Meet Sam Andrews, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Student, Entrepreneur and New ASI President

Making the most of your college experience looks different for everyone. This is Sam Andrews’ journey:

Environmental management and protection major Sam Andrews is the newly elected president of Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), Cal Poly’s student-run governmental organization. He has achieved an impressive array of accolades and influence during his time as a student. His last year starts this fall, and he has exciting plans on and off campus. Andrews hopes to do as much as he can to make a positive impact along the way.

In 2019, Andrews came to Cal Poly as a physics major. He later switched to environmental management and protection because he wanted to gain the knowledge and skills to address climate change. Having come from a non-traditional high school in Boulder, Colorado, with a graduating class of 16 students, he was surprised to receive his acceptance, knowing of Cal Poly’s highly competitive admissions process and rigorous academics. “I was in class and yelled from excitement, accidentally interrupting my teacher when I got my acceptance email,” recalled Andrews, who said his teacher was understanding and pleased with the news. “Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology, along with its undergraduate research opportunities, attracted me to the university.”

Andrews took advantage of Cal Poly’s Quarter Plus Program, an intensive month-long program that allows first-year students to complete general education requirements prior to the start of fall quarter. He credits the program with setting him up for success and also for introducing him to his later business partner-turned girlfriend, Alexandra Joelson (Business Administration, ’23). During his freshman year and with the support of Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Andrews co-founded a start-up business with Joelson and three other students. By his second year, the company, Intego Technology, was accepted into the HotHouse Accelerator Program and awarded a grant of $10,000. “Alexandra is a soccer player, so originally our business was going to be making soccer cleats with interchangeable soles,” said Andrews. “The challenge of entrepreneurship is that you must figure things out as you go along. What we developed through the process was a new method of manufacturing the soles of shoes to reduce unnecessary labor. Since then, we have patented the technology, produced products internationally to showcase the tech and begun conversations with large-scale manufacturers to license its use.”

Outside of Andrews’ role in the company, he is dedicated to doing what he can to benefit the campus community. During his sophomore year, Andrews was elected executive president of the Inter Housing Council, Cal Poly’s residential student government. In that capacity, he authored six legislative proposals, with five of them accepted. One accomplishment during his tenure was the installation of safe and secure condom dispensers in all first-year dorms to ensure that students had direct access. “I thought a system of installing medical vending machines could solve this issue.” He also helped to install information about campus CalFresh resources in all university housing community kitchens. He says he did all this because he wants to be an advocate for others and make beneficial change.

With just a year left of his undergraduate degree, Andrews is hopeful and excited for what’s to come. In June, he began his year-long term as ASI president, where he hopes to re-engage the student body and increase involvement in campus government. “During this year’s ASI presidential election, we had about 7 percent of the student body participate in voting, so I hope to get more direct student votes on boards.  If we are facing challenges, I want to make sure students are represented.” Student representation is a pressing issue for Andrews because he believes that to create incremental and inclusive change, he must understand what students need. He hopes to encourage students to participate in ASI’s monthly executive staff meetings, where members of the public and campus community can provide comment during the open forum about issues affecting them.

Following graduation, Andrews plans to take a gap year to finalize licensing agreements for the potential sale of his company before applying to graduate school and potentially pursuing a career in law or politics. “For a long time, I thought I would want to be president [of the United States] one day. Something that brings me joy in the roles I have taken on is the freedom to implement representative and beneficial ideas.” Whether or not Andrews decides to pursue a career in politics, he is a devoted advocate. These days, he lets joy and excitement lead the way, which motivates him to keep going. As he puts it, “I think the purpose of existence is joy, and we get that from each other. When I’m doing something, I ask, how is this going to benefit the world around me?”

Story by: Anya Rehon


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