Future Fest: The Future of CU Denver

The first of what will become a yearly tradition, Future Fest replaces what was previously the mid-semester State of the campus address. || Illustration by Mazie Neill

Chancellor Marks led a campus event outlining CU Denver’s goals and plans for the future

For the first time, students, staff, and faculty have joined together with CU Denver’s benefactors and community leaders to celebrate the “successes of the future.”

“Future Fest” was held in the courtyard of the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center and emceed by Theo Edmonds, the Associate Dean for Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation in the College of Arts & Media, on Sept. 28. The event will happen once every school year and is intended to showcase the powerful and inspirational stories CU Denver’s community has to offer. For the time being, the event’s main showcase outlines the short and long-term goals of the 2030 Strategic Plan, which aims to create a more equitable CU Denver campus.

The event was adorned with cocktail tables, balloons, and food trucks, with the Hispanic-inspired student band Voz de la Clave performing throughout.
The event had relatively low student turn-out—likely due to the fact that it took place during a time that many students were in class.

To kick things off, Chancellor Michelle Marks outlined the future of CU Denver as outlined in the Strategic 2030 Plan. Marks stated, “the title of our plan is ‘Make Education Work for All.’ It’s designed to create social mobility for students whose success is not guaranteed. ‘Make Education Work for All’ expresses how we’ll shape ourselves into a university that Colorado and the nation need but currently lack.”

The plan consists of five goals that Chancellor Marks hopes to complete by the year 2030: “become the nation’s first equity-serving institution,” “become known as a ‘university for life,’” “become internationally known for research and creative work,” “serve as the anchor institution for an Open Innovation District in Downtown Denver,” and “be known as a people-centered best place to work.” The plan envisions making CU Denver both a better place for learning, as well as a better place to work.

Following Chancellor Marks, a variety of speakers showcased their own successes and plans for the future. The Senior Leadership team—introducing both new staff and new Student Government Assocation President, Chris Hilton—participated in an interactive panel in which they introduced themselves and outlined their goals and ideas. The panel was led by moderator Sarah Buller, who offered a comedic approach to the activities.

Lynx Lectures, which were “lightning speed, Ted Talk-style presentations” on topics such as helmet safety, the gender wage gap, and the power of human connection, closed the event. Each aimed to demonstrate the meaningful work being done by students and faculty.

To close her remarks, Chancellor Marks stated, “By committing to this work together—as one powerful university—we will expand the impact and the value we deliver to families, our state, and our society over the next decade.” Various events will be held during the execution of this plan; to kick off Goal 3 specifically, a Strategic Plan Research Symposium will be held both Oct. 29 and Nov. 19 to brainstorm how the university should invest to enhance its international recognition.

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