Help Us Shape the Future

Power of Doing Logo


The Power is Yours

To strengthen social equity, further collaboration and promote experiences that make a difference, the CAED campaign aspires to transform and energize our Learn by Doing home.

We invite each member of the CAED community to join the campaign and empower students to Learn by Doing and lead by practice. With your support every student can freely explore and fearlessly envision the future of the built environment. Our priorities are to foster collaboration that inspires future innovators, create a home that supports student success, and empower students to harness technology and lead by practice. Thank you for your continued support.                                                                                                                                                                      


Campaign 2020 Impact Report                    


Ways to Engage

CAED offers the largest program centered on the built environment in the country with five bachelor’s and four master’s degree programs. Help us harness the power of our 16,000 alumni and friends, 2,000 students, and hundreds of faculty and staff to Learn by Doing more and lead by practice.

  • Donate your expertise– Volunteer or nominate a candidate to serve on our college or department advisory councils; recommend speakers for our Diversity + Inclusivity speaker series or Hearst Lecture Series. Share your volunteer interests at

  • Sponsor a community service project– Help our students make a difference in communities with critical needs such as natural disaster recovery, affordable housing and climate action planning. Contact us at if you are interested in sponsoring a project.

  • Tell us your story– How are you promoting Learn by Doing in school, at work and beyond? Share your stories at Stories may be featured in our college magazine, newsletter or social media.

Ways to Give

We invite you to explore how you can make an impact through philanthropy.
Click here to compare and explore your options.

  • Make a gift online through our secure giving site or mail your check to the "Cal Poly Foundation." In the memo field write the department or unit that you would like to receive your gift.

    Mail to:

    CAED Attn: Mariam Emyan
    Cal Poly
    1 Grand Avenue
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0280

Contact Us

If you have any questions, ideas or need assistance with how to support the college, please contact:

Mariam Emyan
Associate Dean of Financial and Data Assesment
College of Architecture and Environmental Design



We are the nation's premier Learn by Doing College of Architecture & Environmental Design. To sustain excellent programs and embrace emerging technologies, we will invest in the places that support Learn by Doing on campus. CLICK HERE to make an online donation now. 

Labs, Shops, and Studios

We promote Learn by Doing through creative practice. In our labs and shops students explore material aspects of building using models and prototypes, both physical and virtual. Our studios simulate professional work settings where students work together on projects that develop their professional abilities. CAED graduates are exceptionally well prepared to successfully transition from school to careers due to this hands-on educational paradigm. Our top priority is to provide all students with access to the materials, tools and processes used by professions and industries concerned with the built environment. For example, we will update labs to provide state-of-the-art software and tools for:

  • Visualization and communication
  • Analysis and predictive modeling
  • Manual and computer-aided construction with wood, metals, plastics and other media
  • General materials testing
  • Concrete mixing, construction and testing
  • Structural dynamics and seismic design

It is also our goal to provide students with strategic opportunities to work with emerging technologies in ways that foster early adopter mindsets with long-term career benefits, such as:

  • Robotics
  • Performative building systems


CAED Gallery/Commons 

As a premier college of the built environment, we have a public responsibility to share the creative ideas our faculty and students generate. Exhibition is an integral part of our educational process where students learn to present their work and receive valuable feedback as well as have opportunities to learn from the work of their teachers.  To realize this program we are planning for a new CAED Gallery on the Cal Poly campus to showcase the best work of students and faculty to the public, the campus community and visiting professionals. We will transform the space currently occupied by the Dean’s and Architecture Department offices into a gallery fronting onto Dexter Lawn, a hub of campus activity.

Additionally, we will enclose the central atrium of Building 5 into a clean and comfortable commons available to students and faculty for studying, collaborating, socializing, and celebrating 24/7, rain or shine. The Commons will provide all students (especially those who are not assigned permanent studio workstations), with places to be between classes where they can interact with peers who share interests across the college’s disciplines. 

Legacies Courtyard

Paul Neel, dean emeritus of the CAED, played a major role in the development of the college’s professional programs. His influential career included appointments as California’s State Architect and president of the Architect’s Board. This project will enhance the mission of the interdisciplinary Neel Resource Center by adding adjacent outdoor places for students to gather, reflect, celebrate and create.

Hasslein Courtyard

The open space bounded by the KTGY Gallery, the Instructional Shops, and the ARCE office will be redesigned in conjunction with the development of our instructional shops to create a multipurpose space serving learn by making activities and college events.


Hands-on, minds-on learning is what makes Cal Poly unique. Invest in projects that provide students Learn by Doing in the world opportunities - and experiences to develop the skills to contribute immediately upon graduation.

Interdisciplinary Projects

To deepen students’ understanding of the many factors that inform the built environment and prepare them to become successful collaborators, students engage in interdisciplinary projects. These activities involve at least two majors, and may include cross-college collaborations. The Solar Decathlon involves students from four CAED majors, as well as students from four other colleges.

CAED Traveling Exhibitions

In collaboration with the CAED Gallery on campus, this program involves traveling public exhibitions starting with a storefront location in downtown San Luis Obispo, then expanding to include shows in active pedestrian districts of San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego. Future plans also include exhibitions in national centers for environmental design such as Chicago, New York and Boston.  Each exhibition will provide the opportunity to connect our students to alumni and other professionals. Student “earn by doing” positions to run the on-campus gallery and traveling exhibition program will be supported through this initiative

Design/Build and Community Service

Cal Poly faculty and students provide creative energy that serves communities - from the development of city plans for new public spaces, such as parks and community centers, to facilities for those in need, such as affordable housing. Projects designed and constructed by our students in partnership with community clients are as close as the university campus, and as far away as Tanzania.  We are committed to support these service-learning activities and continue our commitment to providing these life-changing Learn by Doing experiences. 

Poly Canyon

A long-standing Cal Poly tradition, the Poly Canyon Structural Design Laboratory is home to over twenty experimental prototypes ranging from sculptures to residences.  Over the years, thousands of students advised by faculty and with the support of alumni and industry mentors created this living legacy. Poly Canyon is distant from the campus center, and unfortunately, vandalism and weathering have taken their toll, making some structures unsafe. The college has undertaken a sustainability plan to address the future of existing structures and re-energize the Canyon as an experimental construction site, allowing students to take advantage of future Learn by Building opportunities. This includes maintenance and security plans, a preservation plan for viable structures, and proactive facilitation of new student projects including the long-standing annual Design Village competition.


Our college is our people.  To help our students and teachers attain their aspirations and launch careers that shape the built environment, we will invest in their success - now and in the future – for Learn by Doing together. 

Cal Poly Scholars

Supporting under-represented minority students (often the first from their families to attend college) with financial need to complete their education, the Cal Poly Scholars program provides on-campus housing, proactive advising, social activities and an iPad or laptop computer.  Students live on campus the first two years together with other Cal Poly Scholars, creating the community these students need for success. Your contribution of $20,000 for a four year degree or $25,000 for a five year degree will ensure one student is provided the extra support this program provides.

Teacher/Student Scholars

Providing faculty and students with opportunities to engage in energizing forms of scholarly work is paramount to the quality of education at Cal Poly. In the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, faculty scholarship focuses on innovative approaches to shaping and serving the built environment. This work informs the next generation of planners, architects, engineers and builders as they prepare to pursue careers focused on improving the quality of the places and structures that serve society. The activities supported by the CAED Teacher/Student Scholar Program, which may occur locally, nationally, or globally, integrates teaching and learning with research and other forms of creative scholarship in ways that allow faculty to develop throughout their teaching careers while providing transformative experiences for students.

  • Student Scholar Fellowships ($5,000/ea.) – Intended to advance the scholarly work of faculty while benefiting the professional development of students, these paid assistantships invite students to add new dimensions and perspectives to the scholarship of their faculty leaders.  Assignments will vary according to faculty needs and may include literature searches, case studies, data collection, prototype construction, materials/systems testing, performance modeling, or communications.
  • Learn by Doing Experience ($10,000/ea.) – By augmenting a course or extracurricular faculty-led activity, these grants benefit a group of students and enhance the professional development of teachers.  Funds can be used for travel, specialized software or equipment, involvement of expert consultants, or competitions, for example.
  • Teacher Scholar Fellowships ($15,000/ea.) – These awards provide release time from teaching or other assigned work to pursue scholarly activity leading to professional development that also enhances educational opportunities for students. It can be used to conduct research, engage in creative practice, prepare manuscripts, chair scholarly conferences, and more.
  • Scholarship in Education ($30,000/ea.) - Faculty undertake transformative projects that make connections between scholarship and teaching in ways that significantly enhance the education of their students. An external jury of distinguished peers selects recipients. Funds can be used for student assistants, travel, equipment, software, materials, consultants, summer salary, etc.

Faculty/Staff Skills Development

Investing in the professional development of faculty and staff helps the college maintain currency in our disciplines. This funding supports activities such as conference participation, site visits, educational programs and association memberships.

George Hasslein Endowed Chair for Interdisciplinary Studiesin Environmental Design

For over half a century George Hasslein served the university and its students as a professor, department head and founding dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The endowed chair will help carry forward his vision of student-focused architectural and environmental design education for the benefit of future generations of planning, design and construction industry leaders.

Planned Gifts

Make a legacy gift to CM, the college or the university by recording your intent in your estate plans, wills and bequests, or give an endowed gift.

Matching Gifts

Employers often match their employee donations, under certain circumstances or for specific purposes, which could double your gift. If your employer participates in this type of program, consider asking them to match your gift to Cal Poly.

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