Poly Parent News: July 2020

This Month's Newsletter

Message from Our Team

Register for Mustang Family Insights

Save the Date for Virtual Mustang Family Weekend

Get Excited for Virtual Student Life Orientation (SLO) Days

Educational Opportunity Program: Giving Back by Paying it Forward

Virtual Career Services Summer Workshops and Events

ASI Virtual Fitness Programming

Resource Spotlight: Writing and Learning Center 

Summer Quarter Reading Recommendation: “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?"

View Past Newsletters


Message from Our Team

The sun is shining on the Central Coast, and we welcome summer’s arrival. As members of the Mustang family, you are invited to follow Parent and Family Programs on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to tune-in to Mustang Family Insights (details below) throughout the summer and beyond for timely updates on fall planning and interaction with campus leadership.  

Our team serves as a resource to you and your family, so please reach out at to let us know what topics, concerns and questions you would like addressed. Your engagement is critical to your student’s success, and staying informed through this newsletter is an important step! Know someone who could benefit from our newsletters? Have them sign up to receive our communications here. 

Enjoy this month’s edition of Poly Parent News. 

Parent and Family Programs Team 

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Register for Mustang Family Insights

Hosted by Parent and Family Programs, Mustang Family Insights is a webinar for Cal Poly parents and supporters (both current and prospective) featuring campus and community experts. 

Join us on Tuesday, July 14 at 2 p.m. to hear from Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Shayna Lynch who will discuss the vision for the 2020-21 academic year, ASI Board of Director initiatives, and ways for students to get involved. 


Michelle Crawford, Director of the University Union and Rick Craig, Director of Recreational Sports will also share information and provide updates on the following ASI resources and programming:

  • Cal Poly ASI Student Government
  • Cal Poly Recreation Center
  • ASI Craft Center
  • ASI Events
  • ASI Club Services
  • Sports
  • Student Employment Opportunities

View the Facebook Event

View past Mustang Family Insight sessions:

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Save the Date for Virtual Mustang Family Weekend 2020

Mark your calendars for Virtual Mustang Family Weekend this October 23-25! Scheduled halfway through fall quarter, Mustang Family Weekend allows families the opportunity to reconnect with the Mustang community, get a deeper look into the classroom experience, learn from educators and campus leaders, and explore the creative and innovative ways our campus and our students are adapting during uncertain times.

Registration details and more information coming soon!

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Get Excited for Virtual Student Life Orientation (SLO) Days

New Student and Transition Programs (NSTP) is proud to host Virtual SLO Days this summer for all newly admitted students and their supporters!

Although we always prefer to see our newest Mustangs in person, our top priority is your health and well-being. With this in mind, the university made the decision to offer virtual summer orientation after careful guidance from public health officials. For the latest campus information on COVID-19, we encourage you to visit

This year especially, student leaders are committed to creating the best possible experience for all new incoming students and their supporters. To learn more about the exciting things they have planned for you, please visit the SLO Days page.

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Educational Opportunity Program: Giving Back by Paying it Forward

By Jarod Urrutia, Fourth-year student, Journalism

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) serves low-income, first-generation college students on Cal Poly's campus. The primary goals of EOP are to improve the access, retention, and graduation of students who have been historically, economically, and/or educationally disadvantaged. EOP celebrated their 50th Anniversary during the 2019-2020 academic year and is proud to recognize its establishment as the first program within the CSU system. 

For the counselors in Cal Poly’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), serving first-generation, low-income students is more than a job. For them, it’s a personal commitment to serving their community, acknowledging their own roots, and providing the same opportunities they received during their academic careers. 

“I was an EOP and first-generation student as an undergrad at Fresno State,” said EOP Counselor Lyzette Martin. “I can identify with some of the barriers that a lot of our students face during their college career here, but for the most part, it was the students that drove me to get this position. It’s giving back in a way to a lot of the staff that helped me along the way during my undergraduate career.” 

For fellow EOP Counselor and Cal Poly alumna Nury Baltierrez, her experience carried even more weight as an undocumented first-generation student. 

“Not only do I identify with the first-generation community at Cal Poly, I also understand just how at-risk a lot of these low-income students are,” Baltierrez said. “I want to help them make a positive impact in their lives, like EOP did for me.”  

Cal Poly’s EOP program was originally established in 1968 and is the oldest program of its kind in the California State University System. All told, the program aims to improve the access, retention and graduation rates of students who have been historically, economically or educationally disadvantaged. The program accomplishes this through a variety of counseling and transitional programs, including Summer Institute and Transfer Bridge, two summer programs that allow first-generation low-income students to meet with their Cal Poly peers for the first time. 

Baltierrez noted that above all else, the program seeks to instill a sense of empowerment and community in every first-generation student it serves. To that end, she notes that the students ultimately create their own success through resilience and hard work. 

“They are very ambitious and hard-working and they do have a tremendous drive to be successful, even though it is challenging to be in a new environment and culture,” Baltierrez said. “They endure a lot outside of school but they don’t give up – they succeed, which is incredibly rewarding for us as counselors.” 

Martin, meanwhile, added that success begins with a community that’s there to support its members. 

“Our main focus is social integration,” noted Martin. “We've seen how this leads to success academically, professionally, and personally. That’s really what drives all that we do.” 

Understanding the Issues  

EOP Counselor Cynthia Paz noted that the ability to identify with the students they serve acts as both their driving force and source of their strength as mentors.  

“I was working at a community college before coming here and most of the students were first-generation, low-income students,” said Paz. “Working for that population was very important to me because I understand the problems they can have as a low-income first-generation student myself.” 

One central issue among the students Paz and her colleagues serve is balancing financial stability through work and their academic commitments at Cal Poly. Still, each student is different — with unique needs that require a case-by-case approach. 

“My approach is starting where the student is at,” said Martin. “Every student is different and no appointment is the same. Some students are just starting out and the issue at hand is breaking down what it means to have office hours. For others who are farther along in their college career, it’s more about diving into career exploration.” 

Paz, meanwhile, added that being proactive when meeting and working with students is key. Continuing to reach out to students throughout their careers helps the counselors understand new problems as they arise. 

“For me, the practice and advising part is why I wanted to be in this position,” said Paz. “Looking at the student as a whole, at every aspect of what they're going through, and being proactive in following up to them — continually reaching out, checking up, and getting them to come back allows us to assess any new problems.”  

Witnessing Transformations  

At the end of the day, witnessing the transformation of their students from freshmen into seniors ready to enter the world is the most rewarding for the counselors, and the force that keeps them moving from student to student. 

“I just live for getting to know students, hearing where they’re at, what they’re hoping to achieve and seeing them growing during their time here as students,” said Martin. “It’s really exciting to see them grow and get ready to go off into their jobs and careers.” 

“It’s seeing where they started on that first stage as freshmen and that transformation they undergo until they graduate and beyond,” added Baltierrez. “You really get to see these students change as people.” 

Interested in supporting Cal Poly's Educational Opportunity Program and the students it serves? Visit For additional information about EOP, visit

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Virtual Career Services Summer Workshops and Events

This summer, Career Services is pleased to offer several programs to support Cal Poly students and alumni in their career exploration and planning.

To ensure maximum security for our online events, Zoom links can be accessed prior to each event through MustangJOBS powered by Handshake. The full events calendar can also be viewed on the Career Services website.

In addition to programming, individual virtual career counseling appointments are also offered throughout the summer. We also offer many virtual career tools and resources on our website. 

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ASI Virtual Fitness Programming

ASI Recreational Sports will be offering Instagram Live and Zoom fitness classes throughout the summer. See below for the July schedule and be sure to follow ASI on Facebook and Instagram to keep up! You can also head to the ASI website to explore all virtual fitness offerings.


5:30–6 p.m. HIIT with Hannah S. (IG Live + Zoom)
7–8 p.m. Zumba with Henry B. (IG Live)

8:30-9:15 a.m. Barre Connect with Lea B. (IG Live + Zoom)
5-6 p.m. Vinyasa Flow with Liz C. (IG Live)
7:30-8 p.m. PlyoJam with Christine H. (IG Live)

12:15–1:15 p.m. Hatha Yoga with Victoria K. (IG Live + Zoom)
5:15–6:15 p.m. Power Flow with Jerry C. (IG Live)
6:30–7:30 p.m. Body Combat + Abs with Kristen Y. or Emma B. (IG Live + Zoom)

8:30–9:15 a.m. Barre Connect with Lea B. (IG Live + Zoom)
9:30–10:30 a.m. Vinyasa Flow with Victoria K. (IG LIve + Zoom)
12:15–1 p.m. HIIT with Cindy B. (IG Live)

12:15–1:15 p.m. Barre Connect + Abs with Christiane S. (IG Live + Zoom)
4–5 p.m. Vinyasa Flow with Morgan D. (IG Live) 

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Resource Spotlight: Writing and Learning Center 

The Office of Writing and Learning Initiatives supports student learning and achievement by coordinating a variety of programs and services, including academic preparation and placement in English, the Graduation Writing Requirement, and the Writing and Learning Center. The mission of the Writing and Learning Center is to provide a comprehensive menu of academic resources to support the diverse needs of Cal Poly students. The center offers a unique space for students across disciplines to share writing and learning strategies and collaborate toward meeting the expectations of course assignments. 

At the center, peer learning consultants offer tutoring in any subject to all Cal Poly students. Students can engage in individual and small-group tutoring sessions with trained undergraduate and graduate consultants on any activity, assignment, or exam. These collaborative consultations are student-driven, which means that the learning experience is propelled by the specific questions and individual needs the student(s) brings to the session. Peer consultations are available in multiple locations across campus with the main hub in Kennedy Library, Room 111C. The Writing and Learning Center also offers drop-in hours at the Math Help Hub, where students can work independently on mathematics course assignments with a graduate student math tutor available for support as needed. More information on the Writing and Learning Center’s services is available at

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Summer Quarter Reading Recommendation: “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”

In this book, Beverly Daniel Tatum discusses how we can walk into any racially mixed high school and we will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America. 

Learn more.

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