Cal Poly Universities’ 2022 Float Stargrazers displays a scene from the classic nursery rhyme “The Cow Jumped over the Moon,” except with an engineering twist only two polytechnic schools could create. The float aims to exemplify the theme “Dream. Believe. Achieve.” As the only student-built float in the parade, we hope to show just what the power of education means to us.
Stargrazers mixes the whimsy of the nursery rhyme with the hardworking atmosphere of a college campus. As our float rolls down Colorado Boulevard, the audience will see a cow jumping over a fifteen-foot moon, held aloft by a jet-pack made of milk crates and other farm materials. In Cal Poly’s take on the rhyme, three cows, along with their colleagues (the cat and the fiddle, the little dog, the dish, and the spoon) have been working all year to achieve the jump over the moon.
In a way, the cows represent the float-building process itself. All year, while the cows have perfected their jet-pack technology in order to make the jump over the moon, Cal Poly Rose Float has been building the very frame that will hoist the 600-pound cow into the air. Also pictured on the float are the numerous other stages of building. A brown cow close to the moon shows off one of the jet packs that needs to be tested, while a white cow with glasses and an apron works on some of the jet packs. Regina Chapuis, the Cal Poly SLO president noted that “Our team has been working on and refining this design for two years now, and I think all that hard work has really paid off. Much like how these cows are prototyping different jetpacks for their big jump, we have been prototyping different iterations of this float before settling on this final design.”
These various stages of the process not only speak to our own process of trial and error as we build the float, but also represent the trial and error process of education. Just like our cows building their jet packs, it will take building, making mistakes, un-building, and building again for us to make this float look how it looks on parade day. Christopher Nares, the Cal Poly Pomona president, said that “This float embodies our Rose Float family. We work hard and may fall, but we always get back up and reach for the stars.”
The float-building process is filled with so many unexpected challenges that it gives college students like us opportunities to hone our problem-solving and leadership abilities far beyond what many classrooms offer. As college students, we are just taking our first steps in our various careers and industries. It is the power of education, the power to try and fail and then to try again, that will allow us to achieve whatever our personal “over the moon” is. The building process itself exemplifies the 2022 parade theme of “Dream. Believe. Achieve.” We choose our concept in early spring, in this case, early spring of 2020. After we had a concept, we began to draw diagrams and plans and then make estimations and measurements. We talked about ideas and imagery, and then we talked about feet and inches, pounds of steel, and numbers of flowers. In essence, we dreamed the float into existence before we built it. Just like the cows that we are slowly welding their goals into being, Cal Poly Rose Float thinks of ideas, and then we work to make them real.
The Stargrazers float will feature larger-than-life nursery rhyme characters, some of which will move, and all of which will be decorated head to hoof in natural material. Our Decorations team has been brainstorming materials since 2020 and they have been testing patterns ever since. Our Design and Construction teams have been working hard to make sure that not only do these characters look lifelike and beautiful but that they are structurally sound as well. All three teams have been working together across two campuses to put everything into motion so that by the time the float goes down the parade route, the average viewer would have no idea it took hundreds of volunteer hours, tonnes of steel, and thousands and thousands of flowers.
Regina Chapuis, Rose Float President for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Nares, Rose Float President for Cal Poly Pomona: email@example.com