Recruiting Members

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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High Dependency Unit
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Recruiting Members

Post by High Dependency Unit » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:39 pm

My school has its activities fair on Tuesday and I'm attempting to recruit members, but I really do not have a base of former qb players to recruit/rely on. Could anyone give me advice on how I should pitch quiz bowl?
Michael Borecki
Middlesex Middle '13,
Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College (club president) '21
NHBB Regional Coordinator

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Re: Recruiting Members

Post by alexdz » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:58 pm

The Illinois team recently participated in the "Quad Day" activity fair by having some handheld wireless buzzers set up and offering folks who came up the chance to answer an easy question for a piece of candy. That doesn't solve the problem of getting folks to come to your booth in the first place, but it's an idea for something to do once they're there.
Alex Dzurick
Owner/Editor, SAGES Quizbowl Questions
Coach, Harcum College (PA)
Former midwesterner (South Callaway - Mizzou - UIUC) coping with life on the east coast.

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Re: Recruiting Members

Post by cchiego » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:05 am

There will likely be people who played all kinds of similar competitions in high school (it looks like Bowdoin draws mostly from Massachusetts, New York, Maine, California, and Connecticut), so you may want to include not just Quiz Bowl but also MasterMinds, High School Quiz Show, and perhaps just "Academic Team" on your booth/display to help attract people who may have played something named other than quizbowl in high school. Make the letters as big as possible and ideally have a picture of an actual match if you can. If you have access to a buzzer system, bring that--by itself it will advertise to people who have some experience. You want to make sure that everyone who played something similar in HS knows that there's a quizbowl team at Bowdoin now.

Bring some packets of questions printed out that you can show people/read a question to them when they drop by and have some flyers with links to more info about quizbowl that people can look up later. You may want to draw on your Jeopardy! experience too since almost everyone is familiar with that show, but I wouldn't recommend too much of an emphasis on it since it can give people the wrong idea. It can, however, be a useful way to quickly describe quizbowl: "It's like a team version of Jeopardy with more academic questions." And a picture of Alex Trebek on a booth will almost certainly get some people interested.

You'll probably get a lot of contacts/emails from people signing up at the fair, but the key to retain them will be running a good first introductory meeting. Make sure it's well-run and hospitable--sit with people in a circle if you can rather than lecture at them from behind a desk and get straight into reading the questions as soon as possible, explaining how pyramidality works and the logistics of going to quizbowl tournaments during pauses every so often. Chat with people as they first come in about where they're from, if they've played before, what subjects they like, etc. Ideally, emphasize the positive social side of college quizbowl--it's a fun activity, but it's made more fun by lots of roadtrips and interesting people. And make sure to point out that people can totally participate just in terms of reading questions and helping to run tournaments too.

I would also recommend talking to Ryan Bilger at Gettysburg and Rebecca Rosenthal at Swarthmore about the challenges and joys of starting quizbowl teams at small LACs, especially when you're a really strong player already and need to figure out how to balance practicing yourself with building up a team.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl

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Re: Recruiting Members

Post by 1.82 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:06 am

Something that I think is important to add is that you shouldn't try to explain too much. Nobody even really needs to leave the activity fair knowing the difference between tossups and bonuses. If you can impress upon people that this is an activity that an intellectually curious person might enjoy and get them through the door for the first meeting, then you can go through all the rules then. Nobody starts playing quizbowl because they're really emotionally attached to the idea of the 20/20 format; they start playing quizbowl because they like being rewarded for knowing things. You should impress that latter feeling onto the people you talk to.
Naveed Chowdhury
Maryland '16
Georgia Tech '17

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Re: Recruiting Members

Post by tiwonge » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:42 pm

Matt asked the same thing in the Discussion tab. It probably should have been here. I have some thoughts I shared there. ... =9&t=20285
Colin McNamara, Boise State University
Idaho Quiz & Academic Teams

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Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
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Re: Recruiting Members

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:25 pm

It's probably worth emphasizing that you get to do a lot of travel, too - especially in New England, where the car distances are fairly short and you can pretty easily see a lot of different things. Indeed, we discovered at one point during my freshman year that several people were participating in tournaments simply for the purpose of getting free trips to other cities! Now, while the latter types of people are not ideal to have around, if the opportunity to travel helps push someone over the threshold for joining the quizbowl club, that's definitely a good thing.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

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