For 36 years, Cal Poly's Community Service Awards have been presented to students, faculty, staff, and community partner agencies for their contributions to the quality of life in San Luis Obispo and their spirit of civic engagement.
Awards are given to highlight specific achievements in service. The awards are selected on the basis of the written nomination by a panel of faculty, staff and students. President Armstrong personally recognizes award recipients for their efforts. For a list of previous award recipients please click here. Stay tuned for information about the 37th annual Cal Poly Community Service Awards which will be held in Spring 2023!
Last Year's 2022 Winners
Isabell Chavez & William Andrews
Significant Contribution - Student Team
Students Isabell Chavez and William Andrews have been awarded the Service Learning – Student Team Award for their collaboration with San Luis Obispo community partners to help secure an $18 million grant for San Luis Obispo County. The grant is for community members who, for decades, have expressed the need for an active transportation project to connect Avila Beach and South County to the city of SLO. The grant has finally been secured in large part due to the data and critical insights from Isabell and William’s work. As a result, a collaboration between Bike SLO County, the Land Conservancy of SLO, and the County is being formed to offer bike education courses with free bikes at the Octagon Barn, a trailhead for the BJT. Thanks to these wonderful students and their faculty advisors and collaborators, the grant is secured, the project is now fully funded, and will soon provide a safe route for everyone.
Alpha Phi Omega
Significant Contribution - Student Organization
Alpha Phi Omega has received the Significant Contribution, Student Organization Award for their continuous service and support in the San Luis Obispo community. This co-ed service fraternity does honorary service with the community. We would like to recognize chapter members Lindsey Amaro, William Miller, and Sam Smith. Lindsey Amaro and other Alpha Phi Omega members are "regulars" and have become part of the welcoming, inclusive environment in the Cal Poly Food Pantry. William Miller, Vice President of Service for Alpha Phi Omega, started the Little Free Library project which he donated to Teach Elementary in the hopes of combating textbook inequities. He also collaborated with the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Chorro Creek Bird Pipeline to fill pipes with concrete caps that would prevent endemic and endangered birds from getting stuck. He worked on solar panel installations with Sunwork, and raised over $4,000 for the Nature Conservancy. We would also like to give Sam Smith, co-service Vice President, an honorable mention for their hard work and dedication to the Alpha Phi Omega organization and all the good work that this organization does.
Significant Contribution - Faculty
Dr. Ryan Alaniz has been awarded the Significant Contribution – Faculty Award for serving our community from a broad range of interests and passions. A member of the original cohort of our SL Faculty Fellow program, not only does Dr. Alaniz get students out into our community to serve through his classes, but he puts service into practice in his personal time, as well. From environmental causes to serving those who are among the most disenfranchised in our society, Dr. Alaniz has worked with gardening and beekeeping associations, served as the criminal justice chair of the local NAACP, and co-chaired the SLO County Sheriff’s Unity Committee, writing the rather notable systemic racism report. To quote his nominator, “in short, he has devoted an extraordinary amount of time to doing community service and equally importantly, his doing so has had a meaningful impact.” Please join me in congratulating this year’s winner of the Significant Contribution – Faculty award, Dr. Ryan Alaniz.
Service Learning - Faculty
The Service Learning – Faculty Award was received by Dr. Brian Self for his devotion to service-learning. He too is a former member of the SL Faculty Fellow program, where faculty design service components to new or existing courses, and thereby imbed service as one of the highest impact practices of Learn by Doing across the curricula. Dr. Self developed and has taught, Access by Design: An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering for about the last four years. In this project-based course, students design and build products for a wide array of local organizations. Dr. Self takes it a step further and asks his students to interview local community members living with disabilities who have benefitted from assistive technology, thus normalizing their experience with people living with disabilities. Dr. Self frequently helps student organizations with designing adaptive technologies to benefit those in our community. He also serves as the advisor for the service club Alpha Phi Omega.
AmeriCorps Member of the Year
Audre Smikle has received the Americorps Member of the Year Award for going above and beyond the average expectations for an AmeriCorps fellow. As the AmeriCorps member for Cal Poly's Black Academic Excellence Center (BAEC), Audre has worked tirelessly to support her students no matter the circumstances. This is clearly evident and you can see the impact she makes through the laughter and joy heard through the halls of Building 52. Her dedication to the center, and ability to multitask is beyond admirable and we believe everyone should know how much of an asset Audre is to our Cal Poly community.
SLO Food Bank & Cal Poly Food Pantry
Outstanding Campus-Community Collaboration
The Outstanding Campus-Community Collaboration Award goes to The entire team at the SLO Food Bank who have been incredible partners with the Cal Poly Food Pantry. In the past, as a partner organization to SLO Food Bank, Cal Poly’s Food Pantry ordered quarterly from the Food Bank. Upon the start of Fall 2021 the unprecedented use of the Food Pantry increased, and the order changed from a monthly order to a recurring weekly order and delivery from the SLO Food Bank. In previous years, the Food Pantry requested close to 30 to 40 kits of monthly groceries. As of this academic year, the Food Panty has been working with the SLO Food Bank to distribute between 150 to 200 kits of groceries each month. The SLO Food Bank has been an incredible resource for the Food Pantry from best health code practices, recipes and nutritionists, to accommodating the pantry’s exponential growth.
Outstanding Community Partner
Hospice of SLO County has been awarded the Outstanding Community Partner Award as it is a vital community non-profit offering supportive services for those with life threatening illness along with compassionate care for those with such illnesses in SLO County. This organization has been a long-time partner with Cal Poly, specifically offering internship and volunteering opportunities for undergraduate students and internship/counseling experience for the Masters of Psychology-counseling program. This year, the Psychology department began offering Psychology of Death, and the instructor reached out to Hospice of SLO County for guest speakers to enhance student learning. In response, they sent a panel of death doulas as well as specialists in at-home and green burials to give guest presentations for the class. When the same instructor, Cal Poly Health and Wellbeing, Counseling Services, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Cal Poly Psychology Club wished to put together a Covid-19 Memorial event for the Cal Poly community, Hospice of SLO County became a valuable partner in the endeavor.