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Cal Poly to Build Solar Farm as Part of Net Zero Plan

Cal Poly will break ground this summer on a solar farm that will generate renewable energy, create Learn by Doing opportunities for students and save the university millions of dollars. The facility, to be erected adjacent to Highway 1 on the western side of the Cal Poly campus, will be financed, designed, constructed and maintained by REC Solar, one of the nation’s largest solar providers. REC Solar, headquartered in San Luis Obispo, was founded by Cal Poly graduates in 1997. The 18.5-acre solar farm is slated for completion in winter 2017. It will include more than 16,000 individual solar panels with a capacity of 4.5 megawatts (AC) and will generate more than 11 million kWh per year — enough to power more than 1,000 homes, or about 25 percent of Cal Poly’s total needs. More on the project.


Cal Poly Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Cal Poly has earned a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Cal Poly rated highest in the areas of curriculum, campus engagement, planning, and water and greenhouse gas emissions management. “The STARS Silver Rating is a remarkable achievement for our university,” said Dennis Elliot, Cal Poly’s director of energy, utilities and sustainability. “This recognition reinforces our commitment to sustainability and will help us drive continued improvement for our campus.” More on the recognition.


Mock Trial Team Earns Bid to Compete at National Championship

The Cal Poly Mock Trial Team has earned a bid to compete at the American Mock Trial Association National Championship Tournament in Los Angeles on April 21-23. This is the first-time Cal Poly has earned a spot in the prestigious national tournament. Cal Poly’s A Team finished in the top six teams in their Opening Round Championship Series in Fresno on March 25-26. Team members are political science students Deeksha Kohli (San Jose), Zackery Michaelson (Visalia) and Jesse Quiroz (Orange); business student Chloe Loomer (Los Gatos); mathematics student Rod Rahimi (San Luis Obispo); and civil engineering student Garrett Rutherford (Girdwood, Alaska). “I could not be prouder of our team and their awesome work,” said Elizabeth Lowham, chair of the Cal Poly Political Science Department. More on the team's achievement.


Donation Funds HD Upgrade to Student-Run TV Studio at Cal Poly

Thanks to a $100,000 donation to the Cal Poly Journalism Department from Bill and Cheryl Swanson, the university’s student-run television studio will be outfitted with the latest cameras, switchers and other equipment, allowing students to broadcast in high definition. “We chose to make this donation because we believe in Learn by Doing, and Cal Poly students deserve the best,” said Bill Swanson, chairman of Cal Poly’s Foundation Board and retired chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Raytheon Company. The total cost of the renovations will be about $125,000. The remodeled, state-of-the-art facility will be ready for students to use in spring quarter, in early April. A formal dedication of the new facility, named the Bill and Cheryl Swanson Broadcast Studio, will take place Friday, May 5. More on the Swansons' donation.


Longtime Cal Poly Supporters Pledge $1.5 million to Support J.G. Boswell Agricultural Technology Center 

Jim and Michelle Marderosian, longtime supporters of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and key leaders in the citrus industry, have pledged $1.5 million to the college’s new J.G. Boswell Agricultural Technology Center. The gift will fund a new plant pathology lab that will be used to diagnose and explore plant diseases and disease control strategies. Jim Marderosian founded Bee Sweet Citrus in 1987 in Fowler, California, as an independent packer and shipper of California oranges. In the last 30 years, the company has expanded and grown to be a leader in the industry and now ships citrus products including navel and Valencia oranges, lemons, grapefruit and mandarins throughout the United States and overseas through export. The Marderosians both attended Cal Poly in the 1970s.
More on the Marderosians' donation.


Cal Poly Announces New Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Inclusion

Cal Poly has named Josephine (Jozi) De Leon as vice president and chief officer for diversity and inclusion. De Leon will serve as the campus leader of inclusivity and diversity initiatives at Cal Poly. In her role, she will report directly to President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and will function as a leading voice on matters of equality, diversity and inclusion. De Leon will start at Cal Poly on July 10. De Leon has focused her lengthy career on the education of traditionally underrepresented students. She currently serves as vice president for equity and inclusion, and is a professor in the Department of Educational Specialties, at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. “I am delighted that Jozi will bring her wealth of experience and dedicated focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives to Cal Poly,” Armstrong said. “Her deep breadth of knowledge will complement and enhance the efforts of our talented faculty and staff as we continue to nurture a diverse, inclusive and welcoming campus.”
More on De Leon's appointment.


Cal Poly Announces Scott Dawson to Return as Orfalea College of Business Dean

Cal Poly announced today that former Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson will return to the position effective June 1. “We are pleased that Scott will return as part of our leadership team and that the Orfalea College of Business’ students, faculty and staff will once again benefit from his visionary leadership and commitment to Learn by Doing,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. Dawson led the Orfalea College of Business from August 2014 until November 2016, when he stepped down after the loss of his wife, Bridget, in a bicycling accident in July. He returned to Portland, Oregon, to be near family and friends.
More on Dawson's return.


Cal Poly, District Attorney, Cal Guard Announce New Statewide Partnership to Combat Cyber Crime in California

With an eye toward training current and future cybercrime investigators, Cal Poly has worked with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, the California National Guard and other statewide partners to develop the California Cyber Training Complex (CCTC), a new cyber education center and collaboration space at the California National Guard’s Camp San Luis Obispo. The first active facility at the CCTC, the Central Coast Cyber Forensics Lab (CCCFL), was unveiled March 1 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, District Attorney Dan Dow and other members of local law enforcement, along with and California National Guard Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin. Under the District Attorney’s management, CCCFL will provide participating law enforcement agencies with access to high-tech evidence collection capabilities. This will allow investigators to collect cyber evidence in a way that’s legally compliant with the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so it can be admitted into court by prosecutors.
More on the CCTC.


Cal Poly Named One of Nation’s Best Values by Kiplinger’s Finance Magazine

Cal Poly has been named a 2017 best-value college by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, placing 21st in the nation and fourth in the state among public universities and colleges on the magazine’s annual ranking. Kiplinger’s ranked the top 300 best-value colleges and universities that “offer the best bang for your educational buck” from data culled from nearly 1,200 public and private four-year institutions across the nation. Cal Poly also ranked 98th overall, among both public and private institutions. Its standings in the top 25 nationally and top four in California make this the university’s best showing in the annual list that the magazine said provide a quality education at an affordable price.
More on the Kiplinger's ranking.


Cal Poly Economics Professor and Research Team Receive Nearly $500,000 USDA Grant to Study Solutions to Food Waste

Cal Poly economics Professor Stephen Hamilton and a team of researchers recently received a nearly $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study new solutions to the problem of food waste. The team will investigate the viability of peer-to-peer distribution models to share, sell or exchange food to reduce the amount of food disposed in landfills as waste. Matching buyers and sellers in secondary markets for food has the potential to create greater efficiency in the supply chain. Major companies like Airbnb and Uber have popularized similar models, which are now considered part of an emerging “sharing economy.” The team’s proposal, “Commercial Peer-to-peer Mutualization Systems to Eliminate Food Waste,” aims to reduce the 31 percent of food loss that the USDA estimates happens daily at the retail and consumer levels due to spoilage, mislabeling, seasonal surpluses and other factors. Unlike current solutions that only address food waste at the consumer level, Hamilton and his team will use new need-forecasting and product allocation methods at each step of the food supply chain, from farmer to food manufacturers, retailers and consumers.
More on the study.


Cal Poly Student Affairs Among Most Promising Places to Work in 2017

Cal Poly, recognized as a leader in employee diversity, staffing practices and workplace environment, is among the 2017 Most Promising Places to Work in Student Affairs. The university, selected from hundreds of higher-education institutions across the nation, was honored as one of the 18 best schools for taking intentional steps to make the Cal Poly workplace a more diverse and inclusive environment. “I am incredibly Cal Poly Proud to have our division named on this prestigious list,” said Keith Humphrey, vice president for Student Affairs. “This recognition reflects all the hard work that goes on every day to create a workplace environment that allows us to bring our best selves toward enhancing student success.”
More on the distinction.


Cal Poly Named Best in the West for 24th Consecutive Year

Cal Poly is once again the best public, master’s-level university in the West — the 24th straight year the university has earned the distinction in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual America’s Best Colleges guidebook. The 2017 guidebook lists Cal Poly in a tie with Saint Mary’s College for ninth place overall in the West for regional universities (up from from 10th place last year) and above all other public universities in the region. Cal Poly’s College of Engineering moves up two spots to No. 5 on the list of best master's/bachelor's program in the nation. As well, The Orfalea College of Business appears for the second straight year on the magazine’s list of best undergraduate business programs. Cal Poly also ranks sixth in the West (up from 10th last year) for most veteran-friendly universities — a listing that shows military vets and active-duty service members which top-ranked schools offer benefits that can help them make pursuing a college education more affordable.
More on the rankings.