Cal Poly economics Professor Steve Hamilton and a colleague received an Elsevier Atlas award for their research paper on strategies to salvage and sell cosmetically flawed produce.
Hamilton and Timothy Richards of Arizona State University in their research titled “Food waste in the sharing economy”analyzed ways in which “sharing economy” businesses similar to Uber and Airbnb can reduce the 40 percent of edible but “ugly” produce that goes to waste in the United States. The paper was published earlier this year in Food Policy, a multidisciplinary journal featuring original research.
The answer is commercial peer-to-peer mututalization systems that directly connect buyers and sellers. And in the same way that Uber connects drivers to riders or Airbnb connects hosts to visitors, similar businesses are connecting growers to consumers, putting “ugly” produce on the market.
The focus of their research is an app called Imperfect Produce. It allows growers to list food that fails the eye test — misshapen potatoes, curved carrots and discolored apples — and users who undeterred by the appearance to purchase the listed items at a 30 to 50 percent discount. The bottom line is customers save money, growers make money, and edible food avoids the landfill.
“It’s a two-sided platform, so the goal is mutual benefit,” said Hamilton, who is recognized internationally for his research and consulting related to environmental and land-use regulation, energy and water markets, groundwater managements and antitrust. “In order for this type of business to grow, growers want to see that the buyers are there, and vice versa.”
Using four years of data from Imperfect Produce, Hamilton and Richards assessed the potential effect similar businesses might have on food waste reduction. Their findings are encouraging. The app increased its customer base from 1,000 in 2015 to 7,500 in 2017, and based on their analysis, is forcasted to keep expanding. Their models show that, peer-to-peer businesses, coupled with targeted policy changes, could become a viable method for reducing food waste at all levels of the supply chain.
The implications are far-reaching in reducing the impacts on other resources. Wasted food accounts for roughly 25 percent of U.S. freshwater use and consumes nearly 300 million barrels of oil per year.
“Food waste is a relevant issue right now,” Hamilton said. “People are realizing just how much good food we discard, not just from farms, but also households and retailers.The question becomes, you’re going to have almost 10 billion people in the world by 2050; how are you going to feed them all ethically and efficiently?”
The pair’s research paper was the top choice in March from a list of works culled from Elsevier’s 3,800 journals “that impacts people’s lives around the world.” Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions for science, health and technology professionals. It and an advisory board, which includes members from the Health and Global Policy Institute and the World Wildlife Federation, awards only one paper its Atlas Award each month.
The article is the first in a three-part series funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Part two will focus on consumer waste, and part three on retailers.
For more information about Elsevier or the Atlas Awards, visit https://www.elsevier.com/.
To see the research, visit
Ten student-athletes from the Orfalea College of Business were named to the Big West Conference Fall All-Academic Team in February or, in the case of the football players, the Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic Team. To be eligible, student-athletes (excluding true freshmen and first-year transfers) are required to have maintained at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA through the most recent term while also simultaneously competing in at least 50 percent of their respective games, meets or matches.
Sydney Knauer, Women’s Soccer (Business Administration)
Bryanna Fuller, Women’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Hannah Hull, Women’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Mikey Giguere, Men’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Garrett Migliozzi, Men’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Colin Goebel, Football (Business Administration)
Jared Mohamed, Football (Business Administration)
Sam Ogee, Football (Business Administration)
Jake Jeffrey, Football (Business Administration)
Jake Smeltzer, Football (Industrial Technology)
Senior business administration major Jared Mohamed, a fullback on the Cal Poly football team, was named to the All-Big Sky Conference first team in November as well as to the 2017 Big Sky All-Academic Team in February. Mohamed is concentrating in financial management and minoring in real property development.
Honored as a third-team All-American by STATS FCS, Mohamed also was named to Phil Steele’s 2017 Postseason All-Big Sky Conference First Team. He became Cal Poly’s 21st 1,000-yard rusher with 1,172 yards during the 2017 season. Mohamed was named the team’s most valuable player and offensive most valuable player at a team banquet in January.
Mohamed is No. 10 on Cal Poly’s all-time list for rushing yards in a season and accumulated 933 of his yards in eight Big Sky games, averaging 116.6 yards per conference contest. Cal Poly has produced at least one 1,000-yard rusher in each of the last seven seasons.
To be eligible for Big Sky All-Academic honors, a student-athlete must have met and/or exceeded the following minimum requirements: 1) Participated in at least half of the team’s competitions; 2) Achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at the conclusion of the most recently completed term; 3) Completed at least one academic term at his/her current Big Sky institution.
Cal Poly welcomes prospective students, parents, alumni and friends to campus for Open House from April 12-14, 2018! The Orfalea College of Business is proud to host events throughout the week that will give prospective students and supporters an in-depth perspective on the Learn by Doing education the college provides.
Admitted students, be sure to RSVP for Open House.
Thursday, April 12: Campus Preview at Farmer’s Market
Open House weekend begins with “Campus Preview at Farmers’ Market” on Thursday, April 12 from 6-9 p.m. Explore downtown and experience San Luis Obispo’s world-famous Farmer’s Market. Cal Poly Clubs and Organizations will be present to showcase what they have to offer.
Friday, April 13: Admitted Students Discovery Day
|8 a.m.- 12 p.m.||Open House Check In||Mott Lawn||Check in for the day’s events! Bring a digital or printed copy of your ticket.|
|9-9:45 a.m.||University Welcome||Rec Center Main Gym||Hear from Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and VP for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey as they welcomes potential students, supporters and alumni to campus. Hear about the major initiatives shaping Cal Poly and Learn by Doing today.|
|10-10:45 a.m.||Orfalea College of Business Welcome||Multi Activity Center||Hear from Dean Scott Dawson, alumni and current students about what it’s like to attend the Orfalea College of Business. You’ll also learn about the college-specific events happening at Open House.|
|Student Panels: Opportunities at Orfalea||The Business Silo
Bldg. 03, room 213
|Enjoy an interactive panel discussion with current Cal Poly students about the Learn by Doing opportunities they’ve embraced in the Orfalea College of Business inside and outside the classroom. Learn how students gain a competitive edge through college clubs, mentorship, internships and industry connections.|
|11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.||Orfalea Information Fair||O’Neill Green||Browse booths from departments, clubs, international programs, student services and more. It’s a great opportunity to interact with current students and ask questions about Orfalea’s programs.|
|11 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.||Orfalea College Tours||Breezeway Outside the Student Success Center||We will offer tours departing every 15 minutes, take a guided tour of the business building with an Orfalea student ambassador. You’ll explore classrooms, computer labs, lecture halls and meeting rooms while learning more about what the college has to offer.|
and 1:45 p.m.
|Spanish Speaking Orfalea College Tours||Breezeway Outside the Student Success Center||Take a guided tour of the business building with a Spanish speaking Orfalea student ambassador. You’ll explore classrooms, computer labs, lecture halls and meeting rooms while learning more about what the college has to offer delivered in Spanish.|
|11 a.m.- 1 p.m.||Accounting Area Demo||Bldg. 03, room 107|
|11 a.m.-12 p.m.||Marketing Area Demo||Bldg. 03, room 206|
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
|Management & Human Resources Area Demo||Bldg. 03, room 113|
|Economics Area Demo||Bldg. 03, room 306|
|11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
|Finance Area Demo||Bldg. 03, room 302|
|11:15 a.m.-12 p.m.
|Industrial Technology and Packaging Area Demo||O’Neill Green|
|Entrepreneurship Demo||Bldg. 02, room 206|
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
|Information Systems Demo||Bldg. 03, room 205|
|7:30-10 p.m.||Parents’ Coffee House||University Union, Chumash Auditorium||While students are enjoying Friday Nite Invite, parents and supporters are invited to Coffee House, where they can talk to current students from all six of Cal Poly’s colleges while enjoying coffee from local vendors. There will also be speakers from Administration as well as Parent & Family Programs.|
|7:30-10 p.m.||Friday Night Invite||University Union Plaza||Prospective students will enjoy free pizza, bowling, a DJ, games, crafts and club booths while meeting their fellow Mustangs.|
|8-9 p.m.||Transfer Student Mixer||University Union Room 220||Potential transfer students will get a chance to meet up and learn from an informational panel with time for Q&A. Food and drinks will be provided!|
Saturday, April 14: Poly Royal Celebration
|10 a.m.- 3 p.m.||Campus Showcase||Lower Campus||At Campus Showcase Cal Poly Clubs and Organizations get a chance to show off what they do with booths, activities, food, and much more. Over 200 clubs are represented at this fun and exciting event.|
|10-11 a.m.||Coffee with the Dean||Bldg. 02, room 210||Take time to chat with Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson about his vision for the college and the resources that make it a perfect fit for thousands of students each year.|
|9-10 a.m.||Poly Royal Parade||Perimeter Road||Wave to a vibrant parade of clubs, community organizations and programs celebrating Cal Poly along Perimeter Road!|
|10-10:30 a.m.||Opening Ceremonies||Dexter Lawn||Hear Cal Poly’s leaders kick off another exciting day on campus.|
|10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.||Poly Royal Stage||Dexter Lawn||Enjoy music, dance and club performances from students on the stage on Dexter Lawn!|
|1-3:30 p.m.||Poly Royal Truck and Tractor Pull||Highland Dr. and Mt. Bishop Rd.||The Poly Royal Truck and Tractor Pull has been held at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 1972. It is one of the largest events at Open House, drawing nearly 4,000 spectators and over 50 competitors from the Western United States. The event is run by Cal Poly Tractor Pull Club and the proceeds from the event bolster a scholarship endowment for students. For more info, visit http://tractorpull.calpoly.edu/.|
|2:30-5 p.m.||Alumni Beer and Wine Garden||Engineering Plaza||Join Cal Poly alumni from each college for an afternoon of fun, reconnecting with alumni, faculty, staff, and student ambassadors. You will enjoy local beer and wine, as well as delicious appetizers. The event will be held rain or shine! 21+ with ID; tickets available at https://goo.gl/UFm3c8.|
|5:30 p.m.||Poly Royal Rodeo and Concert||Spanos Stadium||Poly Royal has been the premier rodeo in the West Coast region since the first Poly Royal Rodeo in 1940. It is the largest college rodeo west of the Mississippi and draws crowds of up to 11,000 spectators. This year, the Rodeo will be held in Spanos Stadium, followed by a concert by Aaron Watson. Tickets available at https://goo.gl/GHYi3z.|
BusinessAnalytics.com recently ranked Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program among the top 10 master’s programs in the nation.
Cal Poly was ranked at No. 9 ahead of University of Texas at Austin. The top 10 also included M.S. Business Analytics programs at Columbia, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, MIT and University of Virginia. The top spot went to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cal Poly was one of two California programs ranked within the top 10.
The ranking’s methodology emphasized affordability and the strength of the academic program, including enrollment and retention rates, in-state tuition, and average 10 year earnings. Data was provided through a survey to the National Center for Education Statistics.
This is the first ranking for Cal Poly’s program, which launched in 2016 in the Orfalea College of Business. Its curriculum distinguishes itself from others with a focus on data visualization, strategy and storytelling in addition to data science. Students engage in interdisciplinary activities leading to three completed projects, by analyzing real world problems and data provided by industry partners including Oracle and Dignity Health.
For more information on the ranking, visit http://www.businessanalytics.com/degrees/masters/.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is giving graduate student Iris Huang the knowledge, skills and connections to succeed in one of today’s hottest fields: data analytics.
Every Chinese New Year, Iris Huang would save the money she received in the traditional red envelopes limned in gold. She remembers being just 6 years old and putting the cash in a cookie jar for safekeeping.
The first-grader had told her class she hoped to be the first in her family to go to college. A boy then snarled at her, “You know that costs like $50,000, right?” That unkind comment was what first spurred her to start saving.
As she grew up, Huang knew she had the grades and the motivation to earn a degree, but she also realized the cookie-jar savings clearly weren’t going to suffice.
“I had always wanted to go to college, for as long as I could remember,” Huang explains. “I studied really hard and did my best in school, but I didn’t know if this dream would ever be achievable because I came from a very low-income household.”
It wasn’t until she met with a high school counselor that she learned about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. “I remember feeling so relieved … Going to college became a possibility because of financial aid,” Huang says.
When it came time to choose a university, Huang knew only that the school would have to be affordable and give her a hands-on learning environment.
She turned to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
The White-Hot Field of Big Data
Thanks to a number of Advanced Placement high school courses under her belt when she arrived at Cal Poly in 2014, Huang was able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business and a concentration in information systems in just three years.
Now in her fourth year, she’s enrolled in the graduate business analytics program, part of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business.
“Before [Cal Poly], I never thought I would even go near the tech field. I didn’t even know business analytics existed,” Huang notes. “Cal Poly has its ‘Learn by Doing’ philosophy, which really resonated with me. A lot of our students are conducting and leading their own projects.”
In the simplest terms, big data analytics involves gathering, organizing, analyzing, and communicating copious amounts of information.
“You can analyze basically anything using big data analysis tools,” says Huang. “My favorite part is visualizing findings and uncovering the story hidden in the data. It’s much easier to show a graph to someone who is unfamiliar with a topic versus showing them a bunch of numbers.”
Data analytics — a field the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will grow 27 percent by 2026 — is so new and quickly evolving that it will almost certainly give Huang her pick of jobs.
“We are learning how to organize data, find insights from the data, and communicate this to executives and key decision makers,” says the 21-year-old.
“You can do pretty much whatever you want with [the degree]. Big data is such a powerful tool.”
Connecting with Industry
If a degree is only as good as its ability to transform your life and your career, there’s already evidence that Huang is on her way to doing meaningful work.
“Getting into the graduate program at San Luis Obispo got me so much more exposure to big data and allowed me to get my foot in the door,” says the first Cal Poly Scholar, a need-based scholarship program, to graduate from Orfalea.
“At the CSU, we as students have so many industry connections available to us,” continues Huang, adding that contacts she’s made have led to internships at Kaiser Permanente and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. At Kaiser, she learned how to diagnose patients using big data by running patients’ lab results through an algorithm written by doctors; the formula could determine who was at risk for certain diseases.
“Sometimes doctors would miss a diagnosis. These projects identified people who would have otherwise been unaware of their illness and helped them get proper treatment,” she explains.
“My parents heavily emphasized education growing up,” says Huang, who also speaks Cantonese and Mandarin and immigrated from China with her parents at the age of 3. “They truly believe education has transformative powers … to make the positive changes in the world you want, allowing you to break out of your socioeconomic situation.”
That message is not unlike the one that has permeated Huang’s time at the CSU: “At Cal Poly, they teach us to not just focus on the technical aspects, but also be sure to focus on your personal values and what you want to get out of your career.”
Learn more about Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Business Analtyics program.
Iris’ article was written by the CSU and appeared as a CSU Profile. Visit the original page.