Cal Poly Pomona Architecture Student Designs 2008 Rose Float

Cal Poly Pomona Architecture Student Designs 2008 Rose Float
Alejandro Angeles, a senior architecture major, created the winning design.

On New Year's Day, the watchful duo of a dragon and a phoenix will represent Cal Poly Universities in their 60th entry in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.  

“Guardians of Harmony,” the winning entry chosen from a design contest in February, was rendered by Alejandro Angeles, a Cal Poly Pomona senior architecture major. Angeles, who hails from San Marcos, Calif., will receive a $1,000 cash prize for his idea.

In addition to the two mythological creatures, the float depicts traditional Chinese elements such as the Great Wall, a pagoda, cherry blossoms and carp. The float design is in line with “Passport to the World's Celebrations,” the theme of the 119th Rose Parade.

“Cal Poly Pomona has a richness of diversity that is celebrated on campus and we wanted to celebrate this diversity by having a float that was reflective of our appreciation of cultural perspectives,” said Janetta McDowell, senior coordinator of the Office of Student Life & Rose Float. “This float shows the many facets of the Chinese culture as well as the beauty of it all.”

Angeles, who is originally from Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, gained inspiration for the design from a vacation he took to China last summer.  

“I wanted to contribute my ideas and see if an architecture student had a chance of winning this competition seeing how we usually do not have free time to do anything outside architecture,” he said.

Students from the Cal Poly Universities in Pomona and San Luis Obispo have designed, constructed, decorated and financed entries in the Tournament of Roses Parade every year since 1949. Over the years, the floats have received 45 awards, including nine Founder's trophies for the best volunteer-built float.

The two campuses, located approximately 225 miles apart, manage to coordinate the effort to complete the float for each parade. Throughout a 12-month period, the student committees work closely together on their respective portions of the float to ensure it is built to specification.  

Involvement in this project highlights the Cal Poly Universities' learn-by-doing philosophy as students develop these decorative floats from design conception to welding together steel and pasting petals to driving the contraption down Colorado Boulevard.

The San Luis Obispo team transports its half to Cal Poly Pomona where both teams collaborate to complete the project. Just before New Year's Day, the campus community joins the Rose Float team to help them put the finishing floral touches on the float before its debut on Colorado Boulevard.  

To learn more about the Rose Float project or to become a volunteer, visit