In a city where driving five miles home from work can take an hour, it can be a monumental challenge to get alumni together for a simple happy hour. Eager to take on that challenge, the Los Angeles chapter of the Cal Poly Alumni Association aims to bridge the gap between 11,000-plus alumni spread over 500 square miles.
Their efforts are working. Starting with their event last May at the Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica, the chapter has executed eight successful events in the past eight months, bringing together Cal Poly alumni from Hollywood to West Hills and everywhere in between.
“The Mustang Wine Mixer was a great partnership between our chapter and alumni-owned Rebel Coast Winery,” said chapter President Robin Garcia (B.S., Business Administration, ’11). “It reignited our presence in the area and was a perfect location for networking after work.”
Since the wine mixer, the Los Angeles chapter has hosted a beach day, a mixer at the Pasadena Art Walk, and a meet-up at the Los Angeles Zoo. They’ve even cheered on the Cal Poly basketball team at games against UCLA and USC. In the spirit of Learn by Doing, Garcia said the chapter is taking the year to experiment with events and locations.
“Every time we do a new event, we pick up more alumni who want to get involved. They just happen to live in different areas of Los Angeles, so our reach grows and grows,” Garcia said.
One tried-and-true event that needs no experimentation is the annual decorating day with the Cal Poly Rose Float student volunteers, held last year on Dec. 27.
“It’s a great way to work side-by-side with the students — our future alumni,” Garcia said.
Each event brings something new to the table and attracts a different segment of Southern California’s Mustang community. Next on the docket are a Dodgers game and a networking event featuring student-run (or created) small businesses born out of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“With so many networking and professional activities in the works, we’ll always offer a good mix of events,” Garcia said. “Whatever you’re looking for, we’ll have a little bit of it for you.”
Connect with Los Angeles area alumni on Facebook and LinkedIn, or update your contact info at alumni.calpoly.edu to find your local chapter.