Chloe Wardrick, left, and Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Denise Isom, right, stand together onstage as Wardrick accepts her MLK Legacy Award.

Cal Poly Black Student Union (BSU) President and architecture senior Chloe Wardrick is the first student to win the MLK Legacy Award, which recognizes people who exemplify courage and selflessness in areas of social justice.

“In the past, it has just been faculty or staff members that have been awarded, but this year I was honored as the first student,” Wardrick said.

Wardrick co-accepted this award with psychology professor Amber Williams.

“It was such a heartwarming experience because I didn’t think it was just to highlight my efforts, but to highlight the efforts of everybody [on the BSU Board and the National Society of Black Engineers Board], so it was definitely an honorable experience,” Wardrick said. 

The sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration hosted by the Black Academic Excellence Center in Professor Amber Williams, left, and Chloe Wardrick, right, smile together after co-accepting the annual Cal Poly MLK Legacy Award in January. Joe Johnston | Cal Poly

Within her time at Cal Poly, Wardrick has served as the president of BSU and the treasurer for Cal Poly’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. 

Wardrick said she took on these positions at Cal Poly to improve student life at Cal Poly, especially for Black students. She said she wants to be part of the change that takes place and be able to influence that one person to also step forward and become a leader. 

“I wanted to impact ‘younger Chloe,’” Wardrick said.

Chloe Wardrick shakes hands with Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong during the Cal Poly MLK Jr. Legacy Event in January. Joe Johnston | Cal Poly

In a recent Cal Poly News article, Wardrick said that as BSU President, her main goal is to serve as a resource for members to voice their concerns and worries at a time when the national conversation around racial justice is gaining more attention.

Just this past month, Wardrick focused on bringing awareness of Black history through events like the College of Liberal Arts teach-In and the State of Blackness, Mustang News previously reported. 

In the future, Wardrick hopes to make a positive impact by connecting with an architectural firm that aligns with the values she carries: equity, sustainability and social justice. 

She also said she hopes to stay connected with Cal Poly.

This past year, Wardrick attended the African Black Coalition Conference and as an alumn, she hopes to serve as a liaison between Cal Poly’s BSU and the conference. 

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