Cal Poly Programs in Focus
These Cal Poly programs and projects are among those that exist thanks to private support — and require private support to continue and thrive.
Scroll down to browse the list or skip straight to private-support programs in the following areas:
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The Cal Poly Creamery
Part of the largest dairy science school in the country, the Cal Poly Creamery has been making high-quality cheese and other dairy products for students, alumni, and the community since 1903. Private support allows the Dairy Science Department to:
- Teach students to craft award-winning cheeses and ice cream using top-notch commercial food processing equipment;
- Participate in all aspects of dairy goods production;
- Staff the creamery with a professional dairy manager;
- Learn to market and sell dairy goods post-production in a real-world business setting.
Collaborative Interactive Design Studio (CIDS)
CIDS provides the opportunity to interweave scholarship with academia, professional development with research and service at local and national levels, and creativity with collaborative student teamwork. CIDS establishes a theoretical and procedural foundation for the effective utilization of digital media in the design and collaborative process. Provides students with:
• Latest digital technology for design and construction
• Research and community service design projects
• Focus on building systems integration
• Group case study analysis
• Collaborative interdisciplinary education
• A theoretical and procedural foundation for effective utilization of digital media in design
Collaborative Agent Design Research Center (CADRC)
Allies advanced information systems technology to real-world problems in industry, government and commerce.
• Offers information systems technology service not yet available from commercial companies
• Installs and/or supports software products through CDM Technologies
• Provides financial support to student employees
• Provides opportunities for student design experimentation and preparation
• Students develop software
• Students practice technical writing
• Students provide software demonstrations and systems training
Details on the CADRC
Planning, Design, and Construction Institute (PDCI)
An applied research unit devoted to advancing the application of knowledge and practice that improves the quality and safety of the built environment. It forms partnerships with the civil society yielding community benefits providing the next generation of student leaders with involvement in research and solutions-based design. Provides students with:
• Opportunities to work on projects of faculty interest and community and professional need
• Experience in research and technical support in design, regeneration, sustainability, and construction of the built environment
• Educational workshops, presentations and reports
• Focus on sustainable communities, innovative technology, interdisciplinary education and global engagement
Details on the PDCI
Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a universitywide center that promotes entrepreneurial activity, scholarship, and dialogue across campus and the local community. Private support helps the center:
- Expose students to the processes, structures, and outcomes of innovation and entrepreneurship;
- Foster research and facilitate entrepreneurial efforts on campus and in
the regional community;
- Create continued opportunities for exchange of ideas and hands-on learning through center-sponsored forums, competitions, and programs.
Student-Managed Portfolio Project (SMPP)
The Student-Managed Portfolio Project (SMPP) is a senior project course offering a select group of advanced finance students a hands-on education in fund management. Private support allows SMPP students to:
- Apply what they’ve learned in class to real-world situations;
- Experience the risks and rewards of managing a fund portfolio;
- Learn to work with a client (the university), and draft a prospectus and investment strategy reflective of the client’s risk tolerance ;and objectives.
- Gain experience in using the techniques and information resources used by
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
The Cal Poly Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is a university-sponsored Service Learning Project that provides undergraduate and graduate tax students the opportunity to work directly with clients involved in federal tax controversies. Private support helps the LITC:
- Deliver tax compliance assistance to underserved local communities;
- Assist low-income taxpayers with federal tax controversy matters and matters that require representation before the U.S. Tax Court;
- Offer education, outreach and direct consultation services in both Spanish and English;
- Provide all services to qualified low-income taxpayers free of charge.
Global Waste Research Institute
One of the very few waste related institutes in the U.S., the Global Waste Research Institute (GWRI) advances state-of-the-art and state-of-the-practice sustainable technologies and policies for managing wastes and byproducts. Private support helps GWRI:
- Transform waste into opportunities, such as energy and resource generation;
- Find solutions to the global problem of waste — California alone generates more than 50 million tons of solid waste a year;
- Provide training and education for stakeholders, including the professional community, regulators, and the general public;
- Foster multidisciplinary and collaborative research;
- Provide opportunities for students to become involved in world-changing projects.
An annual Learn by Doing project of Cal Poly’s industrial and manufacturing engineering project management class, Polyhouse provides a home renovation for a local family or individual struggling with issues related to disabilities. Private support helps PolyHouse:
- Meet its $160,000 fund raising goal – PolyHouse is entirely supported by donations from businesses and individuals;
- Provide an excellent opportunity for students to learn project planning and management skills;
- Exposes students to the benefits of community service;
- Make a real difference in the lives of individuals in need.
CubeSat is an international collaboration led by Cal Poly of over 40 universities, high schools, and private firms developing 10-centimeter cubic “picosatellites” containing scientific, private and government payloads. Private support helps CubeSat:
- Develop opportunities for multidisciplinary teams of students worldwide to design, build and launch satellites;
- Benefit private firms and government by providing a low-cost way of flying payloads in space;
- Provide important hands-on educational experiences for future leaders of industry;
- Ensure that California maintains its prominence in the global space enterprise community.
Engineers Without Borders, Cal Poly Chapter
Engineers Without Border (EWB), Cal Poly partners with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. While the focus of EWB USA is primarily on international projects, EWB Cal Poly is dedicated to serving the local community as well. Private support helps EWB:
- Undertake life-changing projects, such as constructing a health clinic in Nicaragua, installing Slow Sand Filters to provide clean water throughout the northern region of Thailand, and enhancing agricultural opportunities in northern India;
- Give students a global perspective and practical experience in international cooperation;
- Promote sustainability.
International Computer Engineering Experience (ICEX)
ICEX, a collaborative effort between Cal Poly’s Computer Engineering Program and international partners, provides opportunities for students to apply their technical knowledge in an international context and to increase global citizenship across campus. The 2011 program, Maltese Archeology Through Robotics, provided robotic based tools and services to archeologists studying Malta's ancient underwater sites. Private support helps ICEX provide engineering students with opportunities to:
- Gain experience working in a foreign country;
- Develop an understanding of how cultural differences can affect how work is conducted;
- Apply knowledge gained in engineering coursework to new technology and applications;
- Enhance skills necessary for intercultural teamwork and lifelong learning.
Cal Poly Center for Global Automatic Identification Technologies (PolyGAIT)
PolyGAIT focuses on groundbreaking radio frequency identification (RFID) research and development. Private support helps PolyGAIT:
- Provide the best education and training to students and industrial partners;
- Foster collaboration among industry, government and academia for the advancement of automatic identification technologies;
- Undertake the various applied research challenges, multidisciplinary investigations, solution development, testing, training, and implementation projects presented by the emerging RFID industry.
The Monarch Alert Project
The Monarch Alert Project is a citizen-scientist effort that rests on a solid foundation of research set by Dennis Frey (Ph.D. Emeritus, Cal Poly), Francis X. Villablanca (Ph.D., Associate Professor, Cal Poly) and the Ventana Wildlife Society. Private support enables Cal Poly faculty and students to:
- Obtain robust estimates of overwintering monarch population sizes at select sites in San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties;
- Develop models, based on diverse ecological variables over local and regional scales, which allow us to predict the population size for overwintering monarchs;
- Tagging of monarchs to study movement and demographic connections between overwintering sites;
- Develop models, based on local and grove specific habitat variables that explain overwintering monarchs tree use and movement within and between groves;
- Participate in science-based management, planning and conservation of Monarch Butterflies;
- Collaborate with local Natural History Associations and docent groups that are interested in monarch butterfly biology and conservation;
- Present education and outreach to further an appreciation and understanding of monarch biology and migration dynamics.
Find out more on the Monarch Alert Web site
STRIDE (Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise) is a health research center associated with the Cal Poly Kinesiology Department, aimed at promoting healthy weight across the lifespan. Students, staff and faculty from across the university work together as multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teams to develop numerous research studies and programs that improve the health status and knowledge of the greater community. STRIDE operates under five key components: Research, Service Learning, Education and Outreach, Program Design, and Evaluation and Consulting.
Private support enables Cal Poly health professionals and students to:
- Translate existing scientific and medical literature into feasible and sustainable community-based programs to be conducted by agencies across the California Central Coast, the state and the nation;
- Design and assess novel, comprehensive community-based education and intervention programs;
- Foster the exercise and nutrition habits, skills and behaviors necessary to advance health in individuals;
- Provide students from many majors and colleges with opportunities to gain real-world experience through internships and other leadership positions;
- Purchase necessary supplies and equipment to keep existing programs accessible, affordable and effective to all community members.