Students who dream of leaving a lasting mark on Cal Poly’s campus, or owning a Vespa, will have their chance through Cal Poly Corporation’s contest to pick a new name for El Corral Bookstore.
El Corral, originally named for the horse corrals on campus, has now shifted its purpose, and the corporation is looking for a name to reflect that, interim director of El Corral Philip Davis said.
“We’re becoming less of a bookstore in terms of what we do and more of a general retailer in terms of what we do,” Davis said.
The store still sells textbooks, but now sees most of the revenue coming from school supplies and Cal Poly-branded apparel and gifts, making the “bookstore” title inaccurate, Davis said.
Cal Poly Corporation is also looking for a name that focuses less on the school’s agricultural origins and more on its current polytechnic vision, Davis said.
When El Corral was named in 1933, the campus was predominantly an agricultural school. Now, Cal Poly is known for engineering, architecture and science as well as agriculture, and the store should include that, he said.
“It would be nice to have a name that more clearly ties us in with the university,” Davis said. “(As) in a broader sense of what we do.”
The name contest comes after the former El Corral director retired in January, and Davis took the interim position. El Corral management wanted to redirect and reorganize the store’s direction.
“We’re promoting a sense of university and spirit, and it would be nice if the name is in sync with that,” Davis said.
El Corral chose a contest for the new name to involve the student body and ensure the name fit the campus well, said Yukie Nishinaga, marketing and public relations manager for Cal Poly Corporation.
More than 1,000 people entered last year’s contest to rename campus pizza restaurant Ciao!, and Nishinaga is hoping for a similar turnout.
“When we make these decisions, we want to do it collectively without customers,” Nishinaga said. “We really want the campus community to be a part of this process because it is their store.”
The student who submits the winning name will be awarded a Vespa Piaggio scooter, which is currently on display in the window of El Corral.
Cal Poly Corporation partnered with SLO Vespa, a local scooter store, to offer the prize, Nishinaga said.
“We wanted to run this contest, and we wanted to provide an exciting prize to the winner,” she said.
Some students have already noticed the Vespa in the window of El Corral, and considered names, though it’s harder than it seems, computer science freshman Timothy Vo said.
“I actually thought about (entering), but I didn’t think of a name,” Vo said.
Vo said he didn’t think the name El Corral needed much changing, except for dropping the “El.”
Other students, though, agree with Davis that the El Corral name is outdated.
Child development sophomore Natalie Neach said El Corral Bookstore no longer makes sense on Cal Poly’s campus.
“It doesn’t resemble Cal Poly,” Neach said. “It has nothing to do with it.”
A better name would tie in Cal Poly’s Mustang mascot or the school’s polytechnic focus, Neach said.
The contest runs from March 26 through April 15. After that, a committee of students, staff and El Corral will be assembled to select the best name.
The winning suggestion will be announced after several weeks, but there is no definite date.
“Because this is a bigger renaming process, it may take two to four weeks,” Nishinaga said.
Students can enter their name suggestions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.