By Nadia Urbina and Shannon Hernandez, Nov. 23, 2021

Students had the chance to destress, build friendships and enjoy the outdoors at ASI BEAT’s “Picnic at the Plaza” event hosted on Nov. 17 at the University Plaza.

Students lined up half an hour early to check-in for free picnic blankets, a complimentary charcuterie board and a well-shaded spot on the Old Stable’s lawn.

Jocelyn Chung, ASI’s event lead student supervisor, said they decided to choose the event theme because of the popularity that picnics gained during the pandemic.

ASI served vegan and non-vegan charcuterie boxes for attendees. (Photo Courtesy of Nadia Urbina)

“That was a goal of the event, for students to enjoy themselves and the great outdoors especially with California weather,” said Chung.

Options for food included individually packaged vegan and non-vegan charcuterie boxes which included pretzels, a miniature jar of strawberry jam, fresh berries, dark chocolate, crackers, slices of salami and an assortment of cheese for attendees to munch on.

Attendees involved in the outdoor activities could hear the sounds of the water fountain and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere at Cal Poly Pomona. Pairs of students and groups of friends laughed and engaged in conversation while creating paracord friendship bracelets with materials provided by ASI.

Sociology student Arisbeb Campos attended the event in hopes of having fun before the holidays and finals begin.

“I was looking at my Outlook email and I found out about the event through there. Lately, I’ve been feeling stressed and overwhelmed with midterms and finals, so I saw this event as an opportunity to relax and give myself a break,” said Campos.

The event included an affirmation board to help students feel relaxed and safe. Students were able to write encouraging affirmations related to mental health and getting through finals with an assortment of markers and paper shaped like fall leaves.

ASI student activities assistant Tanish Ramisetty, who worked on the set up for the event, stated that they had the intention of having food and activities that everyone could enjoy.

“Inclusivity and diversity is a big factor at Cal Poly. With everything we do, we try to keep others in mind,” said Ramisetty.

Students Enixe Aguilar (left), Vanessa Amador (middle) and Thalia Aguilar (right) pose during the “Picnic at the Plaza” event. (Photo Courtesy of Nadia Urbina)

For “Picnic at the Plaza,” the RSVP limit was 100 people, with a maximum capacity of 200 which included staff members.

The atmosphere was filled with laughter as friends cozied up on the complimentary picnic blankets along with other students and participated in competitive lawn games such as corn hole and Jenga.

“I was able to hang out with friends I haven’t seen in a while, eat free food and be able to just talk about schoolwork and how it’s been a long semester,” said Campos. “This definitely helped me reset and give me a much needed break this afternoon.”

Students interested can visit the ASI website for information on future virtual and in-person events.

According to Chung, as virtual events start coming to an end, ASI plans to have plenty of outdoor events next semester. Although this was the last in-person event for the semester, students are already looking forward to upcoming events in the new year.

Featured image courtesy of Nadia Urbina.

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