For Megan Lester (Graphic Communication, ’00), the choice to spend time with fellow Cal Poly alumni is a no-brainer.
“Obviously, we all made the great decision to attend Cal Poly,” she says. “All of the people I’ve met who went to Cal Poly are good, smart people, and who doesn’t need more of those in their life?”
That’s why Lester has been so busy bringing those people together as president of the Orange County chapter of Cal Poly alumni. In the past year, the chapter has hosted 16 different events, far more than the average chapter. Basketball mixers, hikes and spin classes, improv comedy shows, pub quiz nights, dinners and barbeques — there is something for every Mustang in the Orange County area to enjoy.
Approximately 5,000 alumni live and work in Orange County. Roughly 500 of those attended an Orange County Chapter event last year, and that number should grow in 2017. Lester attributes that turnout in part to the sheer volume of events the chapter hosts. “If we host at least an event a month, then you’re more likely to be able to make it to at least one to two events a year,” she says.
Past vice-president of the chapter, Scott Cooper (Business Administration, 91) was part of a group of alumni that started one of the first big events in the area — an annual fall mixer. He’s seen that event and others grow in the last year.
“I’ve watched in awe and appreciation of what Megan is doing,” he said. “I think we’ve really appealed to a much broader group, and let’s face it, we should all know as many Cal Poly people as possible.”
With one in ten Orange County alumni attending an event last year, the chapter is well on their way to establishing that large network they’re looking for. On the books already for 2017: a ski trip to Mammoth Mountain, more sporting events, and a repeat of the chapter’s successful Fork ‘N’ Bottle Scholarship Fundraiser coming up on March 2.
“Organizing our first big fundraiser was really important to us,” Lester said. “It gives alumni a chance to give back and to know their money was going directly to help a student at Cal Poly.”
To find your local chapter or to connect with Orange County area alumni, go to Facebook, LinkedIn and update your contact info at alumni.calpoly.edu.