What’s Poppin Launches Website To Connect Students With Meaningful Events

“[What’s Poppin] was originally just meant to be something for me to put on my resume,” Joseph Kitonga said. After all, most sophomores don’t plan to launch a startup, let alone during their third semester on campus. That all changed when Kitonga made a Facebook post over the summer asking for help with his new idea — Azzam Shaikh responded, and the rest is history.

What’s Poppin is a website Kitonga and Shaikh recently launched to connect Penn State students with events to help them find their respective niches on campus. With hundreds of organizations, the duo recognized how difficult it can be to find a place where you fit in. What’s Poppin aims to fill this gap in getting involved. After all, the involvement fair can be a nightmare for an already-overwhelmed freshman, and many events and organizations aren’t represented there anyway.

“I think what makes us different…is we don’t care about the big events,” Kitonga said. It’s a reasonable assumption most people on campus already knows about things like THON and concerts at the Bryce Jordan Center. Instead, What’s Poppin is meant to expose students to events they might not otherwise hear about. The pair is working with Happy Valley LaunchBox, a Penn State entrepreneurship initiative, to help make their ideas a reality.

“We’re more focused on helping not as many people as possible, but helping the certain few that need it the most,” Shaikh said. For What’s Poppin, the people who get the most value are those trying to get more involved and expand their personal horizons, often freshmen or students who just transferred to Penn State. “If we can help at least one person, I think for me that would be worth it,” Kitonga said.

Right now, anyone can make a free account on the What’s Poppin website to interact with other users and post events. Kitonga and Shaikh hope to release their app for iOS and Android by the end of the month. Kitonga and Shaikh currently hand-pick events to put on the website, but they hope it will grow to the point where most event content is user-generated.

“We don’t want it to be a Craigslist for events,” Shaikh said. “We want it to be something more meaningful where people can go and figure out who they are.”

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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