Behind The Scenes: Cal Poly’s Wet Environment

Why We Chose The Topic

On a Monday afternoon, during the second week of classes, my group members and I each got assigned media roles for the story we were going to report on. Arinee Rahman and I both were both assigned the Public Relations role, Vinny Van Patten assigned to print, Avrah Baum to broadcast and Katelyn Piziali to multimedia.

In class, we bounced off topic ideas until we all agreed on a topic that we were interested in covering. All of us were interested in the topic of downtown culture in the context of day vs. night. After brainstorming multiple ways to cover the story, we realized that Cal Poly students would not be interested in the topic. So instead, we decided to cover Mustang Station, the new pub on Cal Poly’s campus. Mustang Station is new and intriguing, however, students are unaware of the rules and regulations at the pub. After we talked about this topic for five minutes, we created over twenty questions we had as Cal Poly students. Our questions made us realize how a story on the rules and regulations of Mustang Station is needed for the students of Cal Poly.

Shortly after, Arinee Rahman and I got together after class to discuss a plan reaching out to the individuals and organizations that were a part of creating Mustang Station. We did a little research on Mustang Station and the Cal Poly Corporation. Then, we found information of administrators and individuals we thought were best to interview for the story angle we were taking. To our dismay, just a few days later Mustang News released an article covering the history and decision-making process that led to the creation of Mustang Station. Because of this, our group decided to narrow the angle of our story.

“Improvising is important with reporting and you always have to be flexible enough to change your plans or angle,” Arinee Rahman said.

The Change In Direction

We decided to report on the environment of Mustang Station. The new story angle caused Arinee and I to speak with different people. We instead reached out to Jana Colombini, President Armstrong and multiple students and faculty hoping to get a sense of the environment. President Armstrong sadly rejected my group over phone and email, but did not say no to an interview when Avrah and Arinee ran into him in person!

Our original plan was to have Avrah interview Armstrong while drinking a beer, however, interviewing him in his office still gave us a great sense of the drinking environment at Mustang Station. In addition to Armstrong, our interviews with Jana, the Facility Supervisor and students painted a clear picture of the drinking environment at Mustang Station.

Avrah Baum interviewing Armstrong
Avrah Baum interviewing President Armstrong


Avrah filmed the interview with Warren Chang, the University Union Facility Supervisor, in Mustang Station with the big television screens and many students with their pizza and beer in the background. The interview started at four o’clock in the evening and lasted for about thirty minutes. The setting was very loud and difficult to hear Warren from four feet away because every table was occupied by students or Cal Poly faculty. Once the interview was over, Avrah discovered that the audio to her broadcast taping did not record. I unfortunately had to leave because of another class obligation, but thankfully Warren did not mind redoing the interview.

Warren Chang interview at Mustang Station
Warren Chang interview at Mustang Station

“Always bring an extra audio recorder,” Avrah Baum said.

“It’s all about the acoustics,” Vinny Van Patten said.

Four days later, Vinny Van Patten and I interviewed Jana Colombini at three o’clock in her office located in the University Union. Jana gave detailed and thoughtful answers to our questions while also providing San Luis Obispo Community members’ opinions and thoughts about Mustang Station serving beer and wine.

“San Luis Obispo community members are worried about Cal Poly students drinking on campus and driving home intoxicated,”Jana Colombini said.

Personally, I understand the San Luis Obispo’s community members concern, however, Cal Poly is making their best efforts to promote drinking safety on and off campus through their Week of Welcome educational programs which every Cal Poly student goes through.

The next day, Katelyn Piziali and I went into Mustang Station during dinner time to take pictures and interview a few 21 year-old students with beers. After spending an hour in Mustang Station we really got a feel for the environment.

Katelyn Piziali taking pictures beers at Mustang Station
Katelyn Piziali taking pictures of beer at Mustang Station

“I think it’s really convenient that Mustang Station was created during my last year here at Cal Poly, when I’m actually 21 and able to drink on campus. Sittin in there in the evening, I could see why students might want to come to Mustang Station and grab a beer, whether it was to accompany studying or an on-campus meal.”

What we learned

After two weeks of working on this Mustang Station story, my group members and I learned multiple rules, regulations, history and environment of Mustang Station, but most importantly how to work well together.

“Having to be on a deadline only two weeks long really makes you lean on group members and better your time management,” Katelyn Piziali said.

Now it is time to relax and have a beer at Mustang Station!


Beer at Mustang Station
Two glasses of Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA beer at Mustang Station

Brittany Tesmer