Ryan Chartrand

New to campus or don’t have a car? Don’t know where to go or what to do? Places to go for entertainment and social networking are closer than you think.

The first stop is the heart of campus, the McPhee University Union, located on S. Perimeter Road. There, students can take hobby classes at the Craft Center, go bowling and play billiards at Mustang Lanes and rock climb at Poly Escapes.

Looking to go on an outdoor adventure? Poly Escapes, located on the bottom floor, involves everything outdoors, including hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, surfing, kayaking and more.

“Poly Escapes gives students the chance to experience things most students don’t get to do,” journalism junior Stephanie Evans said. “How often can you propel down a waterfall and go on an awesome adventure? It’s an escape from normal school life.”

Evans is the supervisor at Poly Escapes, which is managed by Associated Students Inc. Most outings are in California, and can range from day to weekend trips and longer trips during school breaks. This past spring break, Poly Escapes went caving and backpacking in Utah. Trips will include some meals, a ride and rental gear. And you won’t need cash for lodging because you will be camping outdoors.

If you don’t want to stray too far from campus, you could try out the rock climbing wall outside Poly Escapes, rock climb at Bishop Peak or join one of their night hikes.

Trips are announced weekly at Poly Escapes meetings every Tuesday, 7 to 8 p.m. in UU room 220. The cost of the outings varies, depending on the distance and duration of the trip.

Across from Poly Escapes is the Craft Center. The Craft Center provides a number of classes and services such as the Bike Room, which is equipped with five bike stations. Each station has its own tools to repair your bike, or the Bike Room can provide service to repair your bike for you.

More available classes include ceramics, flame and woodworking, jewelry making, stained glass, and the most popular: surfboard shaping, which started last spring quarter.

“It is a different education,” nutrition senior Maeve Blessing said. “It teaches you different skills and the classes are small. It gives you a chance to get to know students, and is a fun atmosphere.”

Blessing works at the front desk at the Craft Center, and has taken stained glass, ceramics and smithing classes.

Quarter-use cards for students range from $10 to $150, and day-use cards are $2. You can register for classes online through the ASI Connect Web site, or at the Craft Center. Classes start on the third week of the quarter for six weeks and are all taught by fellow students.

Just down the way from Poly Escapes and the Craft Center is Mustang Lanes. It features a variety of entertainment including 10 bowling lanes with automatic scoring, four lanes of bumper bowling, a collection of arcade games, a billiard room with eight full-size pool tables, and a full bowling and billiard pro shop.

Upstairs you will find study lounges and televisions, and the UU Epicenter, which is your one-stop area to find and join student clubs and organizations.

There is plenty to eat on campus, too. Just outside the UU is Backstage Pizza, which also offers on-campus deliveries for no extra charge. If you’re not feeling pizza, keep walking across the quad and down the steps, and you will find The Avenue. There you will find a variety of grub from Chick-Fil-A, Tapango’s, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, Red Dragon Wok, City Deli and an array of drinks and snacks.

The Avenue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays.

Other restaurants on campus include the Veranda Caf‚, Garden Grille and the Sandwich Factory, all located near the UU. Also in the area is Julian’s for your caffeine fix, and Lucy’s Juice for fresh fruit smoothies. Located near the entrance to Cal Poly on Grande Avenue, across from the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center is VG’s Caf‚ and The Vista Grande Restaurant, which is a full-table service dining room.

If you need to go grocery shopping, the Campus Market is located behind the Ag Science building, and is open seven days a week.

Want to stay active in sports or get in shape? Head down to the Rec Center on S. Perimeter Road. You could use the gym equipment for free just as long as you have your PolyCard, or take a dip in the huge outdoor pool and play some basketball or outdoor volleyball in a beach-like setting. You could also join the aquatic, instructional, exercise and personal training programs, or sign up for an intramural sport.

Who said you need a car to have some fun and stay active? All you need is just around the corner.

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