The origin of every exciting adventure begins with one question: What if?
As the story goes, one night in 2016, someone asked (after a few beers), What if MSU Denver Alumni Relations partnered with Tivoli Brewing Co. to create a beer-drinking club? That out-of-the-box question was the seed that blossomed into Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Mug Club.
The basis of Mug Club was (and remains) simple: Offer Roadrunners the opportunity to support student scholarships through lifetime memberships. In exchange, they receive a custom glass, discounts at the Tivoli Taphouse and invitations to monthly happy-hour events that include a free beer, appetizers and a chance to unwind with co-workers at the end of the day.
But the question remained: Would people buy into the premise?
“We thought we had a great idea, but when you’re trying something new, you never really know how it will be received,” said Brandi Rideout, director of Alumni Relations and Mug Club co-founder. “There were two goals: Get people to join and raise $25,000 to establish the MSU Denver Mug Club Endowed Scholarship.”
Upon the club’s launch in February 2017, Roadrunners flocked to Mug Club. Since then, the club has grown to over 975 members, raised more than $46,000 and awarded four scholarships to students pursuing degrees in the University’s Brewery Operations program and other School of Hospitality majors.
Sheena Ortiz, an Event Planning and Meeting Management major, says being a scholarship recipient has made all the difference in allowing her to remain in school and pursue her degree.
“The support I have received is helping me secure my dream of completing school,” she said. “In turn, I will be able to have the career I have always wanted and provide my 14-year-old daughter with the life she deserves.”
And students aren’t the only ones benefiting. Rideout says Mug Club has brought together people across the campus community who might not have otherwise met if it weren’t for happy hour.
“It has been amazing to watch this program foster an environment where people can break down silos and develop connections,” said Rideout.
Over the past five years, the award-winning club has continued to expand, becoming a part of campus celebrations such as Homecoming, hosting cap–decorating parties for graduating seniors before Commencement each semester and more. Mug Club has also opened the door to unique opportunities such as having the Tivoli produce special beers such as Roadrunner Red. The next exclusive brew will be for the Math Department, which will be promoted during Mug Club’s April happy hour and will help out with departmental fundraising efforts.
“For five years, our loyal Mug Club members have supported MSU Denver students and programs, and I couldn’t be prouder,” said Rideout. “There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together to help our Roadrunner community to rise to meet its goals.”
MSU Denver Mug Club will be celebrating its fifth anniversary during happy hour Thursday from 4-6 p.m. Members can register here. Not a member? Join MSU Denver Mug Club and start taking advantage of your benefits today. Contact Regan Wells, Alumni Relations coordinator, for more information.