Cal Poly marked Earth Day 2004 with a public convocation on Friday April 23 entitled Education for Sustainability: Engaging the Polytechnic University.

President Warren Baker declared Cal Poly a signatory to the Talloires Declaration, a ten point pledge to make the university an agent for practising, improving and teaching methods of sustainable resource use and environmental protection signed by over 300 university chancellors and presidents worldwide. 

Guest speaker was David Orr, a renowned author and lecturer on the topic of Education for Sustainability,  who spearheaded the effort to design, finance and build an Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College--a "Green Building" described by the New York Times as "the most remarkable" of a new generation of college buildings and selected as one of 30 "milestone buildings" by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Orr was introduced by R. Thomas Jones, the new Dean of Cal Poly's College of Architecture and Environmental Design, who is Executive Director of the California Futures Network and a nationally recognized expert on "smart growth." 

Other speakers included Alison Anderson, Associated Students President, and George Lewis, Chair of the Cal Poly Academic Senate. Peter Lee, Dean of the College of Engineering who announced plans for the formation of a University Center for Sustainable Engineering.

The Convocation took place at Chumash auditorium located in the University Union and drew an audience of 350.  Exhibits of student projects, faculty research, and administration programs fostering sustainability were on display.

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost and supported by many University constituencies and organizations, this event highlighted Cal Poly's emerging interdisciplinary and interdepartmental efforts to address problems created by outdated environmentally damaging technologies and to promote both innovative and traditional alternatives to solve them.