Potential New CMU Shop Policy in the Works

As many of you have likely seen, the Mechanical Engineering department has a new makerspace/machine shop “TechSpark” which has brought some conversations and scrutiny on existing student shops. There has been a letter circulating which includes some very frightening language claiming that they aim to shut down and remove all student equipment, stifling innovation, and potentially killing the sport as we know it. Until recently, this is all the information we’ve had to go on as CMU hasn’t put out a statement on the topic. To that end, I would like to take some time to talk about what is going on, what we know currently, and where this is headed. I had a chance to talk with Kaycee, who, on top of being the sweepstakes adviser, also helps run the student shop registration process which has been in affect for the past 3-4 years.

*Disclaimer, this is not an official statement by CMU, this is purely my take-aways from my conversation, which I would love to discuss in more depth with those that are interested.

*EDIT- I was informed of some misunderstandings and have made corrections below. Continue reading

Fall Kickoff and BAA Officer’s meeting notes


We are still looking for one after the last election cycle. We will be reaching out to those who were nominated last year, but if you or someone you know has an interest in being an active BAA officer to help support everything that we do, please let us know. More info on this will be posted in the coming weeks.

Updates from campus

Sweepstakes has landed on a start date for fall rolls finding a balance between the various marathons/charity runs/other road closures. Weather permitting, first rolls will be September 30th, a bit later than usual, but will avoid some challenges and costs that past Sweepstakes have dealt with.

Many teams still need to complete capes, but they’ve still got two weeks to fit them all in. During capes, we saw the reveal of a new buggy from SDC named Inferno sporting a slightly darker red than their standby workhorse Rage. From first look, Inferno follows the form factor trends of their last few builds, so we can’t wait to see how it performs on the course, and with senior and veteran A-team driver Annie Black potentially behind the helm, we have some great expectations.

At the end of last year, the incoming Sweepstakes committee expressed an interest in a full rules committee to clear up some rules that have been modified over the years and also update procedural matters to align with the modern format/changes that haven’t been formally written down.

During Orientation, Sweepstakes held another iteration of “What is Buggy” to introduce the freshmen to our beloved sport. Several teams participated and brought out a buggy to show off on the cut drawing eyes and interest from passersby.

Notes from the last committee meeting

Some time ago, BAA HQ had our Fall meeting and caught up with each other and our projects so here’s a quick update on our progress and plans going forward.


  • Krishan has been making some great progress and should have fixed the account sign-up issue that we were having. If you’ve been waiting to sign up give it a try now and let us know if you run into any issues.
  • As we did last year, we are planning to release a kickoff/wrap-up  newsletter before the start of fall rolls (which now has a date) to all members.
  • Fall rolls reports will continue this semester and we are looking to add some new reporters to further expand on the weekend events. If you are in the area and come out to rolls, let us know and we would be more than happy to include any notes you might have!
  • Because of the vital role that cmuTV plays in Raceday, we’ve been talking with a few of their alums and are starting to organize a alumni support group specifically for them. Given how busy the group gets in the spring with their numerous shows, any support we can send their way will come back as support for us.

Next Steps

  • We are continuing to make a push to reach out to possible new teams and following up with the outreach that was started by last year’s sweepstakes. Along those lines, we are working to compile a list of available buggies that new teams could rent, please shoot us a message if you know of some in the area.
  • Priority for the website is cleaning up some security issues and cleaning up some of the underlying architecture. If you spot any issues please shoot us a message or post a comment. Thanks to those of you who continue to send us these notes!
  • There has been talk of doing a short mid-season newsletter this year as a recap of the fall and make some predictions for the spring, so keep an eye right here for more info on that. If you would be interested in helping, or have a topic that you want covered, don’t hesitate to let us know.


  • Homecoming – CMU is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the merger between Carnegie Tech and Mellon College of Science this year.
    • Tom is preparing a special version of his History of Buggy Presentation for homecoming this year.
    • We are also planning to have our doughnut and coffee tent out for rolls that weekend, so come by and say hi if you’re in town!
  • Carnival – We are starting to make plans for Carnival this year and will again be looking for volunteers to help keep things running and up-to-date through the races. The officers will be busy managing other BAA tasks, so we are looking to find some leads to help us just during that weekend.
  • Local Meetups – We’ve attempted these to some success over the years, but we would love to have more Buggy Alumni meetups in other areas. The BAA has large concentrations in New York and Silicon Valley and will be making some outreach to those chapters, but if you are interested and would go to a local meetup, we’d love to hear from you and provide whatever support your area might need.

UPDATE: Rules Amendment – Greek Restrictions

The discussion that happened a week ago was an interesting one, though with low attendance, it’s hard to tell how informative or how much it will affect the future conversations on this topic.

In attendance: SigEp, PhiDelt, SAE, SDC, Sweepstakes, BAA

Quick Summary:

  1. The greek teams seem to have a different philosophy when it comes to buggy in that it is more of a group activity rather than a sole focus as is the case for some independents.
  2. Because of #1, current greek teams don’t seem to have an interest in taking advantage of the situation if this rule were lifted.
  3. Teams didn’t see a huge advantage of the “ringer” pusher. While independents have used this “advantage”, competitive teams, use it only to fill out their few positions on lower teams.

Next Steps:

  1. One point that came up is that this type of rule change may be more desirable by new teams, so Sweepstakes will be reaching out to them to get there opinion.
  2. Due to low attendance, there should be interest in having a larger discussion with more teams.

This discussion is far from over, but this is the current information we have from teams.

Saturday Rules Amendment Discussion – Greek Restrictions

Greek Pusher Restrictions have been a hot topic of late and Sweepstakes will be having a formal discussion this Saturday at 1:00pm. We will have some alumni in attendance and we would like to have your input if you are not able to join us in person this weekend.

Please comment below with your opinions about these issues.

Questions that will be covered during this meeting:

  • What are the pros and cons?
  • How many non-Greek pushers would it take to no longer be seen as the Greek organization’s team?
  • What are the differences between Greek and Independent Teams?
  • What is the effect on both Greek and Independent teams?
  • How does it help/harm the organizations/Buggy as a whole?

Given some recent trends, sweepstakes has a renewed vigor in their focus on increased participation and we would like to assist them in any and every way we can.

Auction mini-post – Heat Selections and chute vids

Heat selections happened last night and went pretty smoothly. No one was wondering about hill 1 times at all, so either everyone has done some fantastic scouting, or we will have some very interesting hill 2 races. The big shenanigan of the night was PiKA attempting to run 3 men’s teams with only Banshee and Chimera. By removing that, a whole heat was removed and the whole thing had to be redone, not that it made much of a difference in the end.

Sweepstakes is allowing 24 hrs for teams to make any swaps as they need them. Because of that we will be launching the Auction tonight when heats become final. In the mean time, enjoy these videos from Rolls a couple weekends ago. Continue reading

Carnival Plans – Raceday

The same group that is working on the updates to design comp has also been doing some tinkering with Raceday. And for those of you that are worried, no we are not changing the rules, we wouldn’t touch that with an eleven foot pole, but we hope some of the flow will be improved a bit this year (pending the usual weathery culprits of course).

As the buggy fanatics that we know you are, we feel like you deserve to know as much as we do. A lot got covered in the last meeting, so this is a meaty post. If you need to, wait till you’re more hungry, or take in a bit now and take the rest home in a doggy bag to eat later.
Of course, we’re still a few weeks out, so nearly all of this is potentially subject to change.


Continue reading

Carnival Plans – Design Competition

Hey guys, it’s been around 2 months since the last post went up, so it’s time to get back into the rhythm before rolls start up. This is a big year as Carnival is celebrating its 100th year, and it’s only 8 weeks away! Because of this, the buggy organizers are working hard on making this year special. There are some special additions as well as a few major changes that we’re looking at.

The design comp chair this year, Connor Hayes (Apex founder), has some pretty awesome ideas to improve design comp and make it a bit more interesting, BUT he’s looking for some feedback from the community and has written the following…

Continue reading

Midsemester Break – No Rolls, New Rules?

With many students using the break to visit home and see their family, there were no rolls this weekend. The students that stayed on campus got the chance to sleep in, relax, and work more on buggy than they otherwise would.

Since there were no rolls this weekend, it seems like the perfect chance to talk about the other side of Sweepstakes. And while rumors are flying of new buggies being built, that can maybe be better served for when we actually start seeing them on the course. Instead, lets talk about the rules and what’s going on with them.

Next Rules Committee Meeting:

This Wednesday 10/24

From 9pm to 10pm

Location TBD

Continue reading

Whoa! Rolls start in 2 days, time to get the BAA back in action!

Sweepstakes and the teams are on the ball and the 93rd season of buggy is scheduled to kick off this Saturday at 7:01am.  Are you ready?  Are you excited?  Is this the last thing on the list telling you that you have to admit that summer is over?

Well get ready, and get excited, because it’s time to stuff the smallest ladies in Pittsburgh into carbon tubes, send them flying down the hill and then push them back up to the top.  If it doesn’t put a smile on your face to think about our most peculiar sport ramping back up for a new season … your smile must be broken because you’re on this website, who are you kidding!

So, what does it mean to start a new season?

  • Our highly-esteemed rolls reports will resume next week, with weekly coverage of the weekend’s action usually hitting the interwebs on Monday morning to give you  something to look forward to as you start your week.
  • Our fall activities are coming up.  We’ll be running a welcome table at Cèilidh to meet and greet, Tom Wood will be giving his history of buggy talk, and we’ll be running the 2nd annual game of Fantasy Buggy scheduled around mini-raceday at the end of the fall season of rolls.
  • Now is the time to start working on projects to make buggy bigger, more popular, and more fun for alumni and current students.  Ideas tend to come up in March when the buggy buzz is really getting strong, but it’s tough to pull off the big projects in a month.  If you’ve got a big idea, throw it out in the Project Zone and rally some troops to get it done.  We don’t raise money for our retirement accounts, we raise it to fund fun projects.  Let’s do it!
  • It’s time to re-up on your BAA membership.  BAA membership is an annual affair so any contribution now until the end of May makes you a 2013 supporter.  A contribution of any amount >$1 gets you on the roster for the year and gives you the happy feeling of knowing that you enable the BAA to support buggy and make it cooler than it was the year before.  Check out our membership page to see the past year’s rosters and for details on the money stuff.
How are we going to pull off this exciting new year of BAA activity?
  • Well, that’s an interesting question.  The BAA is at a bit of a turning point.  The BAA will celebrate its 5th birthday at carnival 2013 and many of the folks who founded and have led this awesome organization have new, probably less awesome things vying for their time (babies, jobs, living in different cities, whatever).  As a result, we’ve got opportunities aplenty for alumni with energy and ideas on how to continue to contribute to the sport of buggy even though you’re no longer paying your student activities fee.
  • Janice Schneekloth is stepping down as chairwoman after 2 great years at the helm, and that is the primary role we need to fill.  The BAA is a group effort.  We work on things the community thinks are worthwhile and interesting and we try to do it by including everyone who can contribute.  Still, we need one person to make the tough calls (there aren’t many) and keep the organization hanging together and moving forward.  We also need more people to be part of the committee and adopt specific parts of the BAA operation and make them their thing.  This post from May outlines the jobs that need doing.
  • I am also one of the people who has been forced to move on a bit because I physically moved to Chapel Hill, NC this summer.  Blackjack is already hung on our new wall, so I won’t forget about buggy, and being part of the beginning of the Buggy Alumni Association has been one of my favorite CMU experiences.  This is my 147th post on cmubuggy.org, and I’m sure it won’t be my last, but I don’t think I’d do a very good job with the rolls reports from 500 miles away.
  • So Ben Matzke (CIA chairman, 2011) is going to be taking over to start things off on the news front, but he could use your help.  I’ll let him do the coordination, but rolls reports is an ideal job for a 2 or 3 person rotating team.  You’d be surprised how nice it is to get out of the house early, go see some buggy, and then start your Saturday.  That, and telling the ladies you write for cmubuggy.org works like a charm every time, trust me.
  • So, for the next 8 days we will be accepting nominations for Chairman of the BAA and volunteers for the other myriad of  roles that need filling.  Next Friday, we will either announce the new 2013 BAA committee, or (if we have more than 1 candidate for Chairman) a ballot .  Please comment on this post or email admin@cmubuggy.org to get involved.  Get involved, you’ll love it, I definitely have.

Men’s Finals washed out, SDC Sweeps 2012

The rain held off for long enough to squeeze the women’s finals run starting earlier than scheduled at 8am.  A quick downpour doused the crowd waiting for the men’s heats to begin, and sweepstakes called it.  SDC takes both the Men’s and Women’s crowns for 2012.

More wrap-up later!  Enjoy the rest of carnival!

Final results: