The Colorado Young Alums Denver Chapter’s 2011 Poker Run. Courtesy photo.
The Colorado Young Alums Denver Chapter's 2011 Poker Run. Courtesy photo. ( Picasa )
If you go
What: Colorado Young Alumni Poker Run
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake St., Denver
Cost: $10
denveryoungalumni.org
The Denver chapter of the Colorado Young Alumni is impressing the University of Colorado with its large donations to the general scholarship fund, despite the age of the members.

Colbert Callen, president of the Denver chapter, said the club caters to CU graduates under the age of 35, hosting events like bar crawls and field days that appeal to the young-adult demographic.

Last year, the chapter donated $4,000 to CU's general scholarship fund, one of the largest donations ever made by a single alumni group, said Melissa Wall, program manager for the Alumni Association.

"They are one of my most rock-star chapters," Wall said. "They do several events every month, and the amount of work and effort they exhibit is really incredible, especially given their age."

Saturday the chapter is hosting its third annual Poker Run and bar crawl in downtown Denver. Participation is $10 per person and begins at 4 p.m. at The Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake Street. The event is open to everyone.

Callen said the poker run is the biggest event of the year and provides the bulk of money that the club donates to CU's scholarship fund.

Last year the event attracted about 350 people and this year the club is hoping for 500.

Callen said the group tried to develop networking and professional events for members but they found that young alums, as the group calls it's members, just wanted to have fun with other CU grads.

"The professional events just didn't work," Callen said. "They wanted to have fun, and networking was just a perk, a bonus to having a great time with some other Buffs."

Last year, the club collected so much money from its events that after donating to the scholarship fund, they purchased a trailer for tailgating, watch parties and events like the poker run.

"It's been a blast to see how much our members enjoy what we're doing," Callen said. "I know I keep saying it, but this really is so much fun."

The chapter is about 10 years old and is the only CU alumni group that caters to young graduates.

There are about 50 alumni chapters globally, according to the Alumni Association, including a second Denver chapter that caters to the family demographic.

Wall said they have mentioned the two-chapter model, which has been extremely successful in Denver, to other alumni groups, but finding additional volunteers makes it difficult to implement.

"It's hard enough to find members, but starting a new chapter requires more volunteers to lead and organize events," Wall said. "Plus, the enthusiasm and energy of the Denver group would be hard to match."