College Students and Community Members

To end this blog, I decided to center my final multimedia project around the coexistence of college students and community members in a small town like San Luis Obispo. To my surprise, the results were NOTHING like I expected. Turns out, everyone gets along just fine… and are happy sharing this little beach town together. Check out the video below to find out what people have to say.



Xerox Vice President Speaks at Cal Poly

On Tuesday, November 15th, Vice President of the Graphic Communications Industry for Xerox, Gina Testa, came to speak at Cal Poly. Her presentation was focused on women in the business world, emerging trends in consumer habits, and future technologies that will improve overall communication through graphics.

Many students attended the presentation to get an inside look to possible future career opportunities, and to hear how professionals, like Gina, came to be where they are today. Fourth year Graphic Communications student, Taylor Aronson, said, “I do get extra credit for being here, but I would have come on my own anyways. Its really cool that we get opportunities like this through our major. I’m really hoping to learn more about how to get involved with Xerox and to network a little bit.”

Over 50 Graphic Communications students attended the Xerox presentation. In the picture above, students listen to GrC Department Head, Harvey Levonson, introduce Gina Testa.

Gina Testa opened her presentation with her position as a woman on the Executive board of Xerox. She predicts that the currently male dominated print industry will soon change to reflect the growing female talent. She also noted the Xerox has the first African American Woman to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; which adds to the company culture of diversity and open mindedness as it relates to gender issues in the workplace.

After presenting on women in the workforce, Gina spoke about emerging trends for reaching the customer; a topic that greatly pertains to many of the Graphic Communications students and their classes. “It used to be really easy to get in touch with customers,’ said Testa,’there were only three channels on TV. Today, the quest for mindshare is a game.”

According to Testa, the number one goal is that we need to be collaborative. We need to understand the strategies of marketing department, as the company is no longer the one in the driver seat and the consumer is the one the ultimately controls the market. Our biggest challenge will be changing the current business model to reflect the need for a change of focus; and an addition of social media marketing.

Pertaining to the printing industry directly, there has been a recent decrease in the amount of printed materials, but a growth in the digital printing industry. According to Testa, joining the two together is the best means for success. “No one technology has the capability to dominate on its own. We need to learn to merge personalized printed materials, with online journalism, with digital printed technologies, and add in some social media networking to be really successful. Successful companies offer everything that the customer wants, and will reach the customer every way they possibly can.”

In the future, Gina predicts immense growth in cloud technology. “This will be the biggest new technology, by far,’ said Testa, ‘I’m telling you this now. Learn it now, and watch for it.” Testa also suggests that while print on its own it critical, we need to work on other value added skills to be successful. Before ending her presentation, Gina offered her five tips for success in the working world.

  1. Learn to communicate, and learn to communicate in new ways. If kids are gaming, add games to your marketing plan.
  2. Improve continuously; stay focused on what is important and adapt to continuously reach your goals. 
  3. Invest in strategic partnerships.
  4. Learn to respond quickly and effectively
  5. Learn. Period. Never stop learning. 

Gina Testa graduated from Colgate University with a degree in English and an MBA in Economics, Statistics and Finance. According to Testa, even though her undergraduate degree focused wholly on English, having an educational background in Finances has greatly helped her move forward as a woman in the working world. Said Testa, “over the years I’ve come to realize that what you learn is one thing; how you apply it is another.”

Gina started working at Xerox as an intern 25 years ago, and credits internships as the best the way to network and the only was to snag a successful job out of college. Said Testa, ” Recent interns have really helped to build our recent Social Media Plan. There’s no way that I, or any of my older coworkers, know how to do it – and thats why interns are useful. I’ll hire anywhere from one to four interns at a time. Its the only way to test someone and not be trapped into having to fire them if their work isn’t up to par; and if it is – they’ll get a job offer.”

Many Cal Poly students who attended the presentation did so for networking opportunities, and were pleased by the overall presentation. Fourth year Graphic Communications student Michaela Tutor said, “I came here really hoping to get an inside look in to my future career path. As a woman with a GrC degree, it’s inspiring to see what opportunities are out there, and its really helpful to hear what choices she made, and the challenges she faced into getting where she is today. I was really happy with what I saw today… and I got a sweet new backpack.”

Graphic Communications Senior, Michaela Tutor, shows off her new Xerox backpack, a gift given to those who attended the presentation.

In’s and Out’s of Craigslist

Everyone knows that the go-to way to find a new place to live, or a person to live with, is Craigslist. Craigslist is a website dedicated to providing local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events. Since the search can be done locally, Craigslist is a really useful tool for finding a living accommodations in your area.

I have had first hand experience with using Craigslist and would consider it a success story. My sophomore year at Cal Poly I was all set with four roommates and a lease signed to live in Carhill Apartments on Foothill Boulevard. It was about to be a dream year; four best friends and our own place to live. Life couldn’t get any better. Until September 1st, FOUR days before we were set to move into the new place. One of my four roommates decided she wasn’t going to come back to Cal Poly, so that left three of us with a four-person house; and not to mention a four-person rent that was about to be split three ways. Since the price of the rent went from affordable to nothing but, we decided to look on Craigslist for a roommate to fill the void. Before doing any searching, we sat down as roommates to write out some agreeable ground rules for our search. it went a little something like this:

1. Had to be a female; there were already three of us and we were sharing bathrooms

2. Had to be a student; we wanted to make sure that she was our age and would respect our studying

3. We preferred a Cal Poly student so we would be on the same schedule for finals, etc. – but we weren’t took picky about that

4. Before we signed or agreed on anything, we HAD to meet them in person, and we had to be together.

5. It had to be a unanimous agreement.

That was pretty much all we had decided upon when starting our initial search; and we figured that anything else could be felt out when we met in person. So we set out; and we got lucky.

We met our roommate through Craigslist; she was our year, a Cal Poly student, and had also had her presumed roommate decide not to come back to Cal Poly. Things worked out perfectly and she fit right in.

Now that we know the selling points for writing a successful post, or reading one, I’ve decided to help you navigate through the actual website.

Here’s how it goes.

To Search:

1. Go to

2. Select your State and City

3. Choose from the many different options for housing (see below)

4. Start looking!

To Post:

Step 1: go to

Step 2: sign up for an account, and follow the steps (e-mail verification and accepting terms and conditions)

Step 3: click on “my account”

Step 4: click on “new post”

Step 5: type away and let the search begin!

Brenna Collins, junior Journalism major used Craigslist to find a roommate when she and her friends had to sublease when another roommate went abroad. “It’s actually a really easy website to use, and I was surprised how fast we were really able to find someone to live with. She was super cool and easy to live with. I was also surprised and how many “normal” people were on the website… if that doesn’t sound weird.”

Tam Lee, Junior transfer student, who attended SBCC but now attends Cal Poly, used Craigslist to find a house to live in when she moved into the area. “My parents wouldn’t let me live in a house by myself, and I didn’t really know a lot of people who went to Cal Poly, so I decided to go on Craigslist. It took me a little longer than I thought because I wanted to make sure that I saw every house that I was interested in. It made the process longer but at least I knew where I was going. Overall it worked really well, though.”

Rick Hill, owner and landlord of the Carhill Apartments, also had good things to say about Craigslist. “I always put my apartment rentals on Craigslist. I mean, thats how I found you girls. I’ll always be picky with tenants, but its definitely the easiest way to get information out there – and it’s kept me in business for 15 years!”

My last tip of Craisglist: don’t be afraid to let your personality fly – here’s a housing listing that was SO funny, even the Huffington Post picked it up.

Craigslist is used A LOT in college towns, since there are always roommates coming leaving, students going abroad, students transferring in, and more. Some of the most popular places to live in SLO are also on Craigslist – so be sure to use the website as a tool for finding an apartment as well, not just a roommate.

Good luck!

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Sophomore Selections – Second Year in SLO

So we’ve looked into what it’s like living in the Cal Poly Dorms, but then comes the next big question – what to do after? Most students opt for apartments or condos around town, and some even go straight to living in a house on nearby streets.

Finding that first apartment or house is always a stressful time, as most renters are hesitant to rent to young, inexperienced homeowners. Not to mention finding the group of roommates to sign the lease with.

I decided it would be a good idea to take a poll of the most popular places to live as a sophomore in SLO. I sat at the downtown Starbucks for an hour, and in the Cal Poly UU for an hour, asking people where they chose to live and why. Here are the results…

Out of 25 people…

11 lived in Poly Canyon

6 lived in Mustang Village

5 lived in Lee Arms

2 lived in Cedar Creek

1 lived in Carhill

Now that we know the most popular places, lets look deeper into the Top 3 and see why they’re really so awesome.

Number 1: Poly Canyon Village

According to Jeff Magnuson, sophomore Earth Sciences student, who currently lives in Poly Canyon, it’s really not all that great. “I don’t really like it actually. It sucks. Because we keep getting in trouble, the violations are just too much for second year students. We’re all 20 years old. And its actually really antisocial… we have an interesting mix of people living there.”

Then why is it so popular? Because it’s easy. And it’s right on campus. Says Magnuson, “all we really had to do was fill out a form and turn it in. All my other friends were paying last months rent and doing inspections and setting up water bills and stuff like that, we didn’t have to. I can also wake up like ten minutes before my class too.”

Learn more about Poly Canyon at

Number 2: Mustang Village

Located right off of Foothill Boulevard is Mustang Village, the second favorite in the poll. According to, there are a variety of floor plans that are available for students, ranging from one-bedroom studios, rented for about $750/month,  all the way up to 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom townhouse, renting for about $640 per month. Mustang Village also offers a basketball court, pool, recreation center, and a study room.

According to Alex DeVries, senior Business Finance student, who lived in Mustang Village as a sophomore, “I liked being able to walk so close to the Business building… it was just across the train tracks. I lived in the nice ones, they were newly furnished so it was really nice inside. I also didn’t have to share a room which was really nice.”

Number 3: Cedar Creek

Sarah McAtee, Sophomore at Cuesta Junior College, lives in Cedar Creek. Says McAtee, “they have a pool so that’s really fun because it’s been so hot. There’s also a lot of people who live there so it’s a very social place to live and I have fun meeting my neighbors. There’s always something going on so I’m never bored either. I’m just excited to finally be living out of the dorms and on my own!”

Cedar Creek is located off of Stenner street, across the California train tracks. Typical floor plans are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, but have enough room to sleep four people; two in each room. Some rentals within Cedar Creek are available through Farrell Smyth Rental Company, and others are privately owned, so obtaining an apartment might be a little more difficult in this complex.

Check out the Map below for directions, locations and more information about the other Apartment Complexes that made the list for Sophomore year living!

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Cal Poly Sound Project

We’ve heard a bit about places to live on-campus and around SLO; now here’s a little taste of what you might hear when walking around campus. Enjoy!

Second Year SLO Livin’

Once you’ve lived in the dorms at Cal Poly and have experienced the good old “dorm life,” its time to move on… but to where? Here is a map of the most popular places that second year students choose to live.




Freshman Dorms: The Inside Scoop

Stephen Berger, freshman mechanical engineering student enjoys his Cup-o-Noodles

We’ve all been there… most of us, at least. Sitting at our computers waiting for the e-mail that holds the golden information so crucial to the beginning of our college career, the e-mail that tells us what dorm we’re going to be living in, and who are going to be forced to occupy overlapping space with for 285 days.

Moving into the dorms is an overwhelming and exciting experience. Everyone is carrying loads and loads of paraphernalia into the buildings at the same time, trying to sort out who gets what size of the room and who gets the better closet space. (This part is much harder for girls, as you might expect – priority closet space is a big deal).

So, you’ve moved in your stuff and laid out the blue tape on the floor designating “your side,” but now what? You’ve found yourself in some type of hotel-esque living quarters surrounded by people you have never met before, all of whom are trying to make the place their home too.

So we’ve asked for some advice. Advice from three very different people, and from three people who will give real, experienced, and legal knowledge that you’ll need to know when living in the dorms.

Freshman Engineering student Brooke Bernardy, and current resident of the Sierra Madre Tower at Cal Poly, gives us her “Top 10” list of “Things You Need to Know When Living in the Dorms.”

  1. Bring instant oatmeal – It’s handy for every meal
  2. Bring trash bags, the garbage cans get really gross and it makes it easier to take out the trash
  3. Nyquil is a necessity
  4. Sleeping-Eye masks come in really handy
  5. Don’t ride your bike. Riding up the Cal Poly hills on a bike with your backpack is not possible
  6. Priscilla, the cleaning lady, is a bitch. Just stay out of the way
  7. Also stay away from the gravy at VGs café
  8. Cars WILL NOT stop for you in the crosswalk
  9. Hide alcohol behind ice cream tubs
  10. SLO tap water is gross

So we’ve heard from a true freshman, someone who is going through the motions of living in the dorms as we speak. To contrast Brooke’s advice, I decided to get a “Top 10” list from some senior Cal Poly boys, asking them what most valuable knowledge they took away from living in the dorms four years ago. Here is what Nick McCracken, senior Architecture student, and Michael Franceschi, senior Business Finance student, had to say:

  1. Bring a vaporizer. It’s smokeless, so when you smoke weed no one can see it or smell it
  2. Buy only opaque water bottles to hide your alcohol
  3. Never buy hot sauce and utensils, you can steal both from VGs
  4. Make a privacy schedule with your roommate
  5. Become friends with the girls on the second floor
  6. Take your second floor girls friends to your Fraternity party
  7. Then, take your second floor girl friends and show them your dorm room
  8. Always use the handicap shower
  9. The closet door doubles as a beer pong table

There you have it boys… and girls; experienced advice from two senior boys who have been through it all. If you want the down and dirty facts and secrets, I suggest talking to the seniors.

For the last point of view on dorm living, I had to talk to an RA, or Residence Assistant, too see what Advice she had to give.

Ryanne Haught, sophomore Recreation major and Resident Assistant, gave me her best “Top 10” suggestions for living in the dorms AND pleasing your RA.

  1. Participate in all dorm activities!
  2. Always wear shower shoes
  3. Open your window if you fart, it’s polite
  4. Please stay quiet past 10!
  5. Don’t leave trash in the common room, I have to clean it
  6. Be respectful of you roommate and neighbors
  7. Have fun!
  8. Practice safe sex
  9. Don’t forget your key… I don’t like getting extras
  10. Don’t hate me.

Now that you’ve been given the “Top 10s” from every different viewpoint, you’re set to go for living in the Cal Poly dorms.

Freshman boys entertain themselves with an afternoon game of Call of Duty. Since so many rooms were converted to "triples," students are forced to get creative with room set-up and TV seating.

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Sneak Peak: Sorority Houses

I come from a long line of Greek-members in my family; I’m a fourth generation Greek to be exact. My great grandparents were all involved in Fraternities and Sororities at University of Washington. My Grandmother was a Tri-Delta, my Dad was a Sigma Chi, and my Mom was an Alpha Delta Pi at UCSB.

All of them – every single one – lived in their Fraternity and Sorority houses.

So when I began looking really into what it means to live inside a sorority house, I wanted to look past just the stereotypes and give a true to the core answer about what its really like. Sure, I can investigate in my own sorority house and ask my friends what its like living in theirs. But even more interesting are the stereotypes that surround Sorority houses. It’s almost like no one knows what goes on behind the closed doors of SLO Sorority houses. I was sitting at Starbucks in the UU studying with a friend from class, when we started a generic conversation about life. Soon enough, it leaked that I lived in Gamma Phi Beta and he proceeded to directly ask me, “is it true that you guys just make margaritas there all the time and tan by the pool?”


I decided to check out the stereotypes for myself and went on a mission to prove whether or not they’re actually true.

According to

“Seriously, all those movies and books have it wrong. No, Sorority Row, we do not throw giant foam parties in our formal sitting room (my House Mom would spontaneously combust). Sorry, we are not having, “naked parties”, and not all of sorority housing is glamorous (I’m a 21 year old woman who sleeps in a bunk bed). Hell, we aren’t even allowed to have guys upstairs (ever)! Turns out, this rumor has been circulating for quite some time. Richard Roeper commented in the Chicago Sun Times that it was “the most widespread piece of university folklore making the rounds.” That was in 1994, and not much has changed.”

Heres is your chance to see the down and dirty real side of Sorority living in SLO. Here you go, see for yourself…

You saw it. Living in a sorority house is pretty much the same as living in any other house, except multiplied by 18 girls.

Dishes get forgotten. Food goes bad in the fridge. No one makes beds (sorry, Mom!) Girls study.

Yeah, it was fun to research the stereotypes of living inside a sorority house.  But then I though of something even more interesting… I wanted to know how sorority houses have changed over the generations.

Step 1. Call Grandma.

According to Grandma, her sorority house had a live-in House Mom, which only two of the Sorority houses in SLO have today. The House Mom was responsible for cooking and cleaning every meal, and my grandma remembers “walking downstairs in the morning to a fresh cooked egg and toast.”

“You know, Heavens, I never could really figure out how she was able to cook all those eggs and keep them all warm for all of us girls. I can barely make two for me and Grandpa.”

Step 2. Call Mom

Mom’s experience seems much more similar to the experiences here in SLO. 50 girls living inside what was explained as similar to a giant hotel in Santa Barbara. My mom had a House Mom too – the women who took care of the cooking and cleaning. Except in my Moms house, they had a giant industrial kitchen where no one was allowed. “It was almost like this secret place where you would kind of sneak in and look around, but you could never really figure out where all the food came from.”

Moms experience also included many more “ADPranks” with girls filling the bathroom stalls with shoes to make it seem like the stall were always full, and putting wigs in beds to simulate sleeping strangers.

What is different about my Moms sorority, and is characteristic of many houses across the country, is the sheer size of the house. Here in SLO, Alpha Phi’s sorority house can sleep the most girls, at 25. Some houses in the South, and even in places like Boulder, Colorado, have sorority houses that sleep 50-100 girls.

It seems like some things have definitely changed over the generations, but the stereotypes really haven’t at all. While I basically shocked my Grandma by telling her the stereotypes that are in place today, my Mom just laughed and said that she’d heard it all. Now you have it – True Life: Living in a Sorority House. My conclusion: At least it here in SLO, it’s not what the movies make it out to be.

Next Stop. Fraternities.

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