Campus Quality

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Campus Quality


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4 College Sophomore

Campus Quality: The REC is awesome. I miss it so much.

4 College Junior

Campus Quality: The new Rec center is great! I love how there are a lot of green spaces to lounge around and hang out or study.

4 Recent Alumnus

Campus Quality: I love how they've tried to make college life easier here at Poly.

4 College Freshman

Campus Quality: We have a beautiful gym! It has everything any student needs

3 College Senior

Campus Quality: The overall atmosphere is alright. There are always places to go if you want to study or do something.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Cal Poly is consistently working hard to make sure its facilities stay up to par. Two examples of this include the recreation center and the Center for Science and Mathematics. In both cases, the University saw a need that was not being fulfilled and raised the funds to be able to meet the needs of students. The Cal Poly Recreation Center has seven basketball courts, an indoor track, hundreds of cardio machines, multiple weight rooms, and multiple swimming pools. The Center for Science and Math includes more than 100,000 square feet to provide lab space, office space, classroom space, and collaboration/study space to students and faculty alike. Other buildings do vary in modernity—there are chalkboards and there are flat-screen LCD screens. There are up-to-date computers (both Mac and PC) in many labs across campus, but it's still possible to find some antiquated machinery still in use. Most classrooms are perfectly fine for their purposes, even though they are clearly more than a couple of years old. 

The indoor/outdoor student union (called the University Union, or UU) was recently redone to better provide for the needs of students. Plenty of seating, conference rooms, a full-service craft center (where else can you make your own surfboard?), and an outdoor amphitheater make it easy to hang out, eat, nap, or study! The library has pretty much the same story, minus the craft center. Lots of tables, cubicles, food, and even a study room that never closes! Speaking more generally about the overall look of Cal Poly, there isn't the typical Gothic architecture of the East Coast. The natural environment, however, never ceases to provide hours of entertainment or exercise to students. The rolling hills behind Cal Poly's campus are home to many facilities, animals, and student projects (don't miss the Architecture Graveyard!).

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
9,678 acres
Student Centers
University Union (UU)
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
Kennedy Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Dexter Lawn
  • University Union
Bar on Campus
Bowling on Campus
There are 14 lanes in the University Union including four bumper lanes.
Coffeehouse on Campus
  • Campus Market
  • Julian's Patisserie in the library
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea, located in Poly Canyon Village
  • Starbucks in Campus Market
  • Starbucks, located in the UU
Movie Theater on Campus
Chumash Auditorium in the University Union is actually an auditorium, not a theater, but movies are occasionally shown there. Films for Finals is a popular study break option provided by ASI.
"Green" Initiatives
Among its many initiatives, the Cal Poly Organic Farm consists of about 11 CCOF certified organic acres of land, including the Student Experimental Farm. Students can also minor in sustainable agriculture.
School Slang
  • The 101: Expression used by Southern Californians for freeways. Use if you want to be identified among them.
  • AACF: "Double-A C F," Asian American Christian Fellowship
  • AG: Arroyo Grande, a neighboring town
  • Bishop's: Bishop's Peak, the highest mountain in the area, is good for a hike.
  • CCAT: "See-cat," bus system for the county
  • Chumash: Auditorium in the UU used for movies, concerts, and other events
  • CPReg: Online registration website
  • Dexter: Dexter Lawn by the library
  • Hella: "That's hella cool."
  • The Mustang: Daily student newspaper that's free in bins all around campus
  • The P: The large concrete "P" located on the hill above campus
  • The PAC: Pronounced "pack"—the performing arts center looks like an enormous piano from the air and is impossible to miss.
  • Poly Ratings: Professor evaluation website
  • Red Bricks: Freshman dorms specific to major
  • The Silo: Room 213 of the business building, the largest lecture hall on campus
  • SLO: San Luis Obispo, about a million variations on this acronym, pronounced "slow;" (the SLO life, SLO town, SLO Transit)
  • The Structure: The parking facilities next to the PAC
  • The UU: University Union—encompasses the building itself, as well as the large courtyard downstairs
  • WOW: Week of Welcome, a week of orientation for all freshmen before the start of fall quarter
  • Egg Drop: A yearly competition held at the Thursday night market where students compete to build the best "egg cushioner" from a selection of odd items (chewing gum, rubber bands). Entries are then dropped at successively higher altitudes until only the champion egg basket remains.
  • Open House: This is a yearly tradition that happens around spring break. On the specified weekend, clubs and colleges open up food and game booths, and various activities are offered for visiting parents, students, and friends. Hands-on science demonstrations, á la Bill Nye, are offered for younger siblings, while parents can take a look at various creative and technical endeavors around campus, such as the solar racing car or architectural models. Prospective students can scout out clubs they'd like to join.
  • The P: If you're a member of a campus group, especially a Greek organization, you may have the opportunity to "dress up" the P. Clubs use large white sheets to transform the P into Greek letters or an abbreviation. (Sheets could be used to add a foot to the P, making it an R.) At times, the P, which is usually white, has also been painted rainbow, red/white/blue, or black. This is obviously a more "challenging" endeavor.
Urban Legends
  • One strange phenomenon of inanimate objects deals with the cafeteria trays from VG's. Although taking the trays out of the late-night dining facility is prohibited, signs begging for their return appear on move-out weeks in December and June. Piles of plastic blue trays materialize on top of garbage cans and retaining walls. It seems that many freshmen are in the habit of hoarding these trays for purposes that to this day remain unknown.
  • You'll find milk cartons hanging from trees, ceramic heads staring at you as you climb stairs, plaster people-pods appear ominously in a garden, mattresses outfitted with sheets, pillows, and stuffed animals in the courtyard of the business building, a knitted afghan carefully spread along a busy sidewalk, amorphous structures of wood and string in the middle of Dexter Lawn. Are these things the result of student pranks? Hardly. Cal Poly prides itself on being a hands-on community. Class projects are often very tactile. Whether a product of an architecture assignment, an experiment in modern art, or a political statement from a cultural pluralism course, sights like these appear and disappear frequently. Most of us have no idea what they mean. But it certainly provides an entertaining antidote to the boredom of seeing the same place day after day.
Favorite Things To Do
Some options available include working out, swimming, playing racquetball at the gym, bowling, playing pool, or dancing on the DDR machine. If you prefer to be a little less active, you can sunbathe on Dexter Lawn, listen to a live local band on Thursday's UU Hour, or contemplate the latest art or architecture projects (often displayed in odd, public areas around campus, many times integrated with the scenery itself).
Student Organizations Web Site
Student Newspaper
Mustang Daily
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
There are more than 300 student organizations on campus. The list is constantly changing, especially since it only takes a few students and a faculty adviser to get a club started! The best place to check out the current list of clubs and organizations is on ASI's website (
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Model UN
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Pep band
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
Air Force ROTC: No
Navy ROTC: No
Army ROTC: Yes
Did You Know?
Around June, couches start appearing around SLO on front lawns, sidewalks, occasionally in the middle of the street. What is this phenomenon? It's not an alien conspiracy—it's a surplus of thoroughly trashed couches that departing students are unable to foist off on new residents. Nobody seems to know where the dump is, so couches usually get a final night of serious trashing by celebrating graduates before the garbage man decides to haul them away. Other students get a little more creative; flaming couches in the middle of the street are not entirely unheard of.

Student Polls

What are your favorite campus events or traditions?    Based on 95 responses

  • 24% Week of Welcome (WOW)
  • 22% Cal Poly vs. UCSB Soccer game
  • 20% The P
  • 12% Open House
  • 7% Design Village
  • 5% Halloweek
  • 3% Parent's Weekend
  • 3% Poly Royal
  • 2% Blue Tape War
  • 1% Homecoming
  • 0% Egg Drop
  • 0% Wrestling meets
  • 0% Poly Cultural Weekend
  • 0% Arch Graveyard Hike
  • 0% Cal Poly vs. UCSB
  • 0% Arch Graveyard
  • 0% Barn Dances

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 190 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

What are your favorite things to do around campus?    Based on 103 responses

  • 16% Go downtown
  • 16% Go to the Rec Center
  • 14% Farmers market
  • 12% Beach
  • 12% Bishops peak/hiking
  • 11% Local restaurants
  • 6% Pirate's Cove
  • 5% Montana del oro state park
  • 3% Walk around in the arboretum
  • 1% Craft center
  • 1% Hiking Bishop's Peak
  • 1% Poly escapes
  • 0% Cycling
  • 0% SLO DO CO!!!!!!! Seriously Niche add this please.
  • 0% Front Porch

How accommodating is this school to students with physical disabilities?    Based on 104 responses

  • 34% Very accommodating. The school does everything in their power to make sure the needs of every student are met.
  • 50% Pretty accommodating. The school has taken a lot of steps to accommodate the needs of students, but they've missed a few things.
  • 15% Slightly accommodating. The school has taken a few steps to accommodate students, but not nearly enough.
  • 1% Not accommodating. Students with physical disabilities are practically ignored here.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 189 responses

  • 39% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.
  • 56% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 4% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 2% I hate my school and have no school spirit.



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