How Anschutz Health and Wellness Center's garden will grow: on roof

Green Roof promises fresh produce thanks to Nu Sigma Nu donation
By Staff

The University of Colorado Denver today announced that the new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus will incorporate healthy living into the facility's design with an innovative "Green Roof." The Green Roof will allow the center to grow its own fresh, healthy produce onsite, and is possible thanks to a generous donation of $650,000 from a fund established by the historic Nu Sigma Nu medical fraternity.

The Green Roof will top the new state-of-the-art health and wellness facility, a Gold LEED Certified Building that will open to the public during the spring of 2012.

The Nu Sigma Nu medical fraternity was founded in 1881 at the University of Michigan. James J. Waring, M.D., the first full-time professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and later chairman of the department of medicine, as well as founder of the Webb-Waring Lung Institute, established a Nu Sigma Nu chapter in Denver in 1923 during his residency.

The "Nu Sigma Nu Green Roof" will be the focal point of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center's larger Green Roof Events Center, which will provide a place for students, faculty and staff to congregate, relax, hold special events and form social connections across classes and disciplines.

The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, part of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is set to become a beacon for health promotion and disease prevention throughout Colorado, the nation and the world by taking a research-based, multidisciplinary approach to stop the growing girth of the nation. Its Green Roof will be among an array of cutting-edge facilities, services and programs at the new Center, including:

  • Research labs and equipment for scientific studies on nutrition and wellness;
  • A state-of-the-art fitness facility, including classes, running track, aquatics and degreed fitness professionals;
  • Classes and lessons on healthy living, including healthy cooking and nutrition workshops;
  • Weight management and nutrition services, disease prevention programs and wellness education;
  • Integrative medicine (such as massage therapy, acupuncture and more);
  • A bistro that will serve healthy food, available for eat-in, take-out or delivery; and
  • A staff of some of the world's leading experts that span health and wellness fields.

"We are very grateful to the Nu Sigma Nu fraternity for their generous donation to the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center," said James O. Hill, Ph.D., the center's executive director and professor at the CU School of Medicine. "The Green Roof will enhance the facility by creating a beautiful, innovative space where members of the campus and local communities may come together and enjoy healthy living."

The Nu Sigma Nu donation was awarded from the fraternity's donor-advised fund at Community First Foundation, and was facilitated by the University of Colorado Foundation. It will provide a number of benefits for medical students and Nu Sigma Nu alumni:

  • Free use of the Green Roof Events Center for student events and functions;
  • Access to the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center's onsite chef to provide catering for functions at the Events Center;
  • Discounted fitness center memberships and family privileges;
  • A recognition event for Nu Sigma Nu alumni and students at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center's grand opening; and
  • An archival exhibit, plaque and signage, preserving the legacy of Nu Sigma Nu, a long tenured and vital part of the community of the Health Science Center at the Denver campus.

"Community First Foundation has been honored to manage the Nu Sigma Nu charitable fund and help carry out the wishes of its founders," said Marla J. Williams, president and CEO of Community First Foundation. "The Nu Sigma Nu Green Roof will serve as the perfect gathering place for both alumni and current medical students."

Nu Sigma Nu's student housing by the old Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver served as a gathering place for students of the university's Health Sciences Center for more than 30 years. The donation and subsequent sale of that property established the Donor Advised Fund, the source of the donation for the innovative garden roof. The Green Roof at the new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center fulfills the desire of Nu Sigma Nu alumni to benefit the students at the new Anschutz Medical Campus by promoting a sense of community.

This gift is among more than 200,000 received by the University of Colorado since the 2006 outset of Creating Futures – an unprecedented $1.5 billion fundraising campaign to support teaching, research, outreach and health programs on CU's four campuses. The Health and Wellness Center continues to seek private support; for information on giving, contact Randall Stubbs at 303-724-9661.