Credit: Sofia Clark | Mustang News

For many students, transferring to Cal Poly can be a lonely process. But through the Cal Poly Connections Club, one engineering senior was able to find her way.

“I remember almost dropping out of school because I couldn’t find a community that I felt like I belonged to,” Diana said. Diana requested to remain partially anonymous. 

The Connections Club is an organization to help students struggling with social life and disabilities. According to Disability Resource Center (DRC) Assistant Director Amy Gode, it is an umbrella organization made up of programming for students looking to make new friends.

“Finding a connection in a new city with a younger demographic is very hard,” Diana said. “Persistent attendance allowed me to, fortunately, find a lifelong friend whose maturity level more closely matches mine.”

One of the main attractions for the club is Connection lunches, which give students the chance to share free weekly lunches on Tuesdays while building relationships, Diana said.

This is where Diana met Jordan Pohl, a 2019 Cal Poly College of Engineering graduate.

Diana was always there to help me out when I was stressed, and go out for a quick bite to take my mind off things,” Pohl said. “My time at Cal Poly likely would have been much more stressful without Diana around to grab a Subway with late in the afternoon between classes.”

Pohl said he often struggled talking to other students because many tended to turn to their phones.

“[The Connections club] was a wonderful part of my Cal Poly experience because it was a safe space where people were actively looking to sit down and talk to people around them,” Pohl said.

The Connections Club works with the DRC to raise awareness for the services that the DRC offers. 

“Connections Club was the first club that made me come to terms with my own disability, and also allowed me to find my community,” Diana said. “Regardless of one’s disability status, the club does not discriminate.” 

Connections has many different programs, from Connections Club, Autism Spectrum Network, Chronic Pain Support Group, Access Mentoring and Ability Sidekicks, as well as an upcoming program called Disability Plus, according to Gode. 

“It is a great opportunity to connect students with atypical backgrounds with other members who may have similar backgrounds,” Diana said. “I think the Connections Club is an asset to the campus community.”   

The club hosts free weekly lunches on the lawn of Student Services, Building 124, each Tuesday from 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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