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Giving Opportunities

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences giving opportunities are focused in three areas: Student Success, Centers for Excellence, and Learn by Doing Initiatives. 

Student Success

Every day at the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, we are investing in the future by focusing on student success. We recruit the best and brightest faculty so that students gain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in industry as soon as they graduate. There are many ways to support students across the college.


Earn by Doing Internship Program

The CAFES Earn by Doing Internship Program allows students to gain paid work experience at one of the college’s 15 on-campus food and agricultural production units or departments. Students work up to 20 hours per week, gaining technical skills in positions directly related to their chosen careers and real-world exposure running thriving, essential operations. To support, scroll beneath Selected Designations and write CAFES Dean’s Earn by Doing Fund in the enter fund not listed box.

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CAFES Scholarships

Financial scholarships for students in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences remain a critical need. Even with financial aid packages, parental assistance and loans, some students cannot close the gap between their available resources and the growing cost of education. View a list of existing scholarships to directly support students today.



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Andrew and Teri Thulin Earn by Doing Endowment

Andrew Thulin retired as college dean in December 2023 after more than 25 years of service. To honor Dean Emeritus Thulin’s legacy of leadership and his commitment to providing students with hands-on experiences in the college’s food and agriculture units, you can support student learning by making a pledge or gift that supports student academic and professional success in the food and agriculture industries.


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Summer Undergraduate Research Program

The CAFES Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is a 10-week research program that connects undergraduate students with faculty to work collaboratively on cutting-edge research and receive a stipend. Students develop advanced problem-solving and critical thinking skills, learn how to gather information, analyze and evaluate evidence and gain enhanced communication skills. Sponsorships allow more students to participate in research each summer.

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Centers for Excellence

We are building for the future. Our students thrive on Learn by Doing opportunities that enable them to create, collaborate and innovate. Centers of excellence bring students, faculty and industry together to discover new solutions to complex issues. Help propel learning in spaces that are at the forefront of the industry.


Animal Health Center

The forthcoming animal health center plans to be an experiential animal clinic featuring large lab spaces to accommodate live animals as well as traditional lab uses. Students will have the space to examine, treat and care for animals under the supervision of veterinary faculty and staff embracing Cal Poly’s motto of Learn by Doing. Support the foundation of this capital project by giving to the Animal Health Center Fund.


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Plant Sciences Complex

In November 2023, Cal Poly broke ground on the development of a 6-acre Plant Sciences Complex that will feature a new teaching and laboratory building, state-of-the-art research and production greenhouses, an ancillary produce packing and cooling facility and a farm store for food retail operations. The complex will include support for applied innovation and teaching in soil health, water and air quality, plant cultivation, harvesting and processing, and food safety as well as a site for automation and systems testing. The complex will allow students to learn in facilities that are as technologically advanced as the facilities they’ll enter in the industry.

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Swanton Pacific Ranch

Swanton Pacific Ranch is a 3,200-acre property located in Santa Cruz County composed of majestic redwood forest, lush riverine ecosystems and coastal grasslands that overlook the Pacific Ocean. The property provides a valuable opportunity for research and educational opportunities. In August 2020, the CZU Lightning Complex fires swept through the ranch, destroying much of the property and its structures. You can support relief efforts and future growth by making a gift to the Swanton Pacific Ranch Program.

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Learn by Doing Initiatives

Learn by Doing is the core of a Cal Poly education. Every day in CAFES, students are learning in our labs, fields, greenhouses and classrooms how to solve today’s most pressing issues. We bring learning into the field, the farm and the forest in order to meet the diverse agricultural and environmental needs of California and our global society. Supporting Learn by Doing ensures that more students will benefit from these vital opportunities.


Dean's Power of Doing

Giving to the Dean’s Power of Doing Fund provides support where it is needed most. Funds are used to enhance student success across our departments and centers, to further opportunities with industry and research and to advance current and future capital projects. Support to this fund allows us to move quickly to seize special opportunities, leverage resources, and address the most pressing needs across the college.


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Industry Engagement Fund

Our partnerships with leaders in industry engage students in and out of the classroom. When students and faculty can collaborate with industry partners, knowledge and expertise collide. To spur innovation and solve real-world challenges, we seek to strengthen our ties to industry and build new relationships with key stakeholders. Support to our industry engagement fund makes these opportunities possible.


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Learn by Doing Endowment

In 2009, 11 innovative agriculture leaders came together to form the Learn by Doing Endowment to support the college’s renowned tradition of excellence. Each founding member donated a gift of $100,000 to create a fund of $1.1 million that is used to multiply the impact of their original gifts through matching endowments. Funds have been used to purchase new and upgraded equipment in laboratories and send students to competitions nationwide.

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