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Seeing red can be good 

Strawberries are sweet without being cloying. They’re packed with Vitamin C, despite citrus’ claims staked on that corner of nutrition. They wear their seeds on the outside, as if to say, “Yes, look and see that which other fruits hide. I am not ashamed.”

While we could all take a page from the strawberry’s confidence-packed playbook, Cal Poly in particular is making a huge stride forward in cozying up to the popular plant with the Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center.

The college and the California Strawberry Commission announced on Feb. 19 that they agreed to partner to create the center, which will focus on “applied research that incorporates both teaching and learning experiences for Cal Poly students, faculty, and California strawberry farmers,” according to a release.

The goal? Sustainability of strawberry farming in the state. Also, there’s that whole roll-up-your-sleeves ethic at Cal Poly.

“This partnership will enrich our Learn by Doing approach by providing our students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to work alongside experts in the strawberry industry on real-world challenges. This partnership is an important step forward in our desire to strengthen ties with key California industries so that our students can learn, do, and succeed,” Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said at a signing event in Sacramento, according to the release. “Faculty and undergraduate students from every corner of campus, including hydrologists, entomologists, plant scientists, engineers, packaging scientists, and marketers, to name a few, will each have a hand in this important work for one of the nation’s leading industries.”

Not to be left out of getting a word or two into the press release, David Wehner, dean of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, added, “By forming the Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center, we will enable some of the nation’s brightest students to work hand-in-hand with talented and dedicated faculty across disciplines—whether it’s in agriculture, engineering or business—to provide practical solutions to the strawberry industry. Applying classroom learning to real-world problems is what Cal Poly is all about.”

And eating strawberries is what the rest of us are all about, right?

If this partnership ensures that the jewels of flavor continue to burst onto the scene by way of fruit salads, whipped-cream-smothered shortcake, bowls of ice cream, pies, tarts, and all by their lonesome, the center should prove to be quite popular.

But not as popular as the strawberries themselves. Nobody can touch that. I mean, they have their seeds on the outside!

Executive Editor Ryan Miller hopes he’s never berried alive. Send collegiate news to


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