Diversity at Cal Poly

Cal Poly is well known for not being a culturally diverse school. In fact, it is one of the least diverse universities within California based on race; a majority of the student population is white. With the current student body as it is, Cal Poly may seem like a barren campus in terms of culture. Yet, the situation is not that bleak.

Despite the majority of Cal Poly students being white, clubs like CSA (Chinese Student Association) and PCE (Pilipino Cultural Exchange) are two of the most prominent clubs on campus based on their size. Cultural organizations like these two play a major part in creating a community for students to express their culture at Cal Poly. One way this takes form is through events like PCW (Poly Cultural Weekend) and CultureFest

Center Stage

Culture // Center Stage

Get to know how Cal Poly students showcase their culture at CultureFest

October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | CultureFest is an annual event held by the Multicultural Center and the Dean of Students. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | One aspect of this event are the stalls run by the various cultural organizations at Cal Poly. Clubs, fraternities and sororities sell their food throughout the day. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | Each stall's product, whether it's TVSA's popular Thai tea boba or PCE's lumpia, brings a taste of culture to the table. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | But food is not the only way these organizations bring culture to Cal Poly. Here on the stage, groups perform in front of the audience and express their unique culture through dance. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | Ethan Franciliso, a third year computer engineering student, holds a freeze in front of the Slo Breakers during their performance. To him, “Breaking (a.k.a. breakdance) represents hip hop culture in the way battles pays homage to the origin of hip hop in the Bronx, where breaking was a way to settle feuds between gangs.” October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | The entire seven hour event has many more cultural organizations like Franciliso's SLO Breakers or Hui O Hawaii (on stage), go on stage to perform. Throughout the day, clubs and groups take to the stage every few minutes with only a few intermissions giving the performers a break. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | Despite the hectic performance schedule, particpants find the experience worth the effort. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | Anna Kanazawa (using drum), a third year architecture student, leads the Lion Dance Team in a review after their performance. She said “I decided to take leadership within this club because lion dancing is a wonderful opportunity for people of varying backgrounds to come together, train for a common goal, and perform to spread joy and happiness to others within our community, especially here in Slo where the Asian population is considered a minority and underrepresented.” October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | At the end of the day, Kanazawa's words came true in the form of a dance circle. There students came together and danced a variety of styles that ranged from the the macarena to line dance or to their own style. October 12, 2019 | UU Plaza | David Yang, a third year mechanical engineer, is seen dancing with an ASI member after the dance crowd disperses at the end of Culturefest. Yang, a participant who danced his own style, said the reason he dances is because “I can express myself and put the way I feel into movement.”

Culture Context

Culture Context

Click on images to hear student's thoughts on how they express culture through dance.
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Close Up

Club Close Up

Former Kasayahan coordinator Isaiah Abrea shares his perspective on sharing Filipino culture through dance.

The Numbers

The Numbers