Thought Repository

The Fate of Booth

I'd like to address once and for all, today's events regarding AEPi's booth. You may here that it collapsed or that it fell down. People will see pictures, people will tell rumors, and people will draw conclusions. Not even so much to support AEPi as to put all the Monday morning structural engineers in their place, I'd like to explain what this is like from my position. I'm not going to go into any details of the specifics of what happened or why. I'm sure you can find some pictures and draw your own conclusions or listen to others, but I'm sure that all speculation will be wrong. Now I might be able to say what I believe is right, but I don't think it is anyone's place to do that. Those theories are all best kept to one's self. It happened and there's nothing can do now but move forward.

First of all, to say that it collapsed or fell down wouldn't be entirely acturate or at least not the whole picture. Yes, it did fall down, because it was pulled down. If you see piles of rubble you might think that there was a pretty crappy structure there. But actually most of the damage was the result of the fall induced not by structure but by people who did it deliberately. Even then, many sections held together and did not break.

Yes, AEPi does have the worst history I know of in terms of noticeable accidents. Yes, this was the 5th year of a 5 year pattern. No, I do not believe in fate or random patterns such as this. An amazing coincidence to be sure. What baffles me most is still how this has happened only really to us, and on so regular a pattern. It is hard to blame the organization since 5 years apart, I think I'm one of only two people to be present at more than one of these accidents. There doesn't seem to be any common denominators to how we've done things over the years, only the name, AEPi. Rather than blame, perhaps consider pity, for such an unfortunate group of men.

If you know the three well know AEPi accidents you'd realize that they were each very different types of problems, not all, or even most due to structural flaws as far as we know. If you take a second and look past AEPi's record and consider today's event by itself, it is actually much less either of the two incidents that will no doubt be brought up again than it is like a range of small scary moments that happen every year durning move on. There is always someone lifting something up high that you think might drop it, or something that comes loose when you don't expect it. If you're lucky things work out, everything is caught in time and put back in shape. People will be moved back for a little bit, carnival commitee will takeover, make some decisions and that's thats. I believe that's all this was until the Carnival committee make the understandable decision to pull it down rather than to let us fix it in place. Only once it was pulled down did it really enter into the history as some AEPi curse. If we'd be lucky the problem would have been caught when we weren't too high yet, where we could easily and safely bring it back down and fix the situation. Or perhaps it could have been fixed in place if we'd had the proper peices on hand.

Life goes on. No one was hurt which is the important thing. Despite problems people knew what they were doing and everyone did their job. People worked together. I'd like to thank ASA and KDR for their help supporing the section of the booth while people were deciding what to do. Before people go off complaining about what lousy designers AEPi's are, the booth was designed to stand upright. It has, it would have, and it will. It was not designed with being sideways and then twisted up, against gravity. It needed extra bracing outside of the design to be able to support itself in those move-on-only orientations. Clearly not enough of that was done, which was a mistake. But that wasn't the first time that maneuver had been done. It had happened before without event. What happened was an accident and while more may have been able to be done to prevent it, accidents just happen.

Work is in progress to rebuild, fix what broke, and improve the design in the process. This sets us back less than a day. I have faith you will see us proudly on midway again very soon. I'm really proud of the way people bonded together to deal with this. Not just internally, but also the support we've gotten from other fraternaties and sororities who build booth themselves and understand what we are going though. Particularly because there will of course be some people out there who will be jerks about this. We take this very seriously, no one wanted this to happen, no one likes that it happened, but ridiculing, belittling, and harrassing serve no constructive purpose. Maybe others are just joking, I don't know, but I've never got that sense nor do I think I could ever take such a serious matter jokingly. There are people who won't let me forget last time. People who weren't standing right there when it happened, who don't seem to care about how I feel, despite claiming to be my friends at any other time. Maybe some people honestly feel that they need to ask "Is AEPI's booth going to fall down this year? Is AEPi's booth going to fall down this year?" or that I might have an answer to that question and that it matters what I say, but mostly I just wish people would think about it before they say such thing and imagine themselves in my shoes, because this could happen to anyone.