Business administration senior Sander DiAngelis founded MOJA Gear, one of the many student start-ups in attendance at Thursday's Spectacle event. | Courtesy Photo

Aja Frost
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In between serving scoops of quinoa and goat cheese, food science junior and Real Food Collaborative member Chris Sayegh talked about why the co-op was in attendance at Thursday’s annual Spectacle event.

“We want people to understand what we’re trying to do,” he said. “We have a mission: to bring healthy, affordable food to campus. Cal Poly students are crying out for it, so we need to let them know we’re trying to answer that need.”

Spectacle — hosted by Cal Poly Entrepreneurs — gives students, faculty and San Luis Obispo residents a chance to showcase their ingenuity and creativity by providing a free forum for networking and raising awareness. Most of the 38 participants in Chumash Auditorium were start-ups or clubs.

Sayegh gestured to a sign-up sheet filled with names of Spectacle attendees who wanted to get involved with the co-op.

“We have 20 students who want to get involved, and we’ve talked to four or five times that many,” he said. “We probably spoke to 100 people today, all interested in what we have to offer.”

Industrial engineering senior Nehad Dababo was a little less excited about Spectacle’s promotional opportunities. He was there on behalf of the Society of Automative Engineers, which designs, builds, assembles and ultimately races in cars.

“I think that the timing is a little inconvenient — maybe if Spectacle was on a Friday, or later in the day,” he said. “A lot of people are in class right now. I just haven’t seen a lot of students come by.”

Ning Jeng, chief financial officer of Cal Poly Entrepreneurs and a bioresource and agricultural engineering sophomore, attributed the relatively low attendance to the Career Fair, which was taking place at the same time.

“It’s a lot less busy than last year,” he said, looking around.

However, most of the startups and groups that had booths were excited about the exposure Spectacle gave them.

“Although it’s not too great in terms of sales because there aren’t a ton of people here, we wanted to find entrepreneurs to take it to the next generation,” said industrial engineering senior Chad Kihm, one of the four co-owners of Apoc Apparel, a student-grown clothing company. “We are all graduating this year, so we’re looking to find some students who we can groom for two or three months.”

Food science senior Shoshana Cantor believed the event was a great way to showcase new Cal Poly-produced products, including sweet hickory and fiery barbeque sauces and balsamic vinaigrette.

“We’ve done it the last couple years,” she said. “It’s a really good event to get the word out. We’ve had students, prospective students, and adults come by, and most of them didn’t know about all of our products or our product expansion until now. So yeah, I’m a big fan of Spectacle.”

Cal Poly Entrepreneurs events coordinator and food science senior Andrea Zeng said this was her first year running the event, but she has been an exhibitor in prior years. She believed this year’s Spectacle was a success.

“Letting the student body know what you’re doing is an incredible experience to have,” Zeng said. “It’s a really great opportunity for people to network with the Cal Poly campus.”

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