By Mika Mercado
Junior, agricultural communication major
For the past 26 years, Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) opens its doors to perspective students through a unique program called the 26 Hours Event. Over 80 high school sophomores and juniors attended the event. The program is provided by volunteer students with the Latinos in Agriculture club, under the supervision of Dr. Robert Flores. The two-day event is full of workshops and activities to engage students with hands-on experience of what Cal Poly and CAFES offers them.
Many of these students are minorities and of first-generation backgrounds. An advisor from All Tribes Charter High School in Valley Center, California, said this event helps give her grandsons an idea of university life and the educational opportunities available off the reservation. A Cal Poly alumna, she also commented on the increased diversity in the student population and how Cal Poly feels more welcoming for her grandsons from the reservation and other minority groups.
As for the 26 Hours event, Agriculture Ambassadors helped open the event with ice breakers to help get the students comfortable. Then, faculty all throughout the CAFES departments participated by putting on workshops which ranged from learning about sustainability in soil science with Dr. Chip Appel to animal reproduction with Dr. Fernando Campos-Chillon to robotics with Dr. Liu. Other workshops included solar energy and poultry.
Following the workshops, an open panel of Cal Poly students gave the visiting students an opportunity to ask questions ranging anywhere from college life, social life and financial aid. A fun final touch was learning how to to graft a tree and take it home.
The event was successful and hopefully some of these students from 26 Hours will be at Cal Poly in just a few years!