Club Fair/Recruiting

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Club Fair/Recruiting

Post by miamiqb »

Hey all, this week my school's club fair takes place. Our fledgling organization is in dire need of advertisement (which we have been denied up to this point and we become chartered). Any ideas for a small table setup and/or things to say to people who show interest?

I have in mind a table with buzzers on the table plus an informal sheet for people to jot down their name and email so I can send out messages about meetings. Should I also have questions available? If so, how difficult? I was thinking ACF Fall, but I am afraid it might discourage people (but do I want those people to be discouraged?)

Thanks for any help!

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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Speaking as the guy who did the table for Chicago this year, I can tell you that, in my experience, questions do not work. For three reasons. First, in an activity fair situation, there is often so much noise that questions cannot be heard. Second, every minute you spend reading questions is a minute you cannot talk to interested people one-on-one. Third, they can bore or intimidate people.

What we do is just set up a table with a buzzer set and with some trophies. These serve as attractants. Buzzer sets look interesting; to people who played QB in high school, they represent something familiar, and people like being with familiar things; to others they represent something they want to ask about, a conversation starter. Trophies serve both as a symbol of what is to be gained by affiliating oneself with the organization and as, well, a shiny object. People are drawn to shiny objects. Of course, so are magpies, crows, and blackbirds, but I don't know if that will be a problem or not where you are. You might be indoors, after all.

Over all, just expect a lot of people saying "I don't think I'm smart/good enough" and having to talk them out of that. Anything that decreases intimidation is good. Appear approachable.
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Post by orangecrayon »

I've had to run the QB booth at Oklahoma State the last couple of times. We're a fairly young organization, too. The two things that have helped pull people in to our booth (since we didn't have a buzzer system at the time) were the trophies—especially the unusual ones from TRASH tournaments—and free snacks.

If you want to mess with questions, I'd just have a few out there for people to look at, but probably not ACF. That's the stuff you pull out if you're trying to scare people away at the early practices.
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Post by Chris Frankel »

orangecrayon wrote:I've had to run the QB booth at Oklahoma State the last couple of times. We're a fairly young organization, too. The two things that have helped pull people in to our booth (since we didn't have a buzzer system at the time) were the trophies—especially the unusual ones from TRASH tournaments—and free snacks.

If you want to mess with questions, I'd just have a few out there for people to look at, but probably not ACF. That's the stuff you pull out if you're trying to scare people away at the early practices.
Assuming you haven't spent a significant amount of team reading/poring over the packets from past ACF Fall's, I think it's unfair of you to try and perpetuate the "ACF is impossible" stereotype, as the representative of a team that doesn't appear to have played ACF Fall or any other ACF tournament in the past few years.

Personally, I've had a fair amount of success using ACF Fall questions for introductory practices, and I've found that they certainly have gone over better than the NAQT SCT and IS sets and junior bird invitational sets that I've used. Another option might be trying to get hold of the PACE question set and reading those (without mentioning that they're high school questions) to give new members a feel for how the questions flow, and yet still have them be able to recognize the material being asked.

For recruiting, just realize that many people enjoy "trivia" games on some level and that your club provides them with an opportunity to compete on a regular basis- Jeopardy!, while a very inaccurate comparison, is a useful and recognizable one. You'll also have a lot of people with past experience on high school academic teams, and you just need to tell them that quiz bowl is just the college continuation of that.

Finally, you have to accept that attrition is a normal part of any recruiting process. You'll have some people who come in expecting to relive high school glory days and others expecting a slightly more organized form of NTN/bar trivia, who will be disappointed when they find out the game doesn't work that way. Rather than bend over backward to accomodate people who likely don't want to be there, it's just best to focus on encouraging the people who do to stick around and get more involved.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
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Post by Matt Weiner »

orangecrayon wrote:If you want to mess with questions, I'd just have a few out there for people to look at, but probably not ACF. That's the stuff you pull out if you're trying to scare people away at the early practices.
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Post by NatusRoma »

ACF Fall 2005 would certainly be accessible enough for passersby at a club fair. However, the questions are too long for that environment, which favors brief pitches. Shorter questions with easier lead-ins are better for holding people's attention long enough for them to answer the question. Giving candy to people who answer questions at the fair, whether right or wrong, is also good. ACF Fall questions likely would be good for introductory practices, though.
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Post by ezubaric »

My vote would be for NAQT intramural questions. They're easy, short, and have enough pop culture to serve as a lure for people who would be more interested in TRASH than academic affairs. At Caltech, we also read science monstrosity questions (because many folks came from science bowl).
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Post by STPickrell »

If the team coach/captain/president wheels out the ACF at early practices and seems to disdain it, it'll show and likely be reflected in the attitudes of team newbies. Ditto for NAQT-IS. Very rarely, an ACF lover will show up at an ACF-eschewing club, but people like that are the sort that would establish their own team in the absence of one.

FWIW, most of what I'm seeing looking over the ACF Fall is stuff I would feel comfortable writing about for the high school level. The ACF philosophy need not lead to difficult questions, and I apologize for any moments in the past where I might have perpetrated that stereotype.

Chris' point about people coming in expecting to be all-stars (like they were in HS) or a more organized form of bar trivia is very good. I still think that these people still need to be cultivated as the first people to ask if you have events on campus or intramural tournaments. Just as important, IMO, as having a core membership is having an associate membership of people you can call on to officiate at HS tournaments, etc.

Or, if someone is very good at trash but mediocre at regular, they might be worth keeping around for that reason. This depends on your team's tolerance for trash and tolerance of having "trash-only" and/or "associate" members.
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Post by miamiqb »

Thanks for all the input guys! I am armed and prepared for tomorrow. Poster board, tape, buzzers, trophy, and of course candy. I think I might bring along a packet of high school tossups which I may or may not read depending on the noise level. Otherwise, I will just give candy to people who talk to me.

BTW, as a first-year college player I have no problem with ACF Fall questions (though I initially had an irrational grudge against them). They are very gettable.
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Post by orangecrayon »

Good luck, miamiqb.

In response to the replies to my earlier post, I was simply throwing out what our experience has been. We've used ACF-level questions at interest sessions and similar events and received a lot of blank looks from potential members. The main reason we don't go to ACF events is because we're still struggling financially...that and most of my teammates aren't interested/available the weekends there are ACF events in the area.
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Post by miamiqb »

orangecrayon wrote:Good luck, miamiqb.

In response to the replies to my earlier post, I was simply throwing out what our experience has been. We've used ACF-level questions at interest sessions and similar events and received a lot of blank looks from potential members. The main reason we don't go to ACF events is because we're still struggling financially...that and most of my teammates aren't interested/available the weekends there are ACF events in the area.
thanks for the support...and I agree about the ACF questions (though I personally find them reasonable) causing blank stares at early practices :cry:
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Post by STPickrell »

orangecrayon wrote:Good luck, miamiqb.

In response to the replies to my earlier post, I was simply throwing out what our experience has been. We've used ACF-level questions at interest sessions and similar events and received a lot of blank looks from potential members. The main reason we don't go to ACF events is because we're still struggling financially...that and most of my teammates aren't interested/available the weekends there are ACF events in the area.
Is this fall ACF or ACF Regionals??
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Post by Mr. Kwalter »

Correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't been able to find records before 2003 (when I started playing in the SW), but OSU has not been to an ACF event in this region in recent history. Programs often use the term "ACF-level" because succsessive generations of leadership make offhand comments that lead their members to believe that ACF is the devil. Even if the leaders don't come out and say "we don't like ACF," which some do, younger members are immediately poisoned by their attitudes. ACF Fall has been acclaimed by both newer and more experienced teams around the country as a tournament that is both accessible and well-written. Also, this region is very accomodating to the needs of teams that want to play ACF. I don't want to speak for Angelo, although I don't think Tulsa is very far from Stillwater, but if you had emailed Romero asking for financial assistance for ACF Fall I'm sure that he would have at least let you play for free. You also came to the BoB mirror at Tulsa, which was a tournament at Yale that was advertised to be more difficult than ACF fall; in fact, it said around ACF regionals difficulty. The point of this post is to urge you and other teams that traditionally shun "ACF-level" questions to consider tournaments like ACF fall and even ACF regionals in the future. Even if the questions are hard, that doesn't mean you shouldn't play it. I understand that quizbowl is expensive and that team members have conflicts; that's ok. I just hope that you do your best in the future to keep your minds open to ACF.
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Post by orangecrayon »

Unless there's a previous incarnation of the team, you wouldn't find much from before 2003, since the program now in place here wasn't formed until late 2002.

And no, Tulsa's not that far from Stillwater. It's about an hour down the turnpike.

I have no problem with ACF questions. Trying to get enough interested people whose schedules will accomidate going is another story.
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Post by grapesmoker »

As much as I'm an ACF partisan, I think the ACF philosophy is something that has to grow on you, to some extent. Most people starting out in quizbowl don't automatically think, "Oh, I want to hear clue-dense pyramidal questions." It's an idea that has to be inculcated to some extent. I would suggest that whatever you do, don't tell people too much about the origins of the packets they're reading. Condition them, say "This is ACF Fall, and it's good," or "This is Tournament Whatever, and it's good." Maybe, to keep people from going "ACF? Isn't that hard?" don't tell them that they are ACF questions at all, unless they ask.

ACF questions have gotten pretty good reception with my team (all of them playing collegiate QB for the first time). Bizzarely, they enjoyed more and did better on Illinois Open questions than on ACF Fall.
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Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

ACF Fall has gotten a lot easier in the past two years, it seems, which should be factored in. ACF Fall 2003 is very different from, say, ACF Fall 2005, at least in my experience having practiced on the former and attended the latter.

So stock ACF Fall questions might not accurately represent what they'll hear if they actually attend the next ACF Fall.
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Post by miamiqb »

well the club fair was okay I guess. Unfortunately my booth partner never showed (grrr!) so I had to take down our booth and go to class after only half the fair (and right during hte busiest time, lunch :mad: ). I got a few people's signatures but mostly I got people saying stuff like "quiz bowl, what's that" and then when they found it was a trivia game they left. I think in retrospect the trophy hurt more than it helped (it scared some people off) and next time I hope the fair is indoors so I can plug in the buzzers and have people play for candy! (by the way I forgot hte candy in my car, yet another unfortunate event, just call me Lemony Snicket). I started off by the last ten minutes by asking people questions on the topic of their choice. This worked well.

So in retrospect for those who are interested here is what I have concluded:

1) Don't put trophies (at least in a city like Miami where there are virtually no academic or quiz bowl teams). It intimidates people
2) Make it seem informal and flexible (people don't like committments)
3) Ask intramural questions even for people who aren't interested so you attract a crowd. Give candy as incentive
4) Have buzzer systems plugged in
5) Don't bring up academics AT ALL. Talk about trivia more and let them choose a category (that way they are more inclined to get it right and come to a meeting)
6) Make sure you have a dependable replacement :mad:
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Post by csrjjsmp »

miamiqb wrote:2) Make it seem informal and flexible (people don't like committments)
Won't that attract more flaky people?
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Post by STPickrell »

csrjjsmp wrote:
miamiqb wrote:2) Make it seem informal and flexible (people don't like committments)
Won't that attract more flaky people?
I agree -- it is better to have 4-5 people you can count on as opposed to 15-20 people who are liable to bail on you without even telling you.
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Post by miamiqb »

StPickrell wrote:
csrjjsmp wrote:
miamiqb wrote:2) Make it seem informal and flexible (people don't like committments)
Won't that attract more flaky people?
I agree -- it is better to have 4-5 people you can count on as opposed to 15-20 people who are liable to bail on you without even telling you.
Perhaps I phrased it wrongly....when people asked what time practice was I said that it was flexible in the sense that hte membership decides the time and date, and informal in that you can walk in and out when you want.

Isn't it important to have a mix of dependable nad fringe members? Because the dependable people will sign up anyways...
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Post by ValenciaQBowl »

My experience in recruiting folks who've never heard of the game is that letting them think that full practice attendance is flexible/optional isn't a bad idea, especially when your team practices six hours a week. The key is to get them to come once or twice without worrying about committing; if they're going to be any good, they'll see how fun it is and want to stay, but some might balk if told they must commit to so much time before they've ever really experienced it.
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Post by miamiqb »

ValenciaQBowl wrote:My experience in recruiting folks who've never heard of the game is that letting them think that full practice attendance is flexible/optional isn't a bad idea, especially when your team practices six hours a week. The key is to get them to come once or twice without worrying about committing; if they're going to be any good, they'll see how fun it is and want to stay, but some might balk if told they must commit to so much time before they've ever really experienced it.
exactly my idea...I just couldn't put it into words :wink:
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