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Cougars & Mustangs



At Cal Poly this year, April 8 and 9 will be devoted to making the world a better place. There are two major reasons for this, to be shared with you shortly. 

The first is the fourth annual Cal Poly Hackathon, which tasks its participants with collaborating to develop some project—including but not necessarily limited to a website or app—that makes life better for the campus and local communities. The second is the return of Cal Poly’s Tomato Mania Plant Sale. Those with truly refined taste understand just how important the existence of tomatoes is to the well-being of our nation, particularly tomatoes grown by the collegiate student population.

Will these two events collaborate to create the ultimate boon to San Luis Obispo culture? Will YOU? At, you can register for the Hackathon under one of several categories: A marketer/idea person, designer/UX, or developer/engineer. The event isn’t limited to specific disciplines, though you do need to be a Cal Poly student to participate. Teams don’t necessarily need to be established ahead of time, as they will form and then hold brainstorming sessions from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 8. Students may begin working on their projects off site or at one of the available 24-hour on-campus locations. About 10 mentors and judges, many visiting from San Francisco or Los Angeles, will be on hand from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 9 to assist during the creative process and offer advice related to their areas of expertise. When the clock strikes 8 p.m., it will be time for the teams to begin pitching their projects to a panel of judges. This event has led to jobs, internship opportunities, and student startups in the past.

As for Tomato Mania, this is the latest event occurring at the Poly Plant Shop, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 8 and 9. As with previous reports of the shop’s events, the envelope has been pushed even farther this year, with more tomato varieties available for customers than in years past. Moonglow, Beefsteak, Shady Lady, and Alaskan Fancy tomatoes, and more will all be available. This is one of an uncountable number of student-run enterprise projects that Cal Poly boasts as part of its “learn by doing” curriculum, and it’s also a wonderful opportunity to support the next generation of savvy business people. With more than 70 varieties of tomatoes for purchase, there’s something for everybody at the Tomato Mania plant sale.

New Times Contributor Lola White-Sanborn could be a hacker … as a hack, she’s already halfway there! Send her your collegiate news via!

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