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Campus Rideboard Rebuilt, Relocated

By Amy I. Hsu

Yesterday morning Alpha Phi Omega put up the newest version of the rideboard -- a map of the United States where students can post notices soliciting or offering rides -- outside the Lobdell exit in the Student Center.

The MIT chapter of APO, a national service fraternity, has been planning and designing the new board for nearly three years.

The former rideboard is in the hallway leading from Lobby 7 to Bldg. 9, and it will most likely be repainted to match its surroundings, said Campus Activities Complex Assistant Director for Programs Ted E. Johnson.

David C. Cho '94, the current APO president, said that the old board "was not in a very well-traveled location. It wasn't getting used because it was so obscured."

The designers of the new rideboard have made some improvements. While the old board was painted directly on the wall, the new board is an actual map attached to a self-standing frame, which will make any future relocation much easier, Johnson said.

The former board had hooks for students to attach pieces of paper. The new board has boxes that are numbered and color-coded to correspond to colored regions on the U.S. map. Students write information on the provided index cards and place them in the boxes, which are separately labeled for rides needed and rides offered.

Designing the rideboard

Scott Higdon '93, one of the project chairs for the new board, planned its initial layout in fall 1991, and Ken Stone, a technical instructor at the MIT Hobby Shop, first drafted the structural design in spring 1992. The wood for the new board was cut during the summer of 1992. Actual construction began in the following fall.

Then the project "went dormant for awhile" due to various delays, according to Gilbert Leung '94, the current project chair.

The new board was built in the Hobby Shop under Stone's supervision. He estimated that about 100 hours was spent on its construction. "The biggest problem was that it was hard for students to find time to work on it," Stone said. The Hobby Shop, which normally allows only members to use space and equipment, donated the necessary time to APO.

Johnson coordinated the efforts between APO and the Institute to relocate the rideboard. The Campus Activities Complex advisory board brought up the rideboard as an item that could be moved to the Student Center after the 1988 renovations, Johnson said. "Everybody agreed that it was just a matter of getting one built," he said.

There has been "a long history of people trying to get work done" on the rideboard, but the project chairs were often "snowed under by classwork," Cho said.

The last rideboard was built in spring 1974 and placed in Lobby 10, according to Yale M. Zussman '74, an adviser for MIT's APO chapter. It was moved to the Lobby 7-hallway when Lobby 10 was renovated.