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Cal Poly Universities win big at Rose Parade

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 7:00 am
Victoria Kernen, Staff Writer | 0 comments

Cal Poly Pomona teamed up with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to take on the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade with their sweet take on the “Find Your Adventure” theme.
The “learn by doing” universities started 2016 with their “Sweet Shenanigans” float, which was the schools’ 49th award-winning float. “Sweet Shenanigans” received the Most Beautiful Non-Commercial Float award at the Tournament of Roses.
The Cal Poly schools took on the “Find Your Adventure” theme with a sweet tooth, as they constructed lollipop trees and gummy bears playing in mountains of ice cream for their 68th entry.
The “Sweet Shenanigans” float was picked through a concept contest held every year, in which students and the public submit ideas and concepts in order for the Rose Float leadership team to vote for what it believes will be an award-winning theme.
John Catalano, president of CPP’s Rose Float Organization and a fourth-year mechanical engineer major, said that the students always appreciate whichever award the float earns.
“Anything we win, we are always really happy to get,” said Catalano. “We always love to win ones we haven’t won before.”
This is Catalano’s fourth year volunteering, and he believes that CPP’s involvement in the event is a great representation of the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy.
“This area that we work in has been built over the years by students,” said Catalano about the Rose Float Lab, where the students finish the floats each year.
The students come from different majors and work in the open space that contains moving units in which departments of the organization work. Students also work in a handmade shed that is exposed to the elements — regardless of rain or shine, students stay on schedule.
According to Catalano, the float team is one of the few float builders that work in these types of environments, whereas most of the commercial builders work indoors.
The Cal Poly float is also one of the few floats with an engine that used hydraulics, according to Ryan Martin, a fourth year electrical engineer major and the head of the electronics and animations department.
“We are one of the few float builders that use proportional valve stacks in our float,” said Martin. “Meaning that instead of just opening and closing a valve, we are able to control how open, or how closed it is.”
Martin said it is a way for the float to have nice, fluid movements, instead of really jerky ones. Even so, the Cal Poly schools combine new and old to make the float work in their favor.
Martin also believes that the Rose Float is a great representation of the “learn by doing” motto.
“The Rose Float is definitely a place and opportunity where you actually [do] hands-on work with different equipment, different things and [find] solutions to problems that are actually physical, as opposed to written down on a piece of paper,” said Martin.
Constructing the Rose Float is a very lengthy process for CPP, as it begins a new float as soon as the previous year’s float is finished in December. The following year’s leadership team is chosen, and from there, a theme is picked in February, construction is started in May and CPP comes together with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo mid-October for it to bring its half of the float down.
Audrey Doan, design chair for the CPP committee and a third-year industrial engineering major, said that on top of schoolwork, the students work every Saturday for the whole year — finals weeks being the exception.
“It’s crunch time now that finals are over, and we are here 10 days straight, working like 10 to 12 hours trying to get everything together,” said Doan.
The 10 to 12 days that Doan refers to is known as “Design Week”: a week in which the students work from Dec. 10 all the way through to Dec. 21.
According to Doan, other float builders have the luxury of having a more flexible time frame, where as the Cal Poly students have to fit float building into their school schedules.
“As students, we only have the weekends to work on this because [during] the weekdays we are students,” said Doan. “The other float builders, they do that as a job. That’s their life, [and they] focus 100 percent of their time on it.”
Regardless of the time constraint, CPP students enjoy building and participating in the Tournament of Roses Parade and find that it is worth it.
“Honestly, this program is such an amazing experience because you really take what you learn in the classrooms, and you apply it here in real life,” said Doan.
Since the first float was submitted in 1949, there has not been a year where CPP has not participated.

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