A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: Andy Hunt ’04 on Warby Parker

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Now that we’re knee deep in finals commotion wouldn’t it be nice to take a break and hear a wildly successful Brown alumnus talk about his eyeglass business? Of course it would! Andy Hunt ’04 will be leading a discussion in Petteruti Lounge tonight at 6:30 p.m.on his various experiences as an entrepreneur. His coolest role is undoubtedly that of co-founder of Warby Parker, an online eyeglass company that emphasizes retro frames (think Don Draper/Truman Capote/Gatsby swag) and affordable prices. If you’re looking for another good study break today, take a minute (or an hour) perusing the company’s many styles. Glasses porn may not be a thing, but this site comes close enough. While the specs surely attract the young adult crowd, they’re also familiar enough to appeal to just about anybody, which is probably why the business recently expanded with its first brick and mortar location. As the talk is sponsored by Brown and RISD entrepreneurship groups, Hunt will surely have plenty of advice for how to get a promising concept off the ground. If you need further proof that your 20-page final research paper on [_insert esoteric topic here_] means nothing, be sure not to miss this cool thing. Once more: Today (Tuesday, May 7) in Petteruti at 6:30.

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That [Survey Course] Kid

You may know that kid from the first row of Principles of Econ, or from the Canvas page for Social Psychology. Having trouble spotting him? Look for a glint in his eyes when he talks about Environmental Studies or Neuroscience. That [Survey Course] Kids are everywhere.

Survey courses have the potential to induce this fervor and enthusiasm  in any and all students, especially when we’re feeling uninspired — trolling for a passion. And as indecisive American college students, we’re always ready to hop on the bandwagon of the next big thing. Trust me. I read the Social Psychology textbook cover to cover last year and proceeded to tout it as my second concentration. I now actively insert terms like “cognitive dissonance” into my everyday conversations. It’s infectious.

Here are some course offerings that tend to ignite such enthusiasm. Keep them in mind as you take a look at what you’ve just pre-registered for. Any of the mentioned courses could be just what you (underclassmen) are looking for in a new direction:

Humans, Nature, and the Environment: Addressing Environmental Change in the 21st Century (ENVS0110): First you’ll start recycling. Then you’ll purchase a bike on Craigslist. And before you know it, you’ll be making your own granola every week. This introduction to Environmental Studies offers a perfectly relevant platform for an invigorating academic obsession. With discussion section in Brown’s quaint University Environmental Laboratory — where one finds him/herself surrounded by a kitchen and an organic garden while discussing sustainability on the reg — it’s hard not to feel the cool factor of this area of interest. Everyone who passes through this building seems to have the passion that you seek. It’s tempting. Continue Reading


Alums Who Do Cool Things (and a future career for you): Andrew Yang ‘96, President of Venture for America

Eager overachievers heading into inner-city classrooms – it’s been done.  Eager overachievers heading into some of America’s most struggling cities, including Detroit, New Orleans, and Providence, to create jobs – fresh meat.  Venture for America forges a liaison between college graduates, the start-up community, and distressed economies by placing young fellows in high-unemployment cities.  With the charge of creating organizations and expanding employment infrastructure, the organization hopes to create 100,000 domestic jobs by 2025.  The organization president, Andrew Yang ’96 (economics concentrator), took some time to speak with BlogDH.

What inspired you to start Venture for America?  How did you get the idea?  I’ve encountered hundreds of enterprising recent college graduates who wanted to get into start-ups but didn’t know where to start.  Yet, when I was running a company I was always looking to hire good young talent and had a hard time finding it.  I realized that there was a structural issue around start-up recruiting – if we made it easier to work for start-ups and provided a support system, many more graduates would take advantage of the opportunity. More from Andrew after the jump.

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Alums Who Do Cool Things: Julie Sygiel ’09 makes ‘that time of the month’ feel sexy

When Julie Sygiel graduated Brown in May of 2009, she graduated not only with a degree in Chemical Engineering, but as the CEO and co-founder of her very own company: Sexy Period.

The story of Sexy Period—a company that designs high-tech lingerie for women to wear without fear of stains during their periods—began right here at Brown University. And whether or not you experience a menstrual cycle (ahem, gentlemen), read on, because the story behind Sexy Period is one of some serious entrepreneurship and innovation. Continue Reading