Have you met Esperanza, the unofficial mascot of CSU Spur?

The 9-foot kitten statue in the lobby of the Vida building is more than an adorable face, it’s also an educational tool! If you walk up to Esperanza’s face, it will purr or meow, but if you walk up behind Esperanza, it will hiss or growl to communicate that it isn’t the best way to greet an animal. Cool, huh?

Esperanza (which means “hope” in Spanish) was named by the Tepeyac Community Health Center, neighbors to CSU Spur in the Globeville neighborhood and winners of the CSU Spur kitten naming contest.

More about the name from Tepeyac:

Esperanza (Hope) personifies the GES community. People/immigrants originally moved to GES because they were hopeful about the economic opportunities that existed in these neighborhoods. Over the past several decades, GES has transitioned to a largely Latino community and has struggled to maintain its identity, as well as economic opportunities. With the redevelopment of the National Western Complex and the CSU Spur campus, along with the new Tepeyac Community Health Center, there is a renewed sense of Hope within the community and for the opportunities that lie ahead. With the name Esperanza, there is acknowledgement of the rich cultural history of the GES community and Hope (Esperanza) for the future!

Names for the kitten were submitted by CSU Spur Partners, as well as nonprofits, schools, and organizations in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea community — check out the other names submitted!

  • HowdyAccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, Howdy “is an informal friendly greeting, particularly associated with the western states,” including Colorado. It is also “a message or salutation containing an inquiry as to the health of a person” (and animals). Howdy the cat will be a welcoming statue to all visitors at the National Western Center, in particular, the CSU Spur Vida building. Submitted by the Valdez-Perry Library.
  • Lady: Lady was the first horse who was part of the Temple Grandin Equine Center. TGEC’s programming is for the betterment of horses and humans alike, and it is a place where individuals with special challenges heal, therapists treat, instructors teach, students learn, scientists research, and horses are studied and cared for. Submitted by the Temple Grandin Equine Center.
  • NeighpurrExtreme Community Makeover’s goal is to invest in our neighbors – both those who live next to us and our neighbors across town. Like CSU Spur, we value the importance of making meaningful connections and relationships in the communities we serve. We do that by lending a helping hand to neighbors to help our city become a safe and purrr-ty place to live! Submitted by Extreme Community Makeover.
  • QueenieThe cat that started the Dumb Friends League. Who would have guessed that a kitten named Queenie would be the first of more than 2 million animals helped by the Dumb Friends League? One hundred years ago (700 dog years), Queenie was found in a basket at the home of Margaret Bradey, one of the women founders of the Dumb Friends League. These founders, led by Mrs. Jean Milne Gower, set the vision for how the Dumb Friends League would help millions of people and pets for years to come. Submitted by the Dumb Friends League.
  • ShakespurrIt’s a play on the CSU Spur name and because CSU Spur is an educational institution, it made sense to also play off of one of the world’s most iconic writers/ poets. Submitted by the National Western Center.