Home Student Freelance Submissions Odwalla’s backbone: Mitchell Woodward

Odwalla’s backbone: Mitchell Woodward

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Mitchell Woodward stands proudly by his fully stocked Odwalla refrigerator.
Photo by Madison Jones Special Contributor – Journalism 201A


By Madison Jones
Special Contributor
Journalism 201A

Everyday many Cal Poly students enjoy the ease of heading to the University Union and grabbing an Odwalla juice – where behind the scenes, help from students is necessary to the distribution.

Odwalla juices are popular among students. To easily obtain, Students simply swipe their “PolyCard,” or student ID card with preloaded “plus” dollars and have access to a variety of juices.

This ease of access for Cal Poly students has relied on brothers of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity for years. The baton has been passed on to agribusiness major Mitchell Woodward this year.

Woodward is an active member of the Cal Poly Chi Chapter of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and got into this line of work “to make some side money.”

He described the job as one “from the bros passed through generations.” Unlike the more ordinary 8-5 job.

According Woodward the job is unusual because of the hours.

“I can pretty much work whenever I want,” Woodward said, “Lots of times people ask me who I work for and they don’t believe me.”

Odwalla makes fifteen-ounce plastic bottles of fruit and vegetable juice, protein shakes, and smoothies. They’re conveniently packaged with nutrition facts and grams of protein on the front of the bottle.
Woodward is an Odwalla fanatic just like many other students and faculty members:

“I love Odwalla juice. I drank them all the time last year when I had plus dollars.” He adds, “it’s really hard not to drink all the juices…sometimes I just wanna open one.”

Chocolate protein is the most popular flavor among Cal Poly students, according to Woodward.

Because he wears a black sweatshirt and baseball style hat with the Odwalla logo, he blends in with the students easily and is asked what he is doing in the freezer with all of the juices.

Many people perceive Greek life at universities negatively, but Woodward is proud of his fraternity for helping him get this job. “You don’t see too many of those,” he said.

Though he enjoys his job, it does come with a few challenges. He can mostly work as needed; however, he does have to stock juices at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. All of the juices are stored in one of the university’s industrial freezers.

“It’s really cold in the freezer so I put on a jacket and look like some rando,” he said. “It’s really cold in there.”

As does anything of industrial size, the freezer presents additional challenges for Woodward. University dining stores all of the prepared food for their dining establishments in the freezer and it can be a bit crowded at times.

“So like in the freezer they prepare all the food and put it on huge carts and I can’t get to the Odwalla juice rack and it’s annoying and I have to move them and then move it all back.”

Another challenge he deals with is forgetting his pocket knife.

“Sometimes I forget my knife and I have to open everything by hand…sometimes when I get a row perfectly stocked a kid will come and take one,” he said. “Juices will fall off the ledge when you stack too many on a shelf.”

Balancing classes, work, and being an active member of a fraternity are elements of a college lifestyle that he balances well. There are a series of actions behind every Cal Poly Odwalla juice purchase, facilitated by Cal Poly’s own Woodward.