Guide: Top 5 underrated spots on campus

By Christian Malone, August 29, 2023

Cal Poly Pomona is home to many unique environments and useful facilities spread throughout its sprawling, 1,438-acre campus. While the campus’ size makes it such a diverse and beautiful place, it also means that it is hard to explore everything the campus has to offer.

Beyond the BRIC, the Aratani Japanese Garden and all the other popular spots on campus, there are countless other places that even long-time students and staff may have never visited. Here are five of The Poly Post’s favorite underrated spots to study, sleep, relax and visit on campus.

1. Student Services Building

While the Student Services Building is far from unknown, it houses a few hidden gems most visitors do not often take advantage of. First, the courtyard in the center of the building is perhaps the most underutilized study space on campus. There are three separate seating areas in the courtyard, all of which offer a nearly silent place to study, relax or nap thanks to the tall walls of glass surrounding the courtyard.

Additionally, on the third floor of the building at the end of a long hallway, students can find another small seating area on the roof of the building that doubles as a place to find a great view of the southern end of campus.

Christian Malone | The Poly Post

2. Voorhis Ecological Reserve

When it comes to outdoor recreation on campus, nearly everyone knows of the trail up to the CPP letters. A place far fewer people know about is the network of trails in the Voorhis Ecological Reserve.

From the entrance on Mansion Lane just north of Building 1 and Parking Lot A, students can walk up the trail to find the graffiti-covered remains of a concrete structure that serves as a great place to study, hang out or relax away from the bustling heart of campus. For those willing to walk further, the trail splits into a network of paths that connect to the Kellogg House and Mansion Lane. After taking in the nature, students can walk down Mansion Lane to the sharp curve in the road to unearth a great bird’s-eye view of the campus.

Christian Malone | The Poly Post

3. W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center

Located on Eucalyptus Lane southeast of Parking Structure 1, the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center is the one place on campus where students and visitors alike can get an up-close look at the storied Arabian horses of CPP.

“It’s unfortunate that we get the feeling from some students or faculty that we’re not accessible to them,” said Kelly Piña, an administrative analyst at the center. “It is a little intimidating when you walk up and see the gates closed, but that’s just for the safety of the horses.”

Alongside the center’s traditional Sunday Shows on the first Sunday of each month between October and May, students can also visit the center on their own between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. every weekday to see the horses that give CPP its “Bronco” identity.

Christian Malone | The Poly Post

4. John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies

Perhaps the single most unique place on campus is the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies. The center, which is in the southwestern corner of campus, functions like a museum of sustainability. Alongside housing classrooms and dorms, the center showcases eco-friendly landscaping and architecture. Its livable buildings are perhaps the best example.

“They’re designed and oriented in a way that takes into consideration the sun and the natural environment, so you don’t need air conditioning to be comfortable,” said Kristen Conway-Gómez, a geography professor who teaches a regenerative studies course at the center.

While its remote location has kept it unknown for many people here on campus, it is undoubtedly worth visiting either to get a firsthand look at sustainability or as a unique place to study.

Christian Malone | The Poly Post

5. Rain Bird Rainforest Learning Center

For an even more accessible and exotic taste of nature, look no further than the Rain Bird Rainforest Learning Center (4A). The large glass greenhouse serves as both a place to safely house exotic species from around the world and a place for students to experience at an environment they cannot find anywhere else near CPP.

“We have a posting on the door that says ‘Feel free to come in if the door is unlocked’ because this is for you guys,” said Michelle Terrazino, a horticulture technician at Rain Bird BioTrek.

Alongside countless plants, the center also houses animal ambassadors including a boa constrictor, tokay gecko and two Cuvier’s dwarf caimans. The greenhouse is open whenever staff is available, which is typically between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Luckily, when the greenhouse is closed, students can always walk through the neighboring Rain Bird Ethnobotany Garden to see a collection of plants from across California’s native landscapes.

Christian Malone | The Poly Post

Feature images courtesy of Christian Malone 

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