By Caden Merrill, Nov. 16, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona’s Academic Senate meeting on Nov. 10 discussed measures intended to strengthen the Basic Needs Task Force’s reach across campus, detailing how the university would advance Basic Needs’ mission in helping students who are homeless or facing housing or food insecurity.

Director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence Victoria Bhavsar, representing the task force and the Basic Needs Ally Program, announced that the organization would continue its Ally Training initiative from last year. The training is open to faculty, staff and student leaders wanting to support struggling students, and it allows volunteers to show that support in various ways.

Fresh produce is available at the campus’ Poly Pantry. (Darren Loo | The Poly Post)

“As a special kind of incentive for participants, we are going to offer the opportunity for participants to write a personal note to students who are going to be picking up Basic Needs kits,” Bhavsar said. “You can write a note of care, and sort of dedicate a Basic Needs kit yourself to a student recipient by going through this training. So not only do you get the information from the training, but you reach out and make a personal connection, at least so that that student who gets your kit knows that you care, and you are someone who is interested in their success.”

Although the first training session occurred on Nov. 15, two more sessions will occur in February 2022. Those interested in becoming a Basic Needs Ally can register for the training on Basic Needs’ website via myBAR.

In other business, Coordinator of the Safer Return Task Force and Assistant Vice President of Government and External Affairs Frances Teves presented updated statistics on campus COVID-19 vaccination rates and cases.

As of Nov. 10, 83.2% of the campus community is vaccinated, while 93.6% of the campus community has complied with the California State University’s interim vaccination policy. In terms of positive COVID-19 cases, Cal Poly Pomona’s public health testing site reported a 0.2% positivity rate. Teves remarked that the campus community is taking the proper precautions to maintain safety, additionally commenting how students, staff and faculty can safely return to campus after traveling for the holidays.

“We will continue to offer voluntary testing to students and employees who are not required to, but would like to test, and we do encourage folks to test if they travel or gather,” Teves said. “With face coverings, we are seeing a lot of great compliance from our students, including outdoors, where face coverings are not required.”

Teves also acknowledged that Cal Poly Pomona has greatly improved preparing classrooms and physical environments on campus for larger amounts of people since the academic year began.

“Research does suggest that preparing the built environment and signage and other controls can slow the transmission of COVID-19, and it does support that if there are structures in place, folks do tend to follow those processes and those procedures,” Teves said. “The structures, I think, in our built environment are really key, and I do see that students and members of the campus community are really great at following all that signage.”

Interim Provost Iris Levine also presented application numbers for the fall 2022 semester as the CSU’s Nov. 30 application deadline nears.

As of Nov. 10, Cal Poly Pomona received a total of 12,643 applicants. Freshmen account for 9,722 of those applicants, an estimated 77% of the overall application pool. Aspiring transfer students have submitted 2,638 applications, accounting for roughly 21% of remaining applications. In addition, 89 applications belong to graduate students, and 14 other applications belong to applicants seeking to earn credentials.

“We do know that if this trend continues, that Cal Poly Pomona could be looking at a number of about 70,000 applications total,” Levine said. “That’s quite a lot of applications coming our way. In the past, it’s been somewhere around 60,000, but you can see what the trend is. We’ll see if that trend continues.”

The next Academic Senate meeting is scheduled for Dec. 1. More information about the Academic Senate, the senators or archived senate documents from past meetings can be found on the senate’s website.

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