On November 4, 2008, Ian Blue '10 joined the California’s Electoral College to serve as one of the 55 Presidential Electors. Blue first developed a political inclination after a summer internship on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.
Blue studied political science at UC Santa Barbara, where he also participated in student government. He also worked at a summer internship on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., where he discovered his passion for politics.
After graduation, he returned to Washington D.C. to work as a congressional legislative assistant.
In 2015, he returned to California to work as member relations director at the Wine Institute, the public policy advocacy group for California Wineries. He also serves as president of Olé SF, an alumni networking group for Gauchos in San Francisco.
What drew you to study at UCSB? What was your student experience like?
I was drawn to the vibrant student life and culture at UCSB along with the strong academics and unbeatable location. I transferred to UCSB from community college, so I knew very few fellow students when I started. But that forced me to socialize and I immersed myself into student life the best I could, particularly by getting involved with political clubs on campus.
What inspired you to create the young alumni networks?
I moved to the east coast after graduation and was surprised by how many Gauchos there were out there. There was a lot of interest in getting groups together for happy hours and on the weekends. There's always a special bond when you run into another Gaucho so there was a ton of interest in facilitating more opportunity for folks to get together.
What are some of the challenges for you as an alumni leader to establish your group in San Francisco?
We are constantly trying to expand our reach to alumni in the area who might not be aware of us and making sure we get the word out to recent graduates who might have moved to the Bay Area. Of course, we are also all volunteers and do this in our free time!
How has it grown? How big is your group?
We have grown a lot since we started. Some of our larger events have had hundreds of alumni in attendance and our Facebook page has nearly 2,500 alumni engaged on it.
What are some of the benefits you have observed among your Olé members, from establishing closer ties in their Gaucho network?
Our events create great opportunities for alumni to network both professionally and socially and to reconnect with old friends.
What's next for Olé SF?
We are looking forward to our next big event, our "Welcome to the City BBQ" which is our way of welcoming recent UCSB graduates who have moved to the Bay Area. We are looking to host more networking-focused events, such as forums with speakers from particular sectors.
"I am passionate about politics and wine, that I get to do both for work every day is a dream come true."