This fall marks the 30th anniversary of the Scholastic Bowl, a competition that pits the wits and knowledge of societies against one another.
In 1985 Dr. Bob Jones III and Dr. John Matzko, the chair of the Division of Social Science, started the competition so the final round would highlight students’ knowledge in a competitive event.
Recently, the Schol Bowl championship has taken place earlier in the semester than in previous years.
Matthew Weathers, the coordinator of Student Leadership and Organizations at the University, believes that in context with past years, this year will stay true to form.
Weathers works through the Center for Leadership Development to facilitate society involvement and encourage society officers to involve their members in the scholastic bowl.
“Traditions will remain true this year. Some societies care much more about it than others,” Weathers said.
“Some actually have tryouts to make the scholastic bowl team,” Weathers said.
The competition includes questions brought back from previous years in combination with new questions.
Over time, this can present a generational difference, as the knowledge base of times gone by is vastly different than more recent years.
“There are [things] that people know today that people 30 years ago wouldn’t,” Matzko said, and the same is true in opposite cases.
As scientific research moves forward, the rules of expression and subjects change, and so must the questions.
Schol Bowl also has an element of diversity that often leads to greater student unity.
“Scholastic Bowl is always fun because it’s a great way that stereotypes are shattered,” Weathers said.
“Some people who may not be perceived as [knowledgeable] shock the socks off of people by answering incredible questions.”
That diversity can be the key to success in a winning Schol Bowl.
A wide range of subject matter in the questions makes it wise to have as much varied expertise as possible from different majors and backgrounds.
Schol Bowl also fills out society involvement to more than athletic pursuits.
“Often sports or other things get the attention for society involvement, and some students don’t feel as involved,” Weathers said.
“Scholastic Bowl is a great way for society members to get involved.”
Many students are already taking notice of this opportunity and taking advantage of the renewed interest.
“This year we had somewhat of a resurgence in participation with scholastic bowl among societies,” Weathers said.
In the past, Scholastic Bowl was a required participation for societies, and when it became optional last year, there was a temporary decline in involvement.
However, this year the competition is coming back stronger.
Schol Bowl continues to put student relationships in perspective.
“It helps us appreciate not only subject material but the people who enjoy the subject material in different ways,” Weathers said.