Quiz Bowl in the North Country Wasteland

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Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:08 pm
Location: Canton, New York

Quiz Bowl in the North Country Wasteland

Post by Nate714 »

Hi all,

This is my first post on the college forum, and it deals with a problem a lot of potential new teams might be facing.

Next year I will be attending St. Lawrence University (go Saints!) in the cold and rural North Country region of New York. I am planning on trying to form a team up there. However, the main problems I foresee in this endeavor are:

1. The Small Student Population: St. Lawrence has a total student body of around 2500, which is large in the scheme of Liberal Arts Colleges, but is small in terms of recruiting and yield. This, combined with the fact that SLU is a very athletic school (I think atleast 60% of students participate in athletics either NCAA or Intramural), would make it difficult to actually start it up in the first place.

2. Location: The North Country region of NY is fairly sparsely populated and far away from most large cities. While researching potential events to attend next year if the club is founded. I found that most events were not in New York or even the United States, but in either Ottawa or Toronto. This brings problems with border crossings, passports, and travel time in relation to school policy and schedules for all teammates. A way around this would to start off with a small league with The surrounding colleges (which includes Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam, and SUNY Canton), but it seems that SLU’s main research and academic opportunities/relationships actually point towards the new NY6 Consortium (SLU, Hamilton, Colgate, Union, Hobart and William Smith, and Skidmore). Of course, this would include having to start up teams at most of these institutions, which makes my mission even harder.

If has encountered some of these problems and have suggestions of where I should focus my research and recruitment, and if other opportunities are available, feel free to reply.
Nathan Finn
St. Lawrence University '23
Leonia High School '19
Cosmas's Tabernacular Earth
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Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:20 pm

Re: Quiz Bowl in the North Country Wasteland

Post by Cosmas's Tabernacular Earth »

As someone who went to college in the quizbowl wasteland of upstate NY, there are still plenty of chances to play. I would encourage you to take your team to Canadian mirrors, since those will be close by. There is a great community up there, and almost every tournament has a Canadian mirror. Meanwhile, if you limit yourself to mirrors in upstate NY, you've got some random college tournaments on A sets and SCT. Anything else you would probably have to host and hope for a field. To your specific concerns with Canada:

Border Crossing: It's easy, and something I've done a lot. The main thing to watch out for is increased traffic near the border, since you have to wait for customs. I haven't had to wait too much at the border crossings in the northern part of the state, so you shouldn't need to add too much time to your planned drive time to still be on time if there's a line.

Passports: In my experience at RIT, most people had passports. I would expect the same is true at SLU, or for passport ownership to be more common due to students wanting to take advantage of the close proximity to Canada and the lower legal drinking age.

Travel Time: Ottawa and Kingston are probably going to be shorter drives for you than most schools in upstate NY that would be willing to host. Toronto would be longer, but still within the common driving distance for quizbowl.

School Policy: This is most likely to cause you problems, since some schools do not fund clubs for international expenses. Having teammates to split the fee with and taking advantage of whatever discounts are available will help you. Also, the Canadian dollar is much weaker than the US dollar, so you can take advantage of the exchange rate to pay less than you would at an equivalent US mirror.

If you have any questions about playing quizbowl in Canada as an American, feel free to ask!
Adam Swift
RIT, 2015
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