“A New Leaf,” Cal Poly Universities’ 2017 Rose Float, won the Founders’ Trophy in the 128th Rose Parade, which was held on Jan. 2 in Pasadena, Calif.
The Founder’s Trophy honors the most beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization. The Cal Poly Universities entry — the parade’s only float that’s built entirely by students — reflects a time-honored collaboration between students at Cal Poly and their counterparts at Cal Poly Pomona.
The 52-foot long float featured three giant chameleons exploring their tropical world, paying homage to the value of family in creating individual success. Covered in more than 60,000 fresh flowers, the float earned the “California Grown” designation from the California Cut Flower Commission.
To give the huge chameleons their bumpy texture, the team used 20,000 button mums, a variety of citrus and red onion. To achieve the detail on the eyes, the team used a mixture of dried materials. For the purple chameleon, it included blue corn, yellow split pea, cranberry seed, mung beans, red and white millet, Bougainvillea petals and ground statice. The tiered base held more than 10,000 roses intermingled with more than 8,000 gerbera daisies. Other flowers include carnations, snapdragons, tulips, marigolds and orchids. Approximately 94 percent of the flowers on the float are California grown.
“A New Leaf” also reflected a floatload of engineering, including a mechanism that raises and lowers some of the flowers on the largest chameleon, making its stripes appear to change color from orange to yellow.
Among Cal Poly Engineering students contributing to the float’s success: Cecilia Allor (mechanical engineering), decorations team; Gregory Baghdikian (computer engineering), engines and hydraulic lead; Tyler Couvrette (electrical engineering), electronics assistant; Mason Garcia (industrial engineering), lead structural welder and donations coordinator; Ali Harake (mechanical engineering), assistant construction chair; Margaret Kennedy (aerospace engineering), vice president; Tyler Koski (mechanical engineering), engines and hydraulics assistant; Marie Scholl, manufacturing engineering), assistant structural welder and construction team member; Kendall Searing (who holds a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a master’s in mechanical engineering), electronics lead; Helena Yanez (biomedical engineering), assistant design chair; and mechanical engineering and construction team members Sergio Gutierrez, Morgan Montalvo, Justin Sherrell and Dexter Yanagisawa.
Cal Poly executive team members include Philippe Napaa (bioresource and agricultural engineering), president; Sara Novell (mechanical engineering), construction chair; Zachary Cooperbank (architectural engineering and math), design chair; and Belen Castillo (forestry), decorations chair.
“A New Leaf” is the 69th Rose Parade entry from Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, whose successful partnership has now won 57 awards.