How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questions)

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How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questions)

Postby Twentington » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:50 am

Hi everybody! I know there was a post along this same line in the past couple of years, but I'd like to ask this so I have a better picture of what things are like before I take the plunge.

I'm currently a freshman at Ball State in Indiana. I did scholastic bowl for all four years of high school in Illinois, and I want to keep that going, but there's no team here right now.

First of all, how big a thing is quiz bowl in this part of the country? I don't want to start a team if there's no active teams around.

My next big question: how exactly do I go about getting a team off the ground? I know the requirements for starting a student organization at BSU; my problem, in a nutshell, is finding interested people. I've only been on campus for a month, and I still don't know that many people. I'd definitely like to find some interested upperclassmen (especially because Ball State requires officers for all student organizations, and I'm not 100% sure I can handle the bulk of it myself), but I don't even really know where or how to start drumming up interest. Along the same lines, how do I go about finding a faculty advisor?

Lastly, how expensive is it generally to get a quiz bowl team going?

Any tips would be much appreciated. Thank you very much!
Evan Hatfield, Ball State University
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Re: How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questi

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:32 pm

Twentington wrote:Hi everybody! I know there was a post along this same line in the past couple of years, but I'd like to ask this so I have a better picture of what things are like before I take the plunge.

I'm currently a freshman at Ball State in Indiana. I did scholastic bowl for all four years of high school in Illinois, and I want to keep that going, but there's no team here right now.


Welcome to college quizbowl! A lot of us were like you, having played four years in high school only to find our colleges didn't have teams. I started a team my freshman year so I could keep playing, and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. My first recommendation is to check out this tournament being hosted at the University of Chicago on October 8. It's specifically designed for new teams and players, and would be a great first event for your team. Even if you don't have much of a team by then, playing a college tournament by yourself is fairly common.

Twentington wrote:First of all, how big a thing is quiz bowl in this part of the country? I don't want to start a team if there's no active teams around.

It depends on how you define "this part of the country." I would say that quizbowl actually is very active in your general area, but unlike high school, college circuits tend to be a little more spread out. It's not uncommon to drive up to 5 hours to a tournament in the Midwest (although you'll have opportunities to drive to closer places). Indiana itself is not the most active state, but Purdue and Notre Dame have teams. Some other schools (Indiana, Depauw, and maybe even Ball State come to mind) used to have teams but don't seem active now. Fortunately for you, all of the surrounding states are active too: there are teams at Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Chicago, Illinois, Louisville, Washington University in St. Louis, and more. Tournaments are hosted in those areas on a regular basis, so there are quite a few opportunities to play events.

Twentington wrote:My next big question: how exactly do I go about getting a team off the ground? I know the requirements for starting a student organization at BSU; my problem, in a nutshell, is finding interested people. I've only been on campus for a month, and I still don't know that many people. I'd definitely like to find some interested upperclassmen (especially because Ball State requires officers for all student organizations, and I'm not 100% sure I can handle the bulk of it myself), but I don't even really know where or how to start drumming up interest. Along the same lines, how do I go about finding a faculty advisor?


I'm going to answer your last question first: finding an active faculty advisor may be difficult unless you know somebody eager to be involved, but finding one who is just willing to sign forms and show up for an occasional event should not be difficult. I would ask your professors if they could ask around their departments, or even just send some emails to some department offices. Ball State has an honors college, so contacting them might be a good first step. That might be the best way to recruit as well; when I started a team at WKU we got the honors college to send an email out to every student each semester for the first couple years. We eventually figured out a way to get an email out to the entire campus, which was great for recruitment. Once you find a couple other people, things get easier: you have more social networks to explore, you can collectively host events/recruitment drives, even if that means standing in the student center handing out flyers. Another important tool we used when starting a team was social media. Don't hesitate to create a Facebook page for Ball State Quizbowl and share it, you would be surprised how people might come across that. And eventually that will be an efficient way to get info out to prospective members.

Twentington wrote:Lastly, how expensive is it generally to get a quiz bowl team going?


To actually start the club, it should not be that expensive. If you have to pay for a few copies, that could be an expense. But just getting people to show up should not cost a lot. Once you start attending tournaments (which should be ASAP, even if it's just you in a car driving with a friend) there will be more expenses, although entry fees are generally lower for teams who have just started. The first tournament we ever played at WKU had a discounted entry fee; when combined with gas and a hotel room we ended up spending about $150 on the trip. Split between 3 people it was not overwhelming, and if you have 4 people it's even easier. With that being said, paying out of pocket is not a long term solution. I would check with your Student Organizations office about possible funding opportunities, and I know other parts of universities (especially SGAs and Honors Colleges) have been known to fund quizbowl teams. Regardless of whether you find funding through those methods, I would suggest finding a way to raise money on your own as well. The best way to do this is host a quizbowl tournament; I won't go too in-depth about that here (there's lots of info about it on the boards) but Indiana has a shortage of high school quizbowl tournaments right now, so you would be doing some good in addition to raising money.

I hope some of this info helps, and that we'll see a Ball State team at tournaments this year!
Nick Conder
Louisville, KY

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Re: How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questi

Postby ThisIsMyUsername » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:47 pm

I join Nick in saying: welcome to the forums, Evan.

I see that he has addressed most of the questions you raised about starting a team. I just wanted to add a little bit more about the Midwest circuit this season. As Nick mentioned, the circuit is a collection of teams coming from Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Minnesota, with tournaments mirrored at various locations throughout these states. As of yet, there are no collegiate tournaments (that I know of) scheduled within Indiana for this semester. But there are several upcoming tournaments especially geared towards new teams, which are being hosted in the Chicago area (probably the nearest major tournament-hosting location to Ball State). Here are the dates and announcements of three of those tournaments:

NAQT Collegiate Novice on 10/8 at UChicago: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19017
Early Fall Tournament on 10/22 at UChicago: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=18990
ACF Fall on 11/5 at Northwestern: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=18949

Should you succeed in forming a team (even if, as Nick says, this team is just you and some friends getting in a car and driving up to Chicago, with or without official school backing), you're welcome to come to any of our tournaments.
John Lawrence
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Re: How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questi

Postby Potatoes » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:19 pm

In addition to the three tournaments that John listed, another good introductory tournament, Delta Burke, will be held on November 12th at NIU:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19032
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Re: How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questi

Postby alexdz » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:48 pm

Evan, welcome! I've been in your shoes before and I applaud your interest in trying to get something started.

As other folks have mentioned, the "Midwest" circuit can cover a pretty large chunk of the country centered around Chicago. Some events will have just one host in the Midwest, and others might have 3 or 4 in the region. We all sort of float to whichever site is the most convenient. Muncie is in a good location for most events, since there's likely to be a site in Illinois, Ohio and/or Michigan to choose from.

Speaking more to your direct concerns about team formation, Charlie Dees and I worked to do the task you're describing at Mizzou several years ago and had many of the same questions. Finding people can be a challenge, but one place to start is to look at the Entering Freshman Contact List that gets compiled each year. It's not exhaustive, but if you look at the 2016 link, you'll see a person who said they were going to BSU who might still be willing to help you get the team started. Consider reaching out to existing clubs at other nearby schools to see if their members know any Ball Staters, or if you're feeling confident, try local high school coaches to see if they know of any of their own alumni who are at BSU.

You're just shy of 3 hours from Champaign, and I know that's a long trip, but you are welcome here anytime for events, practice or just to hang out! Maybe if you're on your way home back to Illinois!
Alex Dzurick
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Re: How's the scene in Indiana? (plus a couple other questi

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:52 am

Muncie is in a great location for quizbowl. Draw a circle containing all points within a 6 hour drive of Muncie, and that circle contains many of college quizbowl's best teams and most frequent tournament hosts.

Tournaments will almost always be on Saturday, starting relatively early in the morning and lasting most of the day. You'll want to drive out the Friday night before, get a hotel nearby.
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