Inaugural Stinger Expo brings student entrepreneurship market to campus

Vendors showcase arts, crafts, clothing and more


Collin Houck

Raven Vance, an anthropology major in her junior year, stands next to her soap and bath products at the Stinger Expo on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Vance said that while bath bombs are usually the top sellers, her bar soaps were her most popular item at the event.

Collin Houck, staff writer

Sacramento State junior Zaid Darwish couldn’t help but notice the amount of people allowed to approach students on campus daily, persuading them to sign petitions. As a business major with a concentration in marketing, Darwish said he saw an opportunity for fellow entrepreneurial Hornets.

“If people are able to ask you for signatures and tell you about religion…” he said, “…then why not have students sell and be vendors?” 

More than 250 students attended the first ever Stinger Expo hosted by the student entrepreneurship club The Hive on Wednesday, according to Darwish, the event’s organizer.

(L-R): Event host Zaid Darwish, a business major and A.Z. Nicdao, a business major, pose at the Carlsen Center inside the Library at the Stinger Expo on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. The event is the first of its kind at Sac State, according to Darwish, the event’s organizer. (Collin Houck)

Vendors went through an application process and were then selected to be featured in the expo, according to Darwish, who said he was thrilled to see the impact that it had on the campus community. 

Darwish said he was inspired to organize the Stinger Expo after  seeing other marketplaces around Sacramento. 

“I took a lot of inspiration from expos in Sacramento like ‘World’s Worst Expo’ and ‘SacTown’s Finest Market,’” Darwish said. 

This Stinger Expo marked the first time that student entrepreneurs sold their goods and advertised on campus. Despite its success, Darwish said the event almost didn’t happen. 

“It’s the first time that students are able to act as vendors without having to provide a permit, license or insurance,” Darwish said. “We had to advocate really hard for it. At one point it wasn’t going to happen at all, but I kept negotiating.” 

Students gather at the Carlsen Center observing the several different vendors at the Stinger Expo on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. The event was the first of its kind where students could act as vendors without having to provide permits or insurance, according to event organizer Zaid Darwish. (Collin Houck)

Camryn Edlund, a junior graphic design major, is an entrepreneur with her own photography business called Camryn’s Captures. She said she was grateful for the opportunity to attend the event and explained that because it’s student-driven, it really makes a positive impact.

“I think it’s really cool that it’s all businesses run by students,” Edlund said. “I knew I ran a business but I didn’t know everybody else was running businesses. It’s really cool to see all the different things that people do.” 

Edlund said he hopes that there will be other expos like this in the future to help other student entrepreneurs continue to grow and connect their businesses. 

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Vanessa Vang, a junior psychology major, sold washi tapes, envelopes and scrunchies at her booth. She said it’s important to her that students are the ones selling their product on campus. 

“I think it’s really special because it’s the first-led student expo,” Vang said. “It’s run by just student leaders and The Hive. They created this event for us to do, which I appreciate so much.” 

Dominique Orozco, an environmental studies major in her junior year, sells second-hand clothing and said she values the importance of small businesses and their impact on the student body. 

Dominique Orozco, a junior environmental studies major, poses at the Stinger Expo on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Orozco said she believes it is important for small businesses to be heard. (Collin Houck)

“I thought it was really cool that they were giving small businesses a platform to get their brands out there,” Orozco said. “I think that’s really important and small businesses are important.” 

Orozco said she hopes that since there was a high turnout, there will be other expos in the future. 

“I think that there was a good enough outcome of people showing up and starting buying things,” Orozco said. “So I don’t see why not.”

Raven Vance, an anthropology major in her junior year, is an entrepreneur for Wander Love, a business in which she sells natural and organic bath products with her mother. She said she appreciates the uniqueness and importance of being a student entrepreneur. 

“It gives students the opportunity to start the process with their business,” Vance said. “I’ve met a couple people here who this is their first event as a business.” 

Vance also said that since this is an event at Sac State, it is great that students are comfortable in what they are doing and where they are promoting their business. 

“It’s nice for students to be in the environment they’re used to when they are starting to do an event like this,” Vance said. “Versus if you were to go out to the Downtown Commons.” 

Mark Koperwhats, a third-year photography major, said they noticed flyers around campus and was invited by a friend to check it out. 

Koperwhats said that since COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, they think it’s good to have public events for the first time in a while. 

“I’ve only been here a few minutes, but it seems like it’s pretty good,” Koperwhats said. “It’s nice to have events again after being away from campus for a long time.” 

According to Phil Thip, a kinesiology major in his freshman year,  the event brought out the best interests of the campus community. 

“I think it’s really special because it goes to a lot of people,” Thip said. “Thrifting, vintage clothes, crystals, it’s really relatable to everybody.”