, and water; and educational outreach to the Denver community as well as the rest of the State of Colorado.
The three buildings are called Vida, Terra, and Hydro.  The Vida building focuses on animal and human life and houses, among other things, a Dumb Friends League veterinary hospital (that provides discounted veterinary services to the surrounding community) and an equine (horse) sports medicine center.  Terra focuses on agriculture including research on controlled environment horticulture (simplistically, growing crops without soil) and a soil, water, and plant testing lab that is designed to provide free service to farmers and gardeners of all scales.  Hydro includes Denver Water’s Water Quality Lab (including large windows so that visitors may watch the science going on) and a backyard that focuses on sustainability in the climate of Colorado. 
Our visit concluded with a presentation and Q & A session with Jocelyn Hittle, the SPUR Associate Vice Chancellor, sitting in for Tony Frank, the system chancellor.  She gave us a brief summary of the history of the SPUR campus as well as an overview of the source of the land on which the campus has been constructed.  She also talked about the mission of the campus, focusing especially on the outreach to grammar- and high-school classes and teachers, as well as the size and responsibilities of the approximately 40 current staff members on the campus. 
The whirlwind nature of the tour gave us a brief introduction to many of the aspects of the SPUR organization and facilities but left a lot of topics for future personal visits to the site.  On several occasions, our guides, as well as Ms Hittle, emphasized that access to the site is free to all and is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00, and 2nd Saturdays 10:00 to 3:00.