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Cal Poly float wins Past Presidents Trophy at 2018 Rose Parade

Cal Poly universities’ milestone 70th float, “Dreams Take Flight,” received the Past Presidents Trophy for the most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials at the 129th Rose Parade held New Year’s Day in Pasadena, CA. It was one of 44 floats in the parade, according to a news release.

“This year’s float flies high on a history built on ‘Learn by Doing’ stretching back seven decades,” said Cal Poly president Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Just like their counterparts who made history with the inaugural 1949 float, “Dreams Take Flight” is yet another example of what Cal Poly students offer the world: creativity, technical know-how, leadership, a proven work ethic and a love of life.”

CAL-POLY-FLOATThe Cal Poly 2018 Rose Parade float was designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly’s San Luis Obispo and Pomona campuses.Since the fall of 1948, students from San Luis Obispo and Pomona have come together across 240 miles to produce the float — one of only six self-built entries — for Pasadena’s signature event. Since then, the two schools’ entries have earned more than 50 awards, including the 2017 Founders’ Trophy for the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization.

This year’s float concept —designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Pomona —was selected from more than 100 ideas submitted last spring by students, local communities, alumni and friends of the Cal Poly Rose Float program.

During Decorations Week in Pasadena, the float was adorned with thousands of colorful blooms, including 10,000 roses, 10,000 Gerbera daisies, 12,000 chrysanthemums and 1,000 irises.

Additionally, a combination of dry and fresh materials was used, including dried coconut and baby’s breath, Ti leaves, statice, ilex berries and strawflowers.

The schools were also honored for their commitment to California’s flower farmers. It’s the seventh consecutive year the float has earned the “California Grown” designation from the California Cut Flower Commission, which recognizes an entry decorated with at least 85 percent of cut flowers and plant materials from the Golden State.

The Cal Poly universities’ float had about 97 percent of cut flowers and plant materials from California, including white and lavender statice grown by students on the San Luis Obispo campus.

Cal Poly’s ‘Learn by Doing’ culture is exemplified in all facets of the float program, as students from throughout all six of the university’s colleges get hands-on experience welding, metal shaping, machining, foam carving, woodworking, painting and flower harvesting — ultimately competing against professional float builders with corporate sponsorships.

“This is a fantastic award, not one that we’ve ever won before,” said Josh D’Acquisto, Cal Poly’s Rose Parade float advisor.

“It’s huge. The students put an exceptional amount of planning and effort into their floral plan this year creating a fading effect from the front of the float to the rear, where it’s faded from yellow to orange to peach to pink to purple in this fantastic blend of roses and Gerbera daisies. I think that played into it,” D’Acquisto added.

“We’re pumped,” said mechanical engineering major Sara Novell, the engine operator who rode on the float with a team of other students.