Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis sampled fresh orange and red watermelon from the Farm Store, dropped by the Veterans Resource Center and toured the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies during a visit to Cal Poly Pomona.
Kounalakis is no stranger to campus. She spoke at the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences Commencement in May. The Aug. 23 visit marked the second time since graduation that she has come to the campus. She serves on the CSU Board of Trustees and is making stops at all 23 campuses.
While at the Lyle Center, the lieutenant governor chatted with students about their research on natural cooling systems for dwellings. She also popped into a classroom of students from diverse majors who were studying the effects of climate change, sharing that she was once an ambassador to Hungary and how forward thinking the country was regarding climate change.
Kounalakis talked about how California hopes to lead the nation on the issue, adding that although the United States is no longer a part of the Paris Climate Accords, the state plans to maintain the agreement’s standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is it. California is ground zero to do something about it in the United States, so march on,” she said.
Kounalakis also visited the College of Business Administration for a presentation that included a screening of a video touting the benefits of a polytechnic education, discussions about the university’s progress on the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025 and information about the ways Cal Poly Pomona is tapping technology and other measures to create a framework of success for students.
University President Soraya M. Coley shared how staff and faculty provide ample opportunities for students to work across disciplines.
“Students will not be successful without being broadly educated,” Coley said. “That is what distinguishes our polytechnic approach. We don’t want our students to be so singularly focused.”
During her tour, Kounalakis also heard presentations from students in the College of Business who run the Mitchell C. Hill Center for Applied Business Information Technology and at AgriScapes on projects such as the use of unmanned air vehicle to monitor crops.
She also had an opportunity to sample sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres at the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch and hear about how The Collins College of Hospitality Management plans to add a new culinary lab building for students that will include updated kitchen equipment
“We really want to provide the top-level, innovative experience for students,” Dean Lea Dopson said.
She also learned how the college works hard to ensure students are ready for the work place when they graduate.
Kounalakis said she was impressed by the internships and other career-related opportunities afforded to Collins students.
“You are providing students with the ability to go out and get a job, especially for a lot of these young people who come from families where that kind of connection is important,” she said. “It is so clear when you do a program like this that there is a career component, that you have the right training for it. So, it must be really gratifying.”