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Templeton alum leads Cal Poly Rose Float’s creative team 

Current student design chair has volunteered for over 15 years

As the Cal Poly Rose Float program enters its 75th year of appearing in the Tournament of Roses on New Year’s Day, 21-year-old student and design chair Jordan D’Acquisto now holds the record of longest-running volunteer during Decoration Week having started when she was four years old; she has been a student member and held leadership roles with the Rose Float for all four years at Cal Poly.

“Cal Poly Rose Float is the only program of its kind and offers a truly incredible and unique experience for college students,” said D’Acquisto, who graduated from Templeton High School in 2020 and is currently an Experience Industry Management major with a Theatre minor. “We are the only student-built float in the entirety of the parade and we are judged against and held to the standards of professional-built floats. Not only does the program give you the opportunity to learn welding, craftsmanship, and decoration skills, but it grows strong leaders and project managers. To any people seeking a unique and incredible experience at Cal Poly, Rose Float is the place to go.” 

Jordan D’Acquisto, fourth-year student at Cal Poly and design chair.

This year’s theme is ‘Shock n’ Roll: Powering the Musical Current’, which was picked by the design team from over 100 different ideas. The float begins to be designed in February, actual production begins in June, and Decoration Week occurs in December where the float is put all together. The design was led by the concepts of being ‘energizing, striking and funky’ with a medley of stingrays, eels, and other marine creatures using their electric abilities to create music and a feeling of community on a coral reef.

D’Acquisto’s father is Josh D’Acquisto, who has served as the Cal Poly Rose Float Coordinator since 2005 and has been a part of how D’Acquisto became involved with the program. She adds, “I grew up never expecting to be a student at Cal Poly, but when I decided to come I knew that I had to be a part of Rose Float. Working with him as an advisor and as a dad for the past four years has been the best. We’ve got the chance to experience how each of us leads a team and teach and grow in the process together. On the day-to-day, he treats me like any other one of his students, but we now get to come home and have the shared experience of creating something great together.”

While D’Acquisto serves this year as design chair for the San Luis Obispo campus, along with Ashley Yeaman as the design chair for the Pomona campus, she has held the positions of design team member, element lead, and assistant design chair in previous years.

The Tournament of Roses, also known as the Rose Parade, takes place in Pasadena on New Year’s Day; members of the Cal Poly Rose Float who attend are seated for the parade around 7 a.m. and the operating team hear about the awards for floats earlier in the morning before the parade begins. Previous years have won awards from various categories, such as the Extraordinaire Award for 2023’s Road to Reclamation, the Director Award for 2020’s Aquatic Aspirations, the Founders’ Trophy Award for 2017’s A New Leaf, and more.

“I have loved getting to integrate what I have learned in my classes to what I do in Rose Float…” said D’Acquisto, who plans on working in the field of theme design after graduation, “I have taken lots of classes regarding design and large-scale management. Rose Float has given me the opportunity to use those skills and apply them to an internationally-televised undertaking that encapsulates the entire design-build process. Cal Poly has offered me the experiences to create tangible design and project management skills that I am excited to take with me in the workforce.” 

For more information about the Cal Poly Rose Float, visit here.

-By Sadie Mae Mace


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