Cy’s Suitcase: August Edition

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A Message from Shellie

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”

– Samuel Johnson

If there was one piece of advice I have for people today to experience more joy in life, it would be to travel more. Traveling is wonderful in many ways. It gives us a sense of wanderlust and has us longing for more destinations to visit, cultures to experience, food to eat, and people to meet. But, most importantly, travel changes you by opening your eyes to see this world is a big place and we are just inhabiting one small part of it.

When we spend time away from home, especially in a place where we don’t have luxuries readily available to us — like a village I visited in Fiji that runs without electricity — we become more aware and appreciative of luxuries we have back home. I remember visiting Tanzania and watching kids haul concrete blocks in wheelbarrows and walk miles with the load – in the heat. The lucky kids there would walk more than three miles, one-way, to go to school. When I got home and heard my kids complain about HAVING to go to school, I felt sad at how we take things for granted here in the United States. I wish everyone had a chance to see how much poverty there is in the world and better appreciate what they have.

There are so many amazing places to visit in this world. I’m not sure where your heart is telling you to go next, but take a look at our 2018 trips that are now up on our website and see all the amazing places the Traveling Cyclones will be going in the upcoming year. You can travel to the Wild West or Antarctica or the Kentucky Derby or Cuba. You can explore Africa or Alaska or cruise on the Danube or the Mississippi. We offer a variety of trips that we hope will cover everyone’s wish list.

For anyone who gets to travel, it is a blessing. Traveling should change you. It leaves marks on your memory and on your heart. You take something with you and leave something good behind. When you return home, you are a better person with a wider perspective on your little part of the world. And — let’s be honest, as you lay your head on your pillow at night you will be grateful not only for what you have experienced, but for what you have.

See you everywhere,


Alaska 2018

We have a special opportunity for our Traveling Cyclones next July. We are partnering with the schools of the Big 12 Conference next July aboard Oceania Cruises’ Regatta  – – hosted by Voice of the Cyclones John Walters and his wife, Joni!

This Big 12 sports-themed trip to Alaska’s Vistas and Glaciers will include a Big 12 reception and tailgate, a celebrity lecture by legendary CBS Sports announcer Verne Lundquist, and the chance to network with not only your fellow Cyclones, but with Bears, Jayhawks, Horned Frogs, Sooners, Longhorns, Cowboys, Mountaineers, Wildcats, and Red Raiders, too. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see glaciers, fjords, forests, mountains, and historic Alaska towns — including the Alaska Explorer Youth Program for your children and grandchildren ages 5-12.

If Alaska’s on your bucket list, this is a cool opportunity to check it off. Let’s make sure Cyclones claim their fair share of the ship and represent the Cardinal & Gold on this Big 12 cruise. For more information about this unique opportunity to see Alaska, visit our website or call Traveling Cyclones director Shellie Andersen (L)(’88 marketing) or assistant director Heather Botine (L) toll-free at (877) 478-2586.


Shellie’s Shopping Secrets


Upcoming trips

Please check out our vast listing of 2018 trips to everywhere — and even some close to home. Visit www.isualum.org/travel. We hope to see you soon!


Travel tips

Ask for the digits.
If you are like me and have no sense of direction (a great trait for a travel director, huh?) I put my hotel name and address in my phone in case I go out on my own. And because I travel a lot, I also put my hotel room number in my phone. On a recent trip, we stayed at three hotels in six days. Not hard to get confused!

Ask the locals.
If you find some free time on your trip, ask a local where he or she would want to eat. You will find some spots that you might not have normally chosen.

Alert your bank and credit card company.
Let them know you will be traveling out of the country so they don’t put a hold on your credit card when they see you trying to use it out of the States.

Let someone at home know your plans.
This is extremely important when traveling solo, but it’s still a good idea no matter how many people are in your travel group.

Separate your personal items.
If you are traveling with a companion, it is a good idea to mix your personal items into each checked bag (if you have more than one.) That way if one of the bags gets lost, you still have some clothing and personal items.

Separate your sources of money.
Don’t keep all your cash and cards in one spot. I usually hide some cash and a backup credit card in a separate bag — not the same bag that my wallet is in.

Make a travel first aid kit.
I now travel with Tylenol, Ibuprofen, band aids, Benadryl, Tums, Neosporin, etc. I have had way too many bug bites, scrapes, tummy aches, etc., while traveling that I now know it’s best to be prepared. I also carry extra thread and buttons — something I have carried with me for years. A year ago, while in Cuba, my button on my dress fell off and that sewing kit came in handy!

Fans of the Future

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Cyclone Athletics connects kids to
ISU through the Junior Cyclone Club

Today’s kids are involved in countless activities, plugged into technology, and continually presented with a smorgasbord of entertainment options, leaving college athletics administrators everywhere with burning questions: Is there still room for good, old-fashioned sports fandom? Who will be the fans of the future?

At Iowa State, there’s reason to believe that the Cyclone fan of tomorrow is the kindergartener of today who high-fives Meredith Burkhall on the Hilton concourse after a women’s basketball victory, the fourth-grader who comes early to the spring football game so he can get  one-on-one coaching from Zeb Noland,  or the middle schooler who hosts her birthday party at a Cyclone gymnastics meet. Developed two decades ago as the “Lil’ Clone Club” by Cyclone women’s  basketball coach Bill Fennelly (L) to encourage game attendance among young families, today’s Junior Cyclone Club is one of the largest collegiate booster clubs for youth in the country, and Iowa State  is banking on the idea that this significant  investment in the future fan will ultimately pay major dividends.

“We put a tremendous amount of emphasis on our [youth] club compared to a lot of schools because we think it’s very important,” says Mary Pink (MEd ’10), ISU’s longtime associate athletics director for marketing.

When it began as a women’s basketball program initiative, the original Lil’ Clone Club attracted families by offering free T-shirts and souvenirs, priority seating, and a pizza party. Today, the Junior Cyclone Club offers, for only $59 per year, free admission to all football, women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics, soccer, and softball events, as well as priority to purchase student seats for men’s basketball games that happen during winter break. The club, which has averaged around 5,000 members over the last five years, has added special free events ranging from sports clinics to the annual Cyclone FanFest and even movie nights in Jack Trice Stadium. The goal, Pink says, is to engage Millennials and members of Generation Z by offering what they crave most: one-of-a-kind experiences.

Among the families that have embraced the experiences Junior Cyclone Club has to offer is the Tubbs family of Des Moines. Over the last decade, Joanne Wilson Tubbs (L)(’94 music) says her three children have done everything from discovering their personal passions to forging friendships with student-athletes and fans.

“It’s not just the tickets and the high fiving,” Tubbs says. “The kids get to do clinics with the coaches and do special jobs like guest announcer at a volleyball game. They are going deeper than just, ‘Here’s a T-shirt and a ticket.’ They are really trying to engage kids in new ways. Every year, there’s something new. Even college kids don’t get to experience some of these things that the Junior Cyclone Club kids get to do.”

Tubbs and her husband, Peter Tubbs (L)(’92 telecommunicative arts, MBA ’10), are the busy parents of 15-year-old Julia, 11-year-old Carl, and 9-year-old Miles, who attend nearly 40 Junior Cyclone Club events every year.

“They’ve been back in the locker rooms, they’ve been behind the scenes, and it makes them feel so comfortable,” Tubbs says. “Campus now feels like home. They see themselves going to Iowa State because of their love for campus, their love for the Cyclones. They see it as super welcoming and not intimidating.”

Her great seats for Cyclone athletics events have benefited Julia in an unexpected way. She started bringing a camera and, through hours of practice from a great vantage point, has become an award-winning photographer.

“Every year she’ll take anywhere from 500 to 700 athletic pictures at Iowa State,” Tubbs says of her daughter. “She’ll enter her best ones at the State Fair and she’s actually won some pretty amazing awards; she  even got a small scholarship from Iowa State. They saw one of her pictures at the Fair and attached an award to it.”

Creating opportunities for young Cyclone fans to have incredible experiences is fully in line with athletics director Jamie Pollard’s vision. From transitioning local golf outings into the more family-friendly Cyclone Tailgate Tour to helping spearhead the uber-popular movie night events, Pink says Pollard (L) has been integral in expanding the Junior Cyclone Club’s reach.

“He’s really seen the value,” Pink says. “He was the one who actually said, ‘Let’s offer the Iowa game for football and make it a whole package.’ He was the one who brought up the idea of doing a pregame tunnel on the field. He always wants us to be more engaging of a broader range of families and kids.”

Offering prime seats for men’s basketball is another way Junior Cyclone Club stands out from its peers nationally, Pink says.

“We were really surprised and appreciative of what they’re doing with men’s basketball,” Tubbs says. “They can fill that place up and could have taken a step back [with Junior Cyclone Club benefits], but they didn’t. We were in the second row for Okie State. Crazy!”

18318357_10212291854429476_2133812422_oCrazy is one word Tubbs says she might normally use to describe her decision to let two young boys stay up to attend an 8 o’clock basketball game on a weeknight, but the experience was one her sons will never forget. They even made a sign (pictured at right), which received lots of TV attention, praising their mother for letting them “stay up late.”

Ultimately, Tubbs and Pink both agree, it’s those experiences that will become enduring memories and therefore the foundation of a lifetime relationship with Iowa State.

“It’s now more important than ever to engage kids with your brand at an early age,” Pink says. “You have a lot of competing forces for their attention and their  attendance, so we’re just always finding new ways to work with how kids and families today operate to engage them with Iowa State.”

Learn more at www.jrcycloneclub.com


This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Gardening for Good

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When you look at Iowa in the summer – with its bountiful crops and fertile soil – there’s no reason people should be hungry.

That’s the philosophy and the selfless goal of Tracy Blackmer (A)(’90 agronomy) of rural Madrid, Iowa. For the past four years, Blackmer has been organizing an army of volunteers to help tend his 10-acre garden for one purpose and one purpose only: To give the food away to those who need it.

IMG_8901This week, the ISU Alumni Association staff teamed up with colleagues at Nationwide Insurance to harvest peppers in the summer heat. So far this season, more than 8,000 pounds of food from Blackmer’s garden has been donated to the Food Bank of Iowa, a not-for-profit organization that disperses the produce to food pantries and other volunteer agencies in central Iowa. As of this week, Blackmer estimates that as many of 4,000 volunteers have worked in his bountiful vegetable patch this year, taking on such tasks as planting, weeding, and harvesting.

“This is my hobby,” he said. “I enjoy doing it, and it helps others. People want to make a difference, and we just provide a place for them to do it.”

IMG_8899In addition to the peppers the Alumni Association staff harvested, Blackmer and his wife, Doreen (A)(’88 animal science) are growing eggplant, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, zucchini, winter squash, cabbage, turnips, radishes, beets, kohlrabi, carrots, and string beans – a veritable vegetable soup of flavorful produce.


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The time each volunteer worked in the garden was recorded and submitted to our Cy’s Days of Service program. Cy’s Days of Service is designed to unite Cyclones everywhere in community service while spreading their ISU pride. If you have completed or plan to participate in any service opportunities before May 2018, you can report your hours on our Cy’s Days of Service website.
Whether your volunteer work is specially designed for Cy’s Days of Service or a project you’re doing with family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues, it can all be counted to help us reach our goal of 30,000 hours of service. Be sure to wear ISU apparel so your photos will showcase how Cyclones everywhere are making a difference in their communities!

 

Cy’s Surprise

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Everybody’s favorite bird takes kids on a great ISU adventure in this exclusive new LegaCY Club book for young children

In a cozy straw nest
In a tree way up high
Lived a red baby bird
His friends called him Cy

He was loyal and true
And his spirit was great
His home and his heart
Were at Iowa State

Thus begins the long-awaited book, Cy’s Surprise, published  by the ISU Alumni Association for children and grandchildren of Iowa State alumni and friends.

Written by Kate Bruns (A)(’99 journ & mass comm) and illustrated by Tara Gartin (’87 graphic design), Cy’s Surprise is the premier LegaCY Club gift, aimed  at toddler and preschool-age children. The 24-page book is available exclusively  to families who enroll their children  and grandchildren in the ISU Alumni  Association’s newly expanded LegaCY Club.

Bruns, the associate director of communications for the ISU Alumni Association, began working on the book several years ago, and she had a vision to make Cy, the ISU mascot, relatable to children.

“I really felt like I wanted kids to be able to relate to Cy as more than just this rock-star figure in their lives, and instead to have Cy be more like them,” Bruns said. “So I really liked the idea of having him start as a baby and grow up and learn some of the lessons that I think most parents hope their kids will learn as they explore the world.”

Bruns’ “Dr. Seuss gene” came in handy in telling the lighthearted tale of Cy’s adventure on the Iowa State campus, and Gartin’s own love of the Dr. Seuss style played into the colorful illustrations that give Cy a childlike personality as he evolves from a baby bird to spreading his wings and becoming an active participant on campus.

“I really wanted Cy to be curious, because he’s discovering all the things that he can do at Iowa State,” Gartin said. “He’s kind of naïve at first. He’s exploring Iowa State, and he doesn’t know exactly what he’s getting into, and so it’s like an adventure for him. At one point in the story he suddenly realizes, ‘Oh, at Iowa State you can do all these different things!’ And it’s like an explosion of all the things he’s doing. It’s pretty funny.”

“I’m so excited about how Tara took the text and just ran with it and made these beautiful, adorable, funny images  that I just think are going to be really appealing,” Bruns said. “I read my 5-year-old son the story and he loved it, but after I showed him the pictures he got extra excited about it.”

Author Kate Bruns:
Cy and the family clone

Bruns Family PhotoAs far back as she can remember, Kate Adams Bruns (A)(’99 journ & mass comm) knew two things: She loved to write, and she loved Iowa State.

The writing began first.

“I’ve been writing rhyming poems since I was very, very young,” Bruns said. “Ever since I was probably 2 or 3 years old, my favorite form of play was to create books or, as I got a little bit older, to write things about Iowa State.”

Iowa State played a huge role in her childhood. Some of her most magical memories are of the times she accompanied her father, David Adams (L)(’73 metallurgical engineering), to Iowa State basketball games.

“That was kind of a special treat because we just had two tickets, and so the two of us would go,” she said. “We’d always stop at the gas station, and he’d let me get candy to eat in the car, and that was always cool. We would come up here for basketball games; when I got older we came to all the football games, too.”

Her family came to VEISHEA every spring – the colder the parade, the more vivid the memories, she said – and her dad often took her inside the big, imposing buildings.
Bruns’ father was “far and away the biggest influence” on her Iowa State connection, but a great-grandmother and an uncle also graduated from ISU, and her mother, Deborah Adams (L), and brother David, both University of Northern Iowa grads, have enthusiastically embraced the cardinal and gold.

So it was no surprise when Bruns enrolled in the journalism and mass communication program in the fall of 1996. And it was a happy coincidence that at  age 17 she met Ben Bruns (A)(’01 construction engineering) and helped convince him to accept the offer to play Cyclone football.

“I was already in my Iowa State recruitment mode before I was even in the future-
husband recruitment mode,” she said. “I jumped on the fact that he was being recruited by Iowa State for football before  I really thought about him in any other way.”

Ben and Kate, married since 2000, have a 5-year-old son, C.J., who has not surprisingly visited campus regularly, attending basketball and a few football games and spending time at Reiman Gardens. As business development director for the Weitz Company, Ben has had a hand in many of the new campus constructions and renovations, so C.J.’s parents often point out “the buildings that Daddy helped make.”

Kate says she and Ben won’t pressure C.J. into enrolling at Iowa State when the time comes but says he may end up at ISU.

“He may end up in a similar situation to mine, where it’s just been such a big part of his life for so long,” she said.

Illustrator Tara Gartin:
Surrounded by Cyclones

gartinfamilyTara Gartin’s Iowa State family tree is strong and growing larger every year.

Her father, Larry Lockwood (’61 architecture), graduated from Iowa State, and HIS father attended. Her mom, Dallas Lockwood, attended, and her husband, Timothy Gartin (MA ’92 English), is an ISU grad.

Her oldest son, Nathan, took classes at Iowa State. Son Peter is an ISU senior in physics and math, daughter Elizabeth is an ISU sophomore in public relations and anthropology, and youngest son, Joshua, is a high school sophomore who’s eyeing Iowa State’s theatre program.

That’s a lot of connections for someone  who grew up in Overland  Park, Kan., and knew the  state of Iowa mostly from walking beans at her uncle’s farm.

But her father’s connection to the  College of Design drew her to Iowa State.

“The one thing we’ve shared in common was art,” Gartin said. “He’s always encouraged me in my artwork, and since he studied here it was easy for him to say, ‘This is a great place to go for design.’ When we came to visit, it was obvious that it was an excellent graphic design program, so it was a perfect fit for me.”

Gartin’s experiences at Iowa State included living in Helser and Friley  Halls all four-and-a-half years she attended school, plus she played oboe  in the University Wind Ensemble and  Symphony Orchestra.

Gartin (’87 graphic design) worked as a graphic designer after graduating from Iowa State, including a number of years on campus. She took time off to raise and home-school her four children before launching into a new career as a children’s-book illustrator. She also volunteers as president of Story Theatre Company, a side job that involves promotional work, painting, and animation for the stage.

Today, with two kids enrolled at Iowa State, she stays connected through their activities. She also encouraged her sister’s daughter, Courtney Cooley, who lives in Kansas, to attend ISU. Courtney is a freshman in the College of Design.

BONUS: Read an expanded Q&A with the author and illustrator online.


This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Connecting with kids

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Creating a new generation of Cyclones through early awareness, fan involvement, academic outreach, and family connections

A stack of colorful crayons on a white backgroundOne of the most powerful legacies a parent or grandparent can leave a child is the legacy of higher education. And for parents and grandparents who profess to “bleeding cardinal and gold,” the Iowa State Alumni Association’s newly expanded LegaCY Club can help children feel like they belong in the Iowa State  family long before they’re old enough to start thinking about applying to college.

Under the direction of Alumni  Association assistant director for member services Sarah Craw (A), the LegaCY  Club not only connects little Cyclones to Iowa State but also deepens the connection for their parents and grandparents.

“When parents or grandparents enroll their children or grandchildren, it’s a way to connect these future potential students, but it’s also a way for them to connect themselves back to their own university,” Craw said. “Engaging your child or grandchild helps you remember all the things you loved about Iowa State, and the gifts
we’ve pulled together are really going to help share Cyclone spirit throughout childhood. The new children’s book, Cy’s Surprise, will especially bring back a lot
of nostalgia for being on campus.”

Launching as an expanded program in July 2017, the LegaCY Club will educate the children and grandchildren of ISU Alumni Association members about Iowa State and the meaning of being a Cyclone through age-appropriate gifts and activities (see the sidebar at right for a complete list). The LegaCY Club also provides another point of connection and pride for ISU Alumni Association members.

For families whose connections with Iowa State have skipped a generation, the LegaCY Club will allow children to create their own legacy. In fact, the program is open to all Iowa State friends who are members of the Alumni Association and who wish to connect their children  or grandchildren with the university they’ve grown to love.

“Fourth- and fifth-generation families are exciting, but first-generation students are exciting, too,” Craw said. “We’re  extending this program to high school- and college-age students by hosting events on campus. We want to engage students the moment they step on campus, and this program helps us do that long before that. We want legacy students to know that they already have a home with the Iowa State Alumni Association.”

LegaCY Club offers gifts and benefits for little Cyclones everywhere

Legacy Club productsAs a member of the LegaCY Club, your child or grandchild will receive:

• Birth to age 2: Cy’s Surprise, an exclusive children’s book written and illustrated by Iowa State alumnae Kate Bruns and Tara Gartin, respectively
• Age 2: Cyclone growth chart
• Age 5: Cyclone backpack
• Age 7: Cyclone bank, to encourage saving for college
• Age 10: Cyclone school notebook and pen
• Age 13: Cyclone sleepover pillowcase
• Age 16: Cyclone car decal and keychain for new drivers
• All ages: Yearly Cyclone birthday cards
• Upon graduation from Iowa State: LegaCY cord
• Plus: a LegaCY Club certificate and invitations to LegaCY Club events

Learn more and sign up online at www.isualum.org/legaCY.


This article was originally published in VISIONS magazine. To receive the full issue delivered to your mailbox four times per year, become a member of the ISU Alumni Association.

Kaleidoquiz: How It All Started

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Kaleidoquiz ’73 goes on the air. Photo courtesy Iowa State University Special Collections.

By Craig Spear

In the winter of 1968 the Vietnam War was heating up, LBJ was President, Laugh-In aired for the first time on TV, and Planet of the Apes opened at the Varsity Theater on Lincoln Way.

The Beatles’ latest hit, Hello, Good Bye, was playing on the radio. Spooky and Chain of Fools were climbing the charts.

The university was run by gray-faced bureaucrats, women had to be in their dorms by eleven, and Don Smith, “a bearded, motorcycle riding” ag student (in the words of the Bomb) had recently been elected student body president.

Strains of 60s-style radicalism were rippling through our conservative land-grant campus. There were occasional “sit-ins.” And Smith, scourge of the administration, promised to drag Iowa State “kicking and screaming” into the 20th century.

I was an English major in my sophomore year and co-manager of KISU, the student-run radio station located then, as now, in the basement of Friley Hall, a few doors down from the “T-Room” – a snack bar hideaway popular with us radio rats.

KISU (formerly KMRI) had been on the air since 1949. The studios were cluttered and shabby. Second-hand radio gear, constantly in need of repair, was crammed in every available corner.

Nevertheless, it was a haven for tinkerers, music lovers, and aspiring DJs like me. What’s more, despite our modest accommodations, we served a sizeable closed-circuit radio audience of some several thousand students living in nine university-run dormitories.

The preceding few months, starting in the fall of 1967, I had been circulating an idea among my 12-member board of directors for an audience-participation radio contest. The premise was simple: broadcast some quiz questions, award points to listeners with the right answers, and string the competition out over a long weekend.

The idea wasn’t original with me, but it had only come to my attention the previous summer during a meet-up with an old high school friend at a Cedar Rapids pizza parlor.

Phil York, then a student at Lawrence College – a small liberal arts school in Appleton, Wis., had, like me, signed on with the campus radio station. We were both new to broadcasting and had a lot of rookie radio stories to share. But one story in particular stuck with me.

At the close of spring semester in 1967, the Lawrence station hosted a campus-wide trivia contest. This came on the heels of a similar broadcast the year before. The weekend-long competition, as Phil described it, became a campus obsession. A record number of Lawrence students took part. That weekend radio event turned out to be groundbreaking in other ways, too.

Campus trivia competitions had been around for a long time. Intercollegiate “academic bowls” were common on college campuses. Many were inspired by the long running GE College Bowl, a Sunday morning network television show dating back to the 50s. Then too, daytime television quiz shows, like Jeopardy, which hit the air in 1964, were well-known to TV viewers.

College competitions were often staged in student unions or campus gymnasiums. Quiz Masters emceed, teams of trivia experts hunched around cafeteria-style folding tables, and on-lookers cheered them on.

James deRosset, a Lawrence senior math major, apparently attended one of those quizathons at his girlfriend’s campus in nearby Beloit. Unimpressed, deRosset returned to Appleton in the spring of 1966 with a plan to organize an on-campus trivia contest of his own.

As the story goes, deRosset shared his ideas with roommates who, as luck would have it, worked at the campus radio station. Somehow, out of those late-night brainstorming sessions, the idea of hosting a campus-wide trivia contest over the college radio station first came to light. College radio—social media of its era—would play host to a “virtual” campus trivia contest.

That same year—1966—and apparently by coincidence, Williams College, an elite northeastern private school, also began hosting a campus radio trivia contest. It was an abbreviated affair—lasting only 8 hours—and aired at the end of spring and fall semesters. Owing perhaps to its east coast locale, the contest drew the attention of major media outlets like the New York Times and the Boston Globe.

Determining who gets credit for hosting the first college radio trivia contest has long been debated. The distinction is probably academic. Or, in the words of one observer, “trivial.”

Following that consequential summer meeting with Phil York, I began pondering whether such a radio contest would work at Iowa State. There were several points in our favor: KISU had a large, loyal residence hall audience. Every listener was a potential player. The contest could easily be folded into our regular, ongoing music programming. And maybe most important, the structure of the university residence hall system created natural rivalries among individual houses.

Not everyone agreed. Lawrence and Williams—small, community-based private colleges—attracted only a few hundred players. Our carrier-current signal reached 10 times that many.

There were doubts if ISU residence hall students, so widely dispersed, could be drawn into a competition with one another. And if they could, would there be sufficient enthusiasm to sustain a weekend-long contest?

Despite some skepticism, our management team eventually, cautiously, agreed to take on the project.

We mobilized our staff, signed on volunteers, assembled a talent roster of 16 DJs to host 42 hours of programming, and prepared for a February launch. I asked two volunteers to compile trivia questions on 3×5 index cards.

(Looking back, this part of the contest was the one least thought through. I hadn’t anticipated the possibilty of challenges to our questions or answers. No one thought to appoint a Quiz Czar with authority to settle disputes. This was another of several critical oversights that would fuel the pandemonium that awaited us just a few weeks away.)

Finally, there was the matter of a name. What would the contest be called? I wanted something unique and descriptive. Something that would differentiate us from generic “trivia” contests. Something that would resonate with listeners. A long list of “possibles” were rejected. One name seemed to stand out: Kaleidoquiz.

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Vintage Kaleidoquiz poster. Courtesy Iowa State University Special Collections.

As the launch date approached, we began airing promos and teasers. Our stack of 3×5 index cards grew to a couple hundred. After several weeks of preparation, we were finally ready.

On February 9, 1968, at 6:30 in the morning, a recorded contest intro hit the air—“It’s time to play…Kaleidoquiz!” The morning shift DJ opened his microphone and read the first Kaleidoquiz question. Something to do with Robert Goulet and Clarabell the Clown, as I remember.

A handful of us, hovering over the announcer’s shoulder, waited for two incoming listener lines to blink. Nothing. Finally, a single call. A record request.

More music, a station break, and the contest intro aired again: “It’s time to play…” The announcer offered up another quiz question. Another long pause. Finally, a single phone line sputtered to life. The first-ever Kaleidoquiz player had come up with the right answer!

“What do I win?” he asked.

After an hour or two, listeners began to get the hang of it. Quiz questions aired every 10 minutes. Occasionally, 50- or 100-point bonus questions were thrown in the mix. Callers were given the length of a single record to phone in answers and score points for their house.

As morning wore on, the now-familiar contest jingles were airing at steady, rhythmic intervals. “It’s time to play…” Call volume, slowly, but noticeably, began to build.

Around noon, the first signs of a scary momentum began taking hold. Incoming phone lines flashed furiously and relentlessly. Scorekeepers behind the studio plate-glass window acted out a panicky pantomime as they struggled to keep up with phone calls.

Phone company records would later show 35,000 dial-ins attempted that first day.

By early afternoon, dorm residents could no longer get dial tones. Frustrated callers heard only scrambled cross-talk on their receivers. Desperate to get through, more callers jammed the lines.

Kaleidoquiz was trending.

By late afternoon classrooms across campus had emptied out. Absent phone service, university offices began closing, unable to do business.

By early evening the first contingent of phone company representatives showed up at our studios—stern-faced and disapproving.

There was talk of shutting us down. Negotiations ensued. Finally, conceding the obvious, it was agreed seeing it through was the best course of action.

We imposed a two record time limit, and one caller per house. Pressure on the network eased. The phone system began to right itself.

Meanwhile, over the ceiling-mounted monitors, “It’s time to play…” was heard yet again. Another round of trivia questions hit the air.

Across campus, Friday night plans were scrapped. take-out pizza orders soared. Residents settled in for all-nighters. KQ roared into the night.

At midnight Saturday, 42 hours later, nearly two days after the first Kaleidoquiz questions were broadcast to an unsuspecting audience, KQ finally came to a climactic close.

Meeker House, with 1845 points, was declared the first Kaleidoquiz winner. Kimble House and Wilkinson House battled to second- and third-place finishes.

Two days later, KISU co-manager Bill Monroe would tell an Iowa State Daily reporter, with some understatement, “We had no idea it would be so popular.”

Fifty years have passed since that first Kaleidoquiz weekend rocked the ISU campus. KURE, the campus radio successor to KISU, celebrated the 50th anniversary with another KQ broadcast this past March.

Over that time, any number of student radio-based trivia contests have popped up, fizzled, and occasionally persisted, on college campuses across the country.

Lawrence College, arguably home of one of the first campus-based trivia contest (by 22 months) abandoned live radio broadcasts for a web-based version of the game a decade ago.

Williams, known for its biannual competitions, continues to host trivia contests at the end of each semester.

All of which makes Kaleidoquiz, as now aired by KURE, perhaps the largest and longest-running college radio based trivia contest in America.

Over several decades, hundreds of thousands of Iowa State Students, sometimes spanning more than one generation, have played the game. Thousands more have listened in. KURE’s KQ Director, Isaac Bries, calls Kaleidoquiz an Iowa State tradition rivaling the once preeminent—and now defunct—Veishea in popularity.

Looking back, it may seem odd that a campus trivia contest, launched during the tumultuous 60s, hearkening back in many ways to a quaint, less aware era of panty raids and phone booth stuffing, would survive the societal changes of the past half century and still remain as popular as ever.

But good ideas have a life of their own. From 3×5 note cards to laptops and Google searches, the essential elements of Kaleidoquiz are still in fashion: an out-sized challenge, a competitive group of friends, and a slightly off-kilter sense of humor.

As radio promotions go, 50 years is a good run.

 

spearCraig Spear (’71 distributed studies), the originator of Kaleidoquiz at Iowa State, is a writer and producer living in San Francisco, Calif.

 

Cy’s Suitcase: May/June 2017 Edition

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A Message from Shellie

There are only two kinds of people in the world: the Irish and those who wish they were.

I am often asked about my favorite place I’ve visited. Each trip has been amazing and every destination has offered different qualities. I used to say Prague was my favorite spot, but last year Italy took the top. It was exactly like I had imagined: the landscape, the food. the wine. Then, in April, I was fortunate to take a trip to Ireland. I had never been and had heard so many good things about this magical land.  My expectations were high, which isn’t always a good thing. But it didn’t disappoint. Ireland is now up there with Italy as one of my favorite destinations. If you have never been, please make an effort to go. Why did I like it so much? It is so green (and wet, although the rain stops as quickly as it starts), the towns are charming, there are redheads everywhere, but mostly it was the people. They are so friendly and seem so happy. It also helps that they speak English. Like the saying above says, although I have no Irish in me (which, because of my red hair, surprises everyone to learn) after visiting there I WANT to have Irish descendants. So I am going to check my ancestry again.

I guess it is the scenery, the food, and the people that make trips for me. That’s my list, but it may not be yours. When I choose trips each year I of course put the passengers first and think about where they want to go. What is the “hot spot?” What is a tried and true location? What place is safe? This has never gotten easier over the years. We put a lot of time into choosing just the right destinations for our travelers. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we don’t.

We must have done something right in 2017 because our traveler numbers have increased significantly. Either my selections were really bad last year or I did a really good job for 2017. I would be remiss if I didn’t give some credit to Heather Botine, my awesome assistant travel director who has done great things for the program since she began her new role last fall.

We are excited about the future of travel and we hope you are, too. If our 2018 trips aren’t going where you want to go, please let us know. We can maybe hook you up with one of our current travel operators to go on a separate departure — or maybe we will add it for 2019!

Have a great summer!

shellie

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours. That stay with you all the year long.” – old Irish blessing


Travel Tips

Be flexible
When traveling there are always delays and things that inevitably go wrong. Patience is extremely important when traveling. This is something I have had to work on myself. Since I can’t control the weather or the flight crew, I might as well just get a coffee and relax.

Make a list
About a week before each trip, I make a list of items I don’t want to forget. I now use my phone for this, but grabbing a notepad and writing things down as you think of them will work just as well. I know I have to write it down when I think of it, or I will forget it!

Pre-plan your outfits
It’s easy to just throw your favorite clothes in, but unless you figure out what you are wearing with what, you may end up with all black outfits. Remember, you will be wearing these outfits in photos that you will be keeping forever.

Learn common phrases in the local language
A simple “please” or “thank you” and “I’m sorry” in the local language goes a long way.

Make photocopies of important documents
Keep an extra copy of your passport with you. I have pictures of mine on my phone as well. I know of people who have lost theirs while traveling, so always be prepared.

Bring portable chargers and extra batteries
Nothing is worse than being out and about to take pictures and your camera dies, which for many is now your phone or iPad. Batteries drain quickly while on trips, so be prepared and have an extra with you. And on that note, make sure you have enough memory on your phone for pictures. I have had those instances where you are ready to take the best breathtaking photo and you get that annoying message that you don’t have enough storage. There are solutions to that. Ask your kids – or grandkids. They will know how.

Carry on essentials
I learned the hard way last summer why it’s important to have a well-packed carry-on. My luggage was lost for almost a week, so I hosted a cruise with one pair of underwear (yes, I washed them every night) and the same outfits. Keep underwear, a comfy pair of shoes (if you aren’t wearing them already) an extra shirt (I always wear a cardigan when traveling so I have a few items to interchange with if my luggage is lost), toothbrush, medications, and my laptop. I also bring lotion and lip balm, as plane cabins are very dry.


Shellie’s Shopping Secrets

Last year my luggage was missing for almost a week when I was hosting a cruise. I had very little in my carry-on bag because I hated carrying a heavy bag. Since then I have purchased this bag off of ebags.com. It not only comes in ISU colors, but you can stick it under your seat or above your head so you won’t have to check it at the gate. And it has wheels! I think this is THE most valuable travel item I own. I was recently boarding a plane in Chicago when we were told all carry-ons had to be checked to our final destination. But not mine, because it goes under the seat. It was very tight and I had nowhere to put my feet, but it was a short flight and my luggage was with me.