The BAA and new orgs

aitong
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:08 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 1998
Real Name: Aiton Goldman
Location: Pittsburgh

The BAA and new orgs

Postby aitong » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:44 pm

I asked alot of alums what they thought the good projects were for the BAA to work on, and the most common answer was either "Help new orgs" or "Help start new orgs".

The idea of the BAA getting more students involved in buggy has been kicking around for the past 5 years, but has gained a lot more momentum in the past 2. Sig Nu and SAE's programs have shrunk down to single teams, and we've seen the death of Pioneers, KDR, and Beta. On the flip side of the coin, Apex has been a success story as a new org that we'd like to see more of.

It seems like the BAA has two things it can do : make it easier for students to start new orgs ( like Apex ), and help struggling orgs get back on their feet. But before we talk about what we can do, we need to make sure we understand the problems we are trying to help with.

So, the goal of this thread is to figure out what the barriers of entry are for new orgs ( both independent and greek ), and what are the problems that struggling orgs face ( both independent and greek ). Once we have a handle on these, we can start a new thread to talk about what we wanna do about it.

Ben
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:36 am
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2011
Real Name: Ben Matzke
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:57 pm

I was gonna post this somewhere else, but blitz buggy would be awesome, and if we figure it out right, could make it really easy for new teams.

Who wouldn't want to see a bunch of limo-s rolling around the course.

User avatar
McCue
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:35 pm
Organization: Sweepstakes
2nd Organization: KDR
Graduation Year: 2007
Real Name: Adam McCue
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby McCue » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:12 pm

This isn't entirely without precedent. Soapbox Derby has a couple divisions (Stock, Masters, and Ultimate) that basically involve building increasingly more of the car yourself, thus changing the barrier to entry. Interesting concept.

Ben
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:36 am
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2011
Real Name: Ben Matzke
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:55 pm

That'd be something, standardize the wheels for that division, have them make something that can roll on those.

Or just go crazy and bring back the fish buggy (with some kinda speed limit...)

Zatchmo
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:43 am
Organization: CIA
2nd Organization: AEPi
Graduation Year: 2011
Real Name: Zachary Waldman

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby Zatchmo » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:54 pm

I'll be honest, I don't know if I love the idea of splitting up into divisions. Even if I thought that either division would have the participation necessary to do well on it's own (I have mixed thoughts on this), there are certain already limited resources to divide up here from the University and city perspective.

I think the most effective thing the BAA could do is lower the barrier to entry for new teams by supplying a kit to build an actual buggy at minimum cost. Repeatedly, new teams have been torpedoed by the high barrier to entry, sinking time and money into vehicles they KNOW are of limited use and dubious future, or facing decisions on wasting time on vehicles they won't have long, and those buggies are often so old they don't even show them much how to build their own. It's a very stacked deck that has given us a lot of short-lived teams, recently.

One reasonable implementation would be to supply an amount of pre-cut foam to glue together, machined parts for a basic overbuilt wagon steering system and back mount, three/four Xootr project wheels, a good instruction sheet, a lent vacuum pump, and the amount of fiberglass and consumables necessary to put together a very overbuilt, somewhat big, durable framed buggy that will last a few years and let the team recruit and try to find their feet. The costs and difficulty go down significantly to provide this stuff in bulk, and seeing a sure thing will make teams more likely to apply for funding and give it a shot, and in my opinion make the various funding groups more likely to fund that initial (now cheaper and better payoff) purchase. It won't put up great times, but it's enough to maintain motivation. Basically, look at what Kamikaze did to keep AEPi from folding over at a time the team was struggling - I think that's a great example of what helping provide basic but mechanically sound buggies can do to bring in new teams too.

Ben
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:36 am
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2011
Real Name: Ben Matzke
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:01 pm

So I feel like we're talking about two different things here.

By separating them, you could get people like ASA, TSA or other groups that might do booth instead of buggy. Giving new teams the opportunity to do whatever they want, make something crazy, or something fun can probably grow interest by a huge amount, i.e. something similar to downhill derby, but actually on the course.

I know Apex is going to be used as the example in a lot of this discussion, so why not start now. I feel like what really got them going was already having a buggy to work with that didn't need a whole not of work to get rolling. If they had to stick with Camo, I have a feeling things would not have gone nearly as well as they have. And I think that having a kit or something available to teams that are interested is definitely something that should happen, it just shouldn't be the only thing when there are so many different interests on campus.

The other factor in a kit build like you described is having the knowledge there to help step new teams through it. i.e. having a BAA person there, or some other student from another org come down and help you. This worked out with Apex, but it can be a huge time commitment if they have other responsibilities to attend to.

Anyway, these are just concerns and thoughts, not game enders.

From the funding side of things, I hear now that buggy orgs all get a standard amount granted by JFC (for JFC funded orgs). So having a kit won't really change any opinions from the funders, but it could give us some guidelines as to what we can provide, and what makes sense to have in the kit list.

shafeeq
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:40 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby shafeeq » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:52 pm

Watching the *SA's walk out of the awards ceremony reminded me of the size of PhiKap in their heyday. Unless all their members who might be excited about buggy are already on existing teams, there's got to be a way to get them in.

Starting a buggy program is tough, starting an organization is tough. Doing both at once is doubly tough, so kudos to Apex, but those only seem to succeed once every couple of decades.

To start, you've got to have pushers, a buggy, and mechanics & a driver who know where to begin. Are there enough decent buggies out there for them to buy, that teams are willing to sell? You see the backlog of retired CIA & Fringe buggies at design, but I imagine most of them have specific things wrong with them, or are too much work for the team that built them to keep going. Most of those were built long enough ago that the mechanics are alumni, so perhaps there's something the BAA could do with helping teams that purchase an as-is buggy get it into usuable but not competitive condition.

We already have teams running 5 buggies, so the next logical step is that those teams will want to be able to run an "E" team. Rather than changing the rules to allow that, perhaps there should be a division for "teams pushing someone else's buggy" so that you could get ASA pushers pushing another team's 5th buggy & driver. If ASA decides they like it, they can buy or build their own for the next year, and if they don't, they haven't sunk a ton of money & effort into building a buggy they won't use again.

Ben
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:36 am
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2011
Real Name: Ben Matzke
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Contact:

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:37 pm

I really like the idea of that last thing you mentioned. The 5th driver could still roll and qualify with their team and then also be guaranteed to roll on raceday and not have to bank on exhibitions or something. so all those orgs with rollable buggies to spare would be able to continue doing what they want to do and potential new orgs could get their feet wet.

I'd imagine that this kind of thing would want to be partitioned off on raceday so that the mechanics would not have to be split between their own team prep and assisting the new group. If the donating org is open or willing enough (and the new org is receptive to it), they might be able to teach the new team how to take care of the buggy for raceday.

The other part that this might help solve is the resistance of coming out to early morning rolls. Obviously the pushers should come out as often as they can, but it won't be something that will prevent them from getting qualified if they don't want to dive in head first right away.

aitong
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:08 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 1998
Real Name: Aiton Goldman
Location: Pittsburgh

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby aitong » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:43 am

So, to summarize the previous posts....
* Discussion of a "beginners" division
* Getting a buggy is a barrier to entry
* Not having a low maintenance "tank" type buggy is a huge barrier to making it to raceday
* Several suggestions have been made about how to get a buggy ( buy a "kit", build it from scratch, buy an old one, race with another team for a year )
* It might be wise to think about brand new orgs ( i.e. Apex ) differently than existing orgs that want to get into buggy - starting a buggy program with an existing org is probably easier than starting an org from scratch

If I missed something, feel free to post it....

Can we think of other barriers to entry?

Here are two I can think of...

* Money - this came up earlier as part of buying a buggy, but beyond that running a buggy org takes money - what is the process for getting money from JFC? How much do they get? How much does it cost for a new buggy org to make it to raceday?
* A place to keep and work on your buggy - even existing orgs might not have space to store a buggy, let alone do work on it. Will a new org even get space on campus?

aitong
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:08 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 1998
Real Name: Aiton Goldman
Location: Pittsburgh

Re: The BAA and new orgs

Postby aitong » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:17 pm

It turns out Connor ( from Apex ) can not post to the forum for some reason. While it's being sorted out, here is post about the subject of new orgs....

I want to start off by saying that it is very unlikely we will see another
independent organization start from scratch in the way Apex did any time
soon. First off, we came through as a team in a way that is extremely
hard to replicate. Secondly the pool of people joining a buggy centric
org shrinks when you have more independents. To get more orgs I think the
way to go is getting more frats to compete and getting other, established
campus orbs on the course and rolling.
I will start with the list of things that held Apex back at first, and
what we did to overcome them (starting with the hardest to overcome and
going down to the least important):

1. Becoming CoSO recognized (only effects brand new organizations; TSA,
ASA etc. and frats don't need to deal with this mess)

2. Money:
A) Where to Go -
- Student Dormitory Council's Student Initiative Fund
- Student Senate
- Parents, family and Family friends
B) Problems we had to Overcome: SDC buggy found our initial
mission of becoming a dormitory buggy team to go against their
mission as the dormitory team and made it very difficult to get
money from SDC's student initiative fund. After switching to an
independent org they wanted us to get money from other sources
and/or Student Senate before they would fund us. Student Senate
wanted us to get funding from other sources, SDC and to get CoSO
recognized. We fundraised almost $1000 from family friends, parents
etc. SDC broke the seal 1st and after that Senate agreed to fund us
upon CoSO recognition.

3. Getting a buggy/Building a buggy
With how long it took to get CoSO recognized and put together all of
the money we needed, we ran out of time to build for last year's
raceday. I frantically sent emails to every alumni and current team I
could. After a month our only options were Zephyrus at monetary and
chore cost or Camo free of charge with help from the owning alumni.
When Camo broke, I really thought our year was over. Sam Swift saved
our asses with Insite, but it was definitely not the easiest buggy for
an org to start out with. I can't say much but we did a lot of
maintenance and other small tweaks to get it rolling reliably.

4. Knowing what tools/ materials a team needs
Nobody gave me a good answer on this at all. Well in my eyes here is
the list for a non building team (with a carbon buggy)
- A set (or 2 if you can afford it) of wrenches and socket wrenches
- Allen Keys
- Duct Tape
- 6 xootrs (rolling set and drops/capes set)
- a robo-club trained member (mill and drill press access as well as lathe)
- Lexan (in case of windshield cracks)
- 5 minute epoxy
- small pot of regular epoxy
- 2-3 yards of twill and unidirectional carbon
- 6 bearings
- acetone
- a vice
- saran wrap
- clamps
- chop sticks (from OE or LuLu's)
- taps and dies in the size/thread count of the buggy
- organizational boxes (SUPER IMPORTANT)
- bolts and nuts especially lock nuts

A complete list of what we used in Phoenix will be out at some point over
the summer so I will leave that one there

5. A space to Work/Store all of that stuff
We got super lucky with PiONEERS giving us their space when we "took
them over" but people have built buggies in garages and basements of
people's homes. Not sure who to talk to for a campus space besides
UCAB and they are kind of completely useless

6. Staying humble and asking as many questions as possible
All new teams should learn from me. You do not know everything, it
takes a lot of time and effort to get the knowledge of how to build a
fast buggy. Fringe, SDC, Pike, CIA etc all know more than you. If
they give you tips, shut up and listen. On the second build you can do
whatever you want but to avoid the stupid mistakes that every stubborn
team makes on their first build, please ask questions and listen. It
will save you hundreds of dollars, a lot of stress and late nights
trying to make poor designs work.


Next year DU wants to start a buggy organization. I think a huge thing we
need to do is assemble a gameplan on how to shrink the barriers so they
can get back in the game and stick around. ROTC was given a buggy that
they will now have forever. The will be huge for next year as they build
their own. They will not have to miss 3 months of rolls and stress over
getting their build out as fast as possible. Ideally DU would be able to
get a buggy that is in similar shape to how Shrek was (shell strong,
steering missing a bunch of parts) and learn a few things while putting
the buggy back together. It also builds a certain level of dedication
(Camo did that for us, Insite got us to race day). Having a buggy like
Insite ready is also really a great thing to have. It would be really
awesome for a buggy to be donated to sweepstakes to be the "intro" buggy
that teams could use and abuse to get themselves established while they
learn and start talking build. Hopefully at years end they will have a
mold done and a gameplan for a build so they can build in the fall and be
out for truck weekend like we were this year.


Return to “Buggy”



cron