We host competitions as a way to shine a light on our amazing students and offer additional opportunities for Learn by Doing. We love to see the creative ideas and energy you bring to your entries!

Learn more about Open Science Cafe at Kennedy Library and the Pitch Perfect Video Competition, which is offered in partnership with the Orfalea College of Business.

Open Science Café

Make your own event with a $3,000 budget!

Photo of two presenters receiving a thank you poster at Cal Poly Science Cafe with Guayaki

Cal Poly Science Cafe with Guayaki

To celebrate five years of bringing the campus and community together for interactive events and causal conversations at Cal Poly Science Café, the Robert E. Kennedy Library launched a new initiative, Open Science Cafe.

Open Science Cafe is designed to inspire and empower students to make their own Cal Poly Science Café event with the researcher, thought leader or creative mover and shaker of their choice. This is an opportunity to gain project management experience from start (concept and development) to finish (implementation and assessment) with a mentor. The event can relate to any discipline; it doesn’t have to be about science.

In addition to the $3,000 event budget, students receive a $500 stipend for their leadership.

Want to know more? Read our blog about Open Science Cafe.

Announcing the winning proposal for 2014 Open Science Cafe!

Ali Albiani is an Art+Design senior whose passions include “incorporating design in combination with technology, science, startups, fine art and Spanish.”

Many of those passions are reflected in her winning proposal to bring Steve Duenes, the Graphics Director for The New York Times, to Cal Poly for an interactive event May 9, 2014, at our first Open Science Cafe. Read more about what Ali is planning on our blog.

The panel of nine judges selected Ali’s proposal because of its thoroughness, thoughtfulness and vision. It wasn’t any easy decision, since there were a dozen proposals, with at least one from every college.

The winner will be selected based on 1) creativity and thoughtfulness and 2) feasibility and planning. We welcome applications from students at every college and in every discipline. Experiential, interactive event designs are encouraged.

After reviewing applications, we will meet with selected students to discuss their ideas.


  • Applications will be accepted from individual students only.
  • You must be a Cal Poly student during spring quarter 2014.
  • We reserve the right not to select a recipient.

FAQ about Open Science Café

What is Cal Poly Science Café?
It’s a fun series that brings the campus and community together for interactive events and causal conversations. They last about an hour and can cover any topic, not just those relating to science. Ideally, they are hands-on. See what we’ve done on our Vimeo channel and join us on Facebook.

Where and when does Cal Poly Science Café happen?
It is usually held in the Robert E. Kennedy Library, on the second floor, near Julian’s. We’ve found the best time to hold the events is on a Thursday, 11:00AM-12:30PM, but there is some flexibility.

How does Open Science Cafe work?
You will be empowered by a budget of up to $3,000 to bring your vision to life as an organizer and host of your own Cal Poly Science Café. The budget is designed to cover event expenses like speaker fees, travel arrangements and food. All expenses are reviewed, approved and processed by the library. Any budget not spent will be returned to library funds. Students will also receive a $500 stipend for their leadership.

Do you write me a check for $3,000?
No. We set aside a budget for you to spend on creating your dream event. We will process the expenses. We will, however, write you a check for $500 at the conclusion of the event.

Who typically plans Cal Poly Science Café?
Karen Lauritsen, the communications and public programs coordinator, together with a team of staff.

How do you plan a Cal Poly Science Café?
It takes creativity, flexibility and organization. You will be mentored through the process by Karen and others at the library. You can learn more about planning your own science cafe event in this presentation Karen made.

How do I apply?
Via our online application. You must be a Cal Poly student during spring quarter 2014, when your event will be held.

How will the winning award be selected?
The award will be selected based on 1) creativity and thoughtfulness and 2) feasibility and planning. We welcome applications from students at every college and in every discipline. Experiential, interactive event designs are encouraged.

After reviewing applications, we will meet with selected students to discuss their ideas to inform our final selection.

We reserve the right not to select an award recipient.

What do I get out of this?
In addition to the budget, infrastructure and support to make your vision a reality, the hands-on experience of making a program happen from start to finish will be valuable in your professional life. It will also look great on your resume. Of course, there is also the $500 stipend.

It seems like a lot of work.
Yes! Luckily, you’ll have a lot of support. You’ll also have the opportunity to show your real-world experience to future employers by documenting your process.

Can I work with friends?
Applications will be accepted from individual students only.

Who do I contact with more questions?
Karen Lauritsen, Communications and Public Programs Coordinator.


Pitch Perfect 60-second Video Competition

A partnership with Orfalea College of Business

Pitch Perfect Video Competition

6th Annual Pitch Perfect Video Competition in 2014.

Designed so that students can practice their business pitch skills to promote the value of their university library at Cal Poly, this competition awards five generous cash prizes to top video entries. Students from every college are encouraged to apply.

Create your perfect pitch

You have 60 seconds in front of someone who can help your organization. You have to inspire them in that one minute!

Orfalea College of Business Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship, Jon York, gives the following tips on how to make a pitch:

  • Create a story, something concrete and personal, if possible.
  • Tell the audience something they don’t know.
  • Think about the listener. Answer their question: “What’s in it for me?”
  • End with a call to action (ask the viewer to do something).

Every year students explore a new theme.

How to enter

One entry per person or group. All entries must be submitted with an Official Entry Form and Release Agreement (PDF). Each person appearing in the video must sign their own release agreement.

Videos must be:

•    Made by Cal Poly students enrolled full or part time in winter quarter, 2014.
•    No more than 1 minute in total running time.
•    Submitted in the .MOV or .WMV formats (not DVD format) on a CD, which will not be returned.
•    640 x 480 resolution or higher.
•    In English or include English subtitles.
•    Submitted by 5PM (PST) Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. Hand-deliver your CD, entry form and release agreements(s) to Kennedy Library, Administration Office (Room 204).

For technical questions or assistance contact Patrick Kammermeyer at ude.yloplacnull@mremmakp. For general questions contact Karen Lauritsen at ude.yloplacnull@stirualk or 805-756-7549.

Judging criteria

A panel of judges from the Cal Poly community will select the winners from qualified entries. Videos will be judged on the following: 1) plot, cohesion and audience appeal, 2) technical merit, filming, editing and creativity and 3) relevance to theme (stays true to presenting an entrepreneurial idea for Kennedy Library).

Winners will be announced at a reception in the library’s atrium the week of February 10, 2014. Winners must attend the reception.

The judges reserve the right not to award a prize. The decision of the judges will be final.

The fine print

You must be the original author of everything in your video or have permission to use copyright-protected material. You must provide written proof that you have permission to use copyrighted material.

Submissions using non-licensed, copyrighted musical, visual, or literary properties without legal permission are ineligible. Yes, this includes music. Each person appearing in your video must fill out and sign the Personal Image and Voice Release Agreement (page two of the entry form).

Students are expected to compete in the spirit of the Mustang Way. Students may not, for example, purchase votes on social media as part of the competition. If students are suspected of purchasing votes, they will be disqualified.

Students who work at Kennedy Library are ineligible.

Getting equipment

Borrow laptops, iPads and more
Available at the Poly onnect Computer Lab window (library, first floor near entrance)

Cal Poly Media Distribution Services
Cal Poly students can check out equipment through MDS.

2014 winners

2014 theme: You’re the consultant. What opportunities do you see to improve services through partnership and innovation?

“Hands On” by Jenna Hoffman

“Spark” by Paige Thornley

“The Brightest Minds” by Sarah Islas

“A Beautiful Mind” by Tiffany Kinson

“PolyProjects” by Kathryn Cassidy

More about the winners

2013 winners

2013 theme: You’re an imagination architect. Imagine your dream library.

“Kennedy is my Boyfriend” by  Lindsey Lewis

“DayDreamers” by Sven Le

“Finding Home” by Russell Holliday and Matt Erich

“My Dream Library” by Chelsea Kitta

More about the winners

2012 winners

2012 theme: Make a pitch for Kennedy Library in 60 seconds.

“Sanctuary” by Andrew Mai (LAES)

“Study Meets Play” by Ruben Custodio (GRC)

“Why We Love Kennedy Library” by Darryl Williams (BUS)

More about the winners

2011 winners

2011 theme: Kennedy Library—Thirty years in the making. What’s next?

“Time Flies” by Buddy Bump

“Marley’s Angels” by Ruben Custodio

“The Most Interesting Man in the Library” by Miles Fairchild

2010 winners

2010 theme: Hidden treasures within Kennedy Library

“Priceless” by Paul Cha

“Living in the Kennedy Library” by Colin McGuire

2009 winners

2009 was the first year for the Cal Poly Student Video Competition. See the winning entries at the Cal Poly You Tube Channel.

Winning Videos

  • “Home Sweet Home,” Kirsten Peterson, Director
  • “March to the Library,” Mike Deagen, Director
  • “Cal Poly Film Club Video,” Vicki Lindem, Director