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mustang traditions

Since our founding in 1901, Cal Poly has developed many traditions and rituals. Learn more about the experiences that help our students create fond memories and become Mustangs for life.

Week of Welcome Groups getting orientated on campus


A 60+ year tradition, our nationally-acclaimed Week of Welcome (WOW) is a fun and memorable way to get acquainted with the campus.

Week of Welcome

Students hiking the P

The P

Originally constructed in 1919, The P is a recognized symbol of campus. A popular hike, the P is also often decorated to spell out messages. 

The P

Man heading ball at Cal Poly vs. UCSB soccer game

The Blue-Green Rivalry

Since meeting for the first time in 1921, the rivalry between our beloved Mustangs and the UCSB Gauchos has only intensified. 

Blue-Green Rivalry

Einstein statue

Einstein Statue

A newer fixture on campus, Einstein sits outside the Baker Center and is a great spot for pictures and to gain a little luck by rubbing his head before an exam.

Einstein Statue

Members of the Mustang Band performing at Open House

Open House

Carrying on the tradition started with Poly Royal in 1933, our annual Open House showcases Cal Poly to new students, their families and the community.

Open House

Woman swinging on Serenity Swing

Serenity Swing

At the top of Poly Canyon, the Serenity Swing has the best seat in the house to enjoy sweeping views of San Luis Obispo County and the campus.  

Serenity Swing

Student decorating the Rose float

Rose Float 

In partnership with Cal Poly Pomona, we have been designing and building innovative floats for Pasadena’s annual Rose Parade since 1949.

Rose Float

Students setting up structures in Poly Canyon

Poly Canyon

Poly Canyon has been the home to many generations of student projects and large-scale experimental structures. Every spring, it is also home to the annual Design Village competition. 

Architecture Graveyard

Students bowling at the on-campus bowling alley

Bowling Class

Our campus is home to our own bowling alley and with that, comes the opportunity to take a class to fill some extra credit hours. 

Mustang Lanes

Students at Farmers Market in downtown SLO

Farmers Market

San Luis Obispo's internationally renowned Farmer’s Market stretches 5 blocks and is a mixture of local produce, live music and quirkiness.

Farmers Market

Students sitting around a bonfire at the beach at night

Bonfires on the Beach

A warm fire, cool ocean air and a group of good friends. With the ocean 10 miles away from campus, it's a regular occurrence.

Students relaxing and playing volleyball on Dexter lawn

Dexter Lawn

Whether you are looking for a place to play a quick game or take a quick nap, Dexter Lawn is the definite go-to.  

Students hiking the P as part of the Tri Tip Challenge

Tri-Tip Challenge

Take the Tip-Tip Challenge and hike three of San Luis Obispo’s most popular trails (Bishop Peak, Madonna Mountain and the Cal Poly P). Celebrate your endeavor with a tri-tip sandwich. 

Student working on architecture senior project

Senior Projects

Senior Projects are a rite of passage that allows our students to integrate the skills and knowledge they have learned into one final project. 

Senior Projects

Group of students eating donuts

Midnight Donut Run

What’s better during a long night of studying than a 3 a.m. donut run?! Good thing they are open 24 hours.