Loud, proud and unapologetic: These are the words student writers used to describe the first Disorientation Guide to Cal Poly.
The 68-page guide aims to radically introduce students to social and political ideas and issues that are skimmed over in Cal Poly’s orientation programs, like Soar and Week of Welcome (WOW). The guide covers a wide range of topics, like LGBTQIAP+ inclusivity, sexual assault, Cal Poly’s beauty standards and race identity, among many others.
This being said, each article in the guide does not reflect the opinions of all of the guide’s contributors. The guide is a collection of individual students’ ideas, beliefs and concerns. It was not created by any official Cal Poly club or group, nor was it endorsed by any faculty or administrative member.
Matt Klepfer, Queer Student Union President and founding contributor to the Disorientation Guide, said that much of the reason Cal Poly needs this guide is because its students often lack social and political awareness.
“They, like many other people in this country, lack awareness on the issues that face people who are largely or partly excluded or discriminated against in the white supremacist, imperialist, capitalist, able-bodied, heteronormative, cisnormative, patriarchy that we live in,” Klepfer said.
One of the Disorientation Team’s goals is to urge students to understand that they can make a difference when it comes to these issues on campus, no matter how small that difference might be.
Business administration sophomore Kelsey Zazanis wrote an article in the guide entitled “Don’t F*cking Say These Words: Words Worse than F*ck,” that addresses harmful and offensive language that has become normalized in our culture.
“Removing certain words from your vocabulary is such a small step that can make a huge difference in creating inclusive environments,” Zazanis said.
The guide also aims to help students who don’t fit the mold of the general population.
Art and design sophomore Lauren Goldenberg created the cover art for the guide. She explained that through her piece, she wanted to capture the loneliness and fear that exclusion and difference can foster.
“Sure, being different and unique is cool and it makes us who we are, but this isn’t about having blue hair or wearing mismatched patterns of thrifted clothing,” she said. “The often lonely feeling that comes along with it is unacceptable.”
The guide also offers lists of resources and recommendations for students to take advantage of, such as campus clubs, counseling and crisis centers such as SAFER, and courses and professors.
Another article in the guide focuses on New Student and Transition Programs at Cal Poly and suggests ways to make Soar and WOW more inclusive of students of color and students that fall under the LGBTQIAP+ umbrella.
Ultimately, the guide serves to get students to stand up and speak out when it comes to injustice on campus and to help all students, especially those who are embarking on a completely new and often difficult journey at Cal Poly.
Because the project was self-funded, the Disorientation Team could only afford to print approximately 100 physical copies of the Disorientation Guide. However, it can be read online.