RECESS Music and Ideas Festival came to USC on Wednesday as part of its national tour of 10 college campuses. The festival, which took place on Trousdale Parkway sought to inspire students to innovate and create their own startups.
“Startup culture is really at a high right now, and college campuses have always been known as the epicenters for some of the biggest innovations of our time,” said Adam Ornelas, marketing manager for RECESS.
RECESS originally began in 2010 as a music festival touring college campuses. After cofounders Deuce Thevenow and Jack Shannon noticed how many students were passionate about entrepreneurship, they relaunched the festival in 2013 as a way to entertain and educate students at the same time.
“We hope that it can hopefully raise the awareness of entrepreneurship and reach students that maybe hadn’t thought about it or hadn’t been attracted to it,” said Jack Shannon, cofounder of RECESS. “The whole goal is to give them the opportunity to get in front of real investors, mentors or advisors.”
The event took place in three parts over the course of the day. The Playground, which took place on Trousdale Parkway starting at 10 a.m., gave students the opportunity to network with companies, including Lyft and L’Oreal.
Genesis Casco, a junior majoring in biochemistry, said the fair changed her ideas about the social impact that business can have.
“If I were to ever start a company, I would love to give back. Not just to be getting money but to be giving it back to other people who need help,” Casco said.
The fair also gave companies a way to identify students interested in developing new ideas.
“We have been wanting to find a good way to talk to students at USC who are of the entrepreneurial mindset, and RECESS is the perfect venue for that,” Erik Nielsen, cofounder of 2Truths and a Lie, said. “It’s kind of a mini-TED Talks for college campuses.”
In the evening, in the Annenberg West lobby, the speaker series “Office Hours” hosted a talk about fame on Vine with Vine influencer King Bach and a discussion on kickstarting a digital career with digital influencer Claudia Sulewski and L’Oreal Paris Senior Digital Marketing Manager Thomas Ahn. The panels were moderated by CNET Senior Editor Ashley Esqueda and CEO of Career Sushi, Shara Senderoff.
Ahn spoke about why he wanted to talk with students about innovation and entrepreneurship.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to have a symbiotic learning relationship, where we can mentor [students] and teach them things, and they can also give us a fresh perspective and fresh thinking,” Ahn said.
The event culminated in a pitch competition, which provided a platform for five teams of students to present an idea for a startup to a panel of judges.
The winning team, KRAFT IT, consisted of Kyle Walden and Patrick Carmody, both juniors majoring in business administration and pitched an idea for a device that would measure air pollution.
The team said they have participated in pitch competitions in the past, and were honored to receive the win on Wednesday.
KRAFT IT will advance to the RECESS Field Trip where they will compete against winning teams from other colleges for the chance to start a company based on their idea.