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Owen Schwaegerle had not touched a single cup of coffee until his presidential campaign started.
“(On election day) I woke up at 7 a.m. for class and drank the fourth cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my life,” Schwaegerle said. “The night before the election, my campaign team was hard at work gathering last-minute votes at Vista Grande Cafe. We stayed out until 2 a.m. and talked to over one hundred freshmen.”
Schwaegerle’s dedicated campaign team attempted to reach out to all of Cal Poly’s students until the very end of the campaign period.
Once the end results were announced, Schwaegerle felt overwhelmed with disbelief, yet also relieved.
“I couldn’t believe it and I was shaking in my bones,” Schwaegerle said.
However, this is not the first time Schwaegerle has won a presidential election — his father Gary Schwaegerle described his son’s first small-scale presidential win in middle school.
“He ran for eighth-grade class president and won,” Gary Schwaegerle said. “He’s his own motivation.”
With a family background of agriculture, cattlemen ranchers and dairy farming, it is no surprise Owen is studying agricultural business at Cal Poly.
“I had two cousins who had come to Cal Poly as agricultural business majors, so I thought I could do the same,” Schwaegerle said. “I always liked the idea of being a farmer and helping feed the world. I thought this was my chance to do just that.”
His father describes the family lineage as a group of honest, determined individuals. Owen’s great-grandfather, a cattle rancher, lost his ranch and land during the Great Depression; however, he eventually regained his possessions in 1927.
“We’re a hard-working bunch of people,” Gary said. “That’s sort of in the blood of our heritage.”
Owen grew up surrounded by nature. He looks back fondly on the days when he and his father would work out in the garden for hours.
“It taught me the value of handwork and instilled in me a love of the earth,” Schwaegerle said.
When not involved with school or studying, Owen enjoys reading books such as the series Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia.
Schwaegerle also enjoys venturing outside. He frequently hikes with his girlfriend, biological sciences sophomore Camille Lethcoe, at Montana de Oro, Reservoir Canyon and Avila Ridge Trail.
In addition to staying active, Schwaegerle played football for four years during high school.
“I loved the feeling of brotherhood the football team offered,” Schwaegerle said.
Schwaegerle’s appreciation for brotherhood followed him through college and led to him joining the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity. He thanks one of his best friends, agricultural business junior Devin Lilles, for introducing him to many life-changing moments in college after they met during freshman orientation week.
Lilles saw Schwaegerle’s positive attitude as one of the determining factors in securing his win for ASI presidency.
“His best characteristic is definitely his optimism,” Lilles said. “He’ll set a goal and do whatever the hell he can to achieve that goal. I think he’d make a good ASI president because he’s already heavily involved with politics, (and) with this power position, he would be able to do things that could further benefit Cal Poly.”
Last winter, Schwaegerle attended a California Higher Education Student Summit conference with current ASI President Joi Sullivan and two members from the Board of Directors, political science junior Annalee Akin and communication studies junior Chris Lopez. He participated in lobbying and advocated for more state funding for California State University campuses.
Schwaegerle already has a list of improvements he plans to address next school year. One is more collaboration with the University Police Department to allow escort vans to take off-campus students home safely.
“I just read a campus alert this weekend about how there was an assault that took place on Grand Avenue and Slack Street, a tragedy that should have been prevented,” Schwaegerle said.
Improving student safety on and off campus is a prioritized issue Schwaegerle hopes to contribute toward next year as ASI president. He welcomes Cal Poly students to reach out and express any of their concerns.
“I love people and I am always free and available to hear your concerns,” Schwaegerle said. “You can always email me any of your questions. I like to get to know people and I want to know how I can best represent you as your ASI president.”