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Campus and Community

New Student Housing Community Names Honor the Northern Chumash Tribe

Cal Poly has named its new student housing community yakʔitʸutʸu, in honor of the Northern Chumash tribe of San Luis Obispo. In addition, the residence halls located within the complex have been named in recognition of local Chumash heritage. The buildings will bear the names of tribal sites throughout the Central Coast: elewexe, nipumūʔ, tiłhini, tsʰɨtqawɨ, tšɨłkukunɨtš, tsɨpxatu and tsɨtkawayu.

“The yakʔitʸutʸu housing complex serves as a symbol of community and celebrates Cal Poly’s partnership with the Northern Chumash of San Luis Obispo,” said university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “I look forward to working with the Chumash to grow our relationship and support student success for years to come.”

Leah Mata, a tribal member who worked closely with Cal Poly’s housing staff to name the development, said, “We view the Cal Polyhousing project as a partnership between the yak titʸu titʸu tribe and Cal Poly. Our goal is to provide a narrative using our own voice and world view to share how we view our places that matter.”

Located at the Grand Avenue entrance to campus, the yakʔitʸutʸu housing community remains under construction and is set to open in fall 2018. The complex will house 1,475 freshmen beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.

Once complete, the 12-acre site will include a welcome center, retail space and open space with nature walking paths, among other amenities. The LEED-certified housing development will also feature a roof-mounted 1.1 megawatt solar system.

“The yakʔitʸutʸu housing development will be a welcome addition to the Cal Poly campus,” said Keith B. Humphrey, vice president for student affairs. “As a result of this partnership, future generations of Cal Poly students and local residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the Northern Chumash of San Luis Obispo and the native land on which Cal Poly sits.”

Jo Campbell, assistant vice president for student affairs and executive director of university housing, said, “It has been an honor to work in partnership with the yakʔitʸutʸu project team and others in telling the story of the native land and people. It is such a rich learning opportunity for the students who will live there and for the entire community.”

For more information about the yakʔitʸutʸu housing community, including pronunciations for individual building names, visit