Cookies, more band members and art. These are the first things I noticed while entering the Innovation Lab (Jabs 207). A hint of sweet icing from cookie decorators floated into the air as students and community members trickled into the room. Small groups conglomerated and the rising decibel level of the conversations made the room hum with activity. As the band picked up their semi-acoustic harmonies, the Lab swelled with energy. At the wave of a hand, organizer Sam Lucas quieted the band and welcomed about 30 people to the fourth iteration of LaunchCats’ Good Company featuring Owner Tiffany Lach of the Sola Café.
Her challenge to the audience? Design the best way to reach students campus-wide and inform them about Sola’s Jabs Hall location. As she spoke, clearly and with intention, the room fell into a hush. “Sola Café” she described, “was designed with community and health in mind. It’s design…well it matches my values. I have to follow my values.” Everyone immediately went to work. Dan Penoyer interrupted the building to share that “no idea was a bad idea” and related how he’d scraped his car windows using a cereal box. The energy resumed as people shared ideas among their groups. After around twenty minutes, everyone came together to present their thoughts. After that quick discussion, a second round was presented on finalized ideas, with Tiffany providing feedback to each of the teams. One of the best ideas that came out of the mix was that of a a ‘Sola Study Hour’ where students would be invited into Jabs Hall from around campus for free or very discounted food. Include focused Instagram pictures and postering, and everyone thought that Tiffany’s goals of awareness across campus could be achieved. The music continued as Tiffany thanked everyone for their work and invited us all to share in some Sola beverages and mac n’ cheese. Kia Johns presented Tiffany with a piece of artwork she’d made on canvas while the event was going on. On into the evening the conversations continued, and the fourth Good Company was a rousing success.
- Ed Johnson