Today was a maelstrom of emails, reddit posts, facebook messages, ARRL articles, some more emails….all thanks to this article: http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-acting-as-catalyst-in-college-radio-club-revitalization-campaign
I posted it to the amateurradio subreddit, where it got some discussion. Then, another post, nearly simultaneously popped up on reddit regarding interest in a “University/Colleges on the Air” – of course they couldn’t call it Schools on the Air, as that would compete with the other SOTA, but that’s besides the point.
There are a lot of college and university amateur radio clubs out there, both active and defunct. There have been attempts to collect interest, either through collegiate contests or sub-contests (such as the Intercollegiate Championship that hasn’t been going on since 2011), online communities (like CollegeARC developed by Brent and Bryce Salmi from Rochester Institute of Technology K2GXT, but went defunct sometime in mid to late 2013 after they graduated), and now the Dayton Hamvention Collegiate Dinner and the Collegiate Ham Radio Operators Facebook Group.
I have great interest vested in these topics. Throughout my ARRL Youth Editorship, I poked and prodded ARRL to do more to promote amateur radio to colleges, and vice versa. It cam in the form of free books, promotional materials, and licensing materials, but never have they showed the support they are featuring in the article.
ARRL provides a large amount of grants and scholarships totaling many tens of thousands of dollars – or more – but many of these scholarships often go unclaimed! This is because too many don’t know about them.
Promoting amateur radio in colleges is a huge untapped resource for both the hobby, and the STEM economy. Every technical job I had was resultant of something ham radio related, and it’s obvious that it the hobby has huge merits in electrical and computer engineering and computer science.
Plus, as mentioned in the article, colleges are super competitive! College football wouldn’t be a thing if they weren’t!
Although I don’t agree with the name “Ivy + Amateur Radio” as an all-inclusive invitation to colleges and universities across the world to join up, I still think the ARRL is doing collegiate ham radio a great service to show support, especially from the CEO level. After all, a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.
I hope to see something great come of this! Conference championships? Colleges/Universities on the Air? A yearlong QSO party for colleges? Incorporating “college” category into large ARRL contests like sweepstakes and ARRL DX? Revamping school club roundup? Tons of ideas.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below if you wish to talk college ham radio. Or send your support straight to the ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher NY2RF, himself!