Editor's Desk

Adapting to the Unknown

In a moment when the world changes, Mustangs are ready to change with it.

By Larry Pena
Seen from behind, a man in a green T-shirt faces a computer showing a Zoom meeting.

Editor Larry Peña working from home, as he has every day for the last two months.

When the coronavirus pandemic effectively kicked the Cal Poly Magazine staff off campus two months ago, we were about halfway through production on the spring issue of the magazine. We were working on the usual stuff: stories about research and hands-on learning, fun photos of exciting campus events, profiles of students coming together to do something new and interesting.

For a moment, we thought about going forward with the content we already had lined up. But given the sheer scope of how the pandemic has changed our lives — from the myriad everyday inconveniences to the economic impact to the many thousands of lives lost — this moment felt simply too big to ignore.

At first it seemed like finding stories from the Cal Poly community would be impossible with campus suddenly quiet. But within a week of closing our office and starting to work from home, we were already starting to hear about professors retrofitting hands-on classes to a virtual setting; students revamping projects and presentations; and alumni taking action to address the crisis head-on.

Some of the stories in this issue are from the before-time. But we’ve adjusted to work in plenty of those new stories, featuring Mustangs doing what they do best: whatever it takes to make it work.

It’s never been more clear that the Cal Poly community is united by so much more than our shared experience on campus. It’s our commitment to the idea of Learn by Doing.

Learn by Doing prepares us to face the unknown. It prepares us to adapt when things change. It prepares us for journeys with no roadmaps, experiments with no instructions and problems with no solutions … yet.

That’s why during a time like this, Cal Poly is the best place to be. When the world suddenly changes, Mustangs are the ones most ready to change with it and lead the way into the future.