I Need Advice.

This forum is for anyone seeking advice on starting a collegiate team, branching out into new types of tournaments, or other "how-to" aspects of collegiate quizbowl.
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Mnemosyne
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I Need Advice.

Post by Mnemosyne » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:36 am

Some of you know that I've been working on starting a team at Louisiana Tech this year. Well, bureaucracy sucks. I've had a few informal practices to see if people were interested, talented, etc. No one really seems to be too interested, though. The problem really is that I'm all on my own. I can't send out mass emails or put up flyers or anything until I have an official organization. So I'm always just telling people I'm starting a team, having like 15% show up to our little question reading sessions, and just generally being unsuccessful. I'm not an official organization yet because I have to write a constitution and complete other miserable paperwork, and I don't have a faculty adviser.

Here's the catch. There's a group in the Honors College who is willing to make the Quiz Bowl team a sort of subgroup of another existing club (we'll call them Honors Council to get the general idea, but that's not what it is exactly). The students in this group are very enthusiastic and willing to push forward the idea. This opens up fundraising opportunities, the ability to host high school tournaments, etc. This is also a group of high-achieving students who might be more interested in QB than the random people I find. I have two professors who strongly support this. Both think that if the team sticks at all, I can branch off into a QB organization next year.

Naturally, only Honors students can play. Of course, it disgusts me to forbid anyone from participating, which is why I'm here. The pros are faculty support, student support, publicity, financial support, the ability to reach out to high schools sooner rather than later, etc. The cons are excluding people who might be good/enthusiastic players, allowing non-QB people to meddle in my QB business, and probably other things you guys will tell me.

I actually think this might be the best route to take. What I think the best solution would be is to do this and work on building up support for the organization, while still advertising on the side and trying to reach out to more people for next year. I'd like to hear other people's opinions on this. Is this a completely awful idea, or one that could work?
Nick Collins
C. E. Byrd '12 (Shreveport, LA)
Louisiana Tech '16, '17
University of Virginia

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TulaneKQB
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by TulaneKQB » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:56 am

As long as you don't have to agree to some kind of long-term commitment then I think it would be all right. Really, anything that you can do to get butts in seats at practice and plant your organization's roots is better than a possible year of inactivity. Also, realistically, many of the people on your team are going to be honors students anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about that rule necessarily keeping a lot of interested people out (especially if you have the option of leaving the purview of that Honors Council next year). In the mean time, I think that it's promising that you seem to have already found a way to improve the prospects of QB at La. Tech and hope that this deal with the Honors College helps your organization grow.
Ryan McLaren
President, Tulane University Krewe of Quiz Bowl (2009-12)
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mhayes
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by mhayes » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:46 pm

TulaneKQB wrote:I wouldn't worry too much about that rule necessarily keeping a lot of interested people out (especially if you have the option of leaving the purview of that Honors Council next year).
Also, tournament eligibility rules supersede the rules of the Honors College. So for example, if a non-honors student wants to accompany you guys to ACF Fall, then the Honors College has no jurisdiction. Now when it comes to on-campus activities, that's probably different.

But if you decide to go that route, don't relinquish control. You know more about quiz bowl than the folks in Honors, and you don't want someone in charge who is unfamiliar with it. You should provide LOTS of input into ideas for hosting tournaments, traveling to tournaments, and pretty much anything regarding quiz bowl. So in general, I agree with Ryan, but be cautious. As far as finding new members, do you know of any former high school quiz bowlers who are students at Tech? Although schools play mostly LAAC, it seems like there are several active high school teams in north Louisiana.

Try not to be discouraged. There are 12,000 students at Tech, and I promise that you'll find interested people. The first year is always rough for the reasons you mentioned, but right now, all you need are a few interested people to get things going. Once you get chartered (or agree to join Honors), go crazy with flyers, and maybe even place an ad in the school paper. Although it has likely passed, if Tech holds a student organization recruitment day, then definitely participate in this for next school year.
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AKKOLADE
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:01 pm

Do you know anyone else at all at LaTech that played quiz bowl? Is there an intermediate that could help you find interested players, i.e. old players? Does your organizational body for campus organizations have an email system or similar notification thing that you could try and recruit people through?

If you do go with the Honors College's help, are you permanently tied to them or could you split off into your own club, with your own eligibility rules, once you have sufficient interest?
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
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Auroni
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by Auroni » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:03 pm

I think that it is worthwhile to get the club going at any cost, even if it means restricting membership to Honors students initially. I understand that it sucks to want to limit membership to anyone interested, but you make it seem that there's nobody interested who isn't an Honors student. In the future, you come across non-Honors people who want to join, then you have the option of making it an organization outside the Honors college.

Of course, if the Honors Society proves to be incredibly bureaucratic and prevents you from dissociating with them, then you're screwed already.
Auroni Gupta
Michigan '17
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Mnemosyne
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by Mnemosyne » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:40 pm

I'm fairly confident the Honors Program won't have any stranglehold on the club. It was the faculty members' idea to split off into a new organization next year, not mine. It's basically a one-year deal.

Matt: The Honors people will only let Honors students participate. The reasoning is that recently some Honors group did something and got recognized and the kids weren't even in Honors. The Honors director wasn't happy, and that's what can't happen here.

There are some people who played QB but 1) Their high school team wasn't really even active so they don't actually care about QB or 2) They're engineers whose life is already run by engineering classes and they aren't interested in it. (Engineering school)
Nick Collins
C. E. Byrd '12 (Shreveport, LA)
Louisiana Tech '16, '17
University of Virginia

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Skepticism and Animal Feed
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:17 pm

If you let non-honors kids attend your practices, or let non-honors kids attend tournaments under your school's name, how would they actually catch you?

Unless they are monitoring you, you'd need a snitch on your team. Even if they had one, what would they do?

Rules only matter if two things are true: (a) they will catch you if you break them, and (b) they will punish you if you break them.
Bruce
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:53 pm

Bruce, it's entirely conceivable that the honors college might want to: 1. have a coach/faculty advisor read at practices sometimes and 2. look at tournament results (if only along the lines of "look how well our team is doing!"). And there are obvious potential consequences along the lines of "the team no longer has funding to travel to tournaments" and "the team has trouble reserving rooms to host events on campus."

In short: "break the rules and hope no one finds out" sounds like a terrible idea and is not recommended.
Jeff Hoppes
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evilmonkey
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by evilmonkey » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:55 pm

Honestly, if its a one-year deal, and they are giving you money and faculty support, and their only stipulation is that you only use Honors kids for this year - take the deal, and don't break the rules. This will give you a chance to interact with the faculty, and develop a relationship that may get you a club advisor for the future. On the other hand, should you get caught, your team will likely be shut down, ruining all of your hard work.
Bryce Durgin
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AKKOLADE
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:46 pm

evilmonkey wrote:Honestly, if its a one-year deal, and they are giving you money and faculty support, and their only stipulation is that you only use Honors kids for this year - take the deal, and don't break the rules. This will give you a chance to interact with the faculty, and develop a relationship that may get you a club advisor for the future. On the other hand, should you get caught, your team will likely be shut down, ruining all of your hard work.
Yeah, if the part before the hyphen is a correct interpretation, go with this. If you have a non-honors person who is not interested, then feel free to appeal to the necessary people for some kind of exception. But if it's a year, then it seems worth it.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

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tiwonge
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by tiwonge » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:25 pm

And, after that first year, if you've got interested students, you've got the necessary members to form your own quiz bowl club, provided you can get an advisor.
Colin McNamara, Boise State University
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Re: I Need Advice.

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:43 pm

How much bureaucracy is there in setting up a student org at your school? I really can't see a reasonable circumstance where this should be such a huge issue. Writing a constitution shouldn't be an issue. Almost every quiz bowl team has one. Just ask for somebody's, and edit it to fit your school.

As far as faculty adviser goes, MSU went through I believe 5 faculty advisers in the 4 1/2 years I was there. Two were our most senior grad student on the team, and the others were professors I have never met.

Funding is huge, but aren't a majority of college teams self-funded? I would say don't turn away the money. I would try to justify that having non-Honors College members would be beneficial to the club, and not negative to the Honors College in anyway. If your non-Honors College members are assisting (aka moderating) at HS tournaments that are raising money for the club, and technically your Honors College umbrella org, why should they not be allowed to be on the quiz bowl team?

Best of luck, I know Student Life offices can either be your best friend, or the most negative part of your college experience, depending on how they work with your org.
Nalin
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Brighton High School (2003-2007)
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