Odyssey of the Mind®
2016 World Finals

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) For WF Teams


  • What’s the best resource for information about Odyssey of the Mind 2016 World Finals for participating teams?
    The coaches letter in the packet has information about Iowa State University - Ames, housing, and the events that take place during World Finals. You can see these documents online.

  • I’ve heard a lot about pin trading, what is it?
    Odyssey of the Mind Associations offer teams pins to trade while at World Finals. Pin trading is a great way to meet new friends from all over the world and to create a collection to help you remember your World Finals experience for the rest of your life.

  • Can parents, siblings and others stay in housing with the team members and coaches?
    Of course! Individual guest meals can be purchased at the entrance of campus dining centers on a cash basis or by credit cards (VISA, Mastercard & Discover accepted)

  • Can we select different housing packages?
    Yes, your team is allowed to mix housing packages.

  • Is there a discount for young children?
    Yes! Children 2 and under do not need to be included on your housing form. Since most twin beds are bunked, a pack and play is recommended.

  • Our team is unable to make departing flight reservations on Sunday. Can we stay an extra day?
    Yes! We offer day before and day after housing packages to add to your selected room and board packages that allow you to extend your accommodations to meet your travel plans.

  • How much is the registration fee?
    If your team selects Odyssey “A” type housing packages, at least one for each team member and one coach (no matter who uses the packages), it does not have to pay a registration fee. Otherwise, the fee is $3000.

  • How do we get to campus from the airport? Do you provide a shuttle?
    Shuttle service is available for Odyssey teams from both the Des Moines, IA (DSM),  O'Hare Int'l, Chicago (ORD), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and the Eastern Iowa Airport Cedar Rapids, IA (CID). The shuttle will run between the airport and the registration site at Iowa State Center. Shuttles will be scheduled to accommodate Odyssey group arrivals and are not available to regular intervals or to other destinations. Delayed flights will be accommodated as quickly as possible. Service is available Monday, May 23rd through Sunday, May 29th. To make your shuttle reservation, visit www.visitames.com/worldfinals2016. During the competition, Odyssey of the Mind will provide a free on-campus shuttle service.

  • Where is team registration?
    Team registration will take place at the Iowa State Center Scheman Building. See directions here.

  • What do we do if we arrive on campus after registration closes for the day?
    Registration is open until Midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday; however, if you arrive after registration closes, just go to the ground floor of the Iowa State Center Scheman Building. ISU Staff will direct you to check in. You can register in the morning.

  • Are the dorms air-conditioned?
    Some residence areas have air-conditioning; however, we cannot guarantee air-conditioned lodging in advance. A fan is recommended. The average temperature in Ames at this time of year is between 60 and 70 degrees. Check the weather forecast to make sure you pack the right clothes!

  • Is there any place I can connect to the Internet when I’m on campus?
    Campus has wireless internet access available across campus.  All residence housing has wired internet access so be sure to bring an Ethernet cord if you are planning to plug in for non-wireless access.

  • Can special dietary needs and/or food allergies be accommodated in the dining halls?
    Yes. Many special dietary needs (for example, a person with diabetes, or those who prefer a vegetarian diet) can be easily accommodated by choosing appropriately from the wide variety of choices that will be available at each meal. If you have a team member with a medically required dietary need (such as a food allergy), please list the member's full name, contact telephone number and description of requirement when you submit your Lodging and Meals Reservation Form.

  • Can parents staying off campus eat in the same dining hall as the team?
    Of course! Individual guest meals can be purchased at the entrance of most dining centers on a cash-only basis.

  • What kind of meals can we expect in the dining center?
    You will be assigned to a specific dining center for your meals. All persons who have purchased Odyssey of the Mind meal packages will be issued a color-coded wristband allowing them into the appropriate dining center. Meals typically include a selection of entrees, hot and cold side dishes, salad bar, fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of desserts and beverages. ISU Dining may choose to substitute some meals as pick-up-and-go meals when appropriate (notices to be shared at arrival).

  • What time do the dining halls close?
    Breakfast will be available from 6:30 AM – 9:30 AM, lunch from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM and dinner from 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM. The dining centers close at 7:30 pm.  If arriving to campus for registration, please plan to arrive at registration by 6:30 pm, to ensure that you will have time to take advantage of dinner in the dining centers.

  • Our team is arriving after the dining halls close; however, the package we purchased includes dinner that day. Will dinner be provided?
    If you plan to arrive after the scheduled dinner hours, we encourage you to make plans to eat prior to arriving, or explore the many great dining options available to you in the community.

  • What is the penalty if we cancel our housing reservation?
    There is no penalty if you cancel your reservation by Friday, April 29, 2016. Cancellations after April 29, 2016 are subject to a 50% penalty. ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS AFTER MAY 6, 2016!

  • Can we make changes to our housing reservations if we reserve our space now?
    Absolutely! Please enter your information as quickly as possible. You can modify your housing reservations through Friday, April 29, 2016.

  • What types of rooms are used for housing?
    Your team will get the actual feeling of living like college students! Most teams will be housed in traditional style residence hall housing (the majority in double-occupancy rooms), with additional placements in triples, apartment style housing (with kitchenettes equipped with microwaves and stoves/no utensils), and off campus housing in nearby hotels. When completing the Lodging/Meals Reservation Form, please indicate only medically-required housing and dining needs that may affect placement.

  • Will a team member be housed with someone he/she does not know or with another adult?
    In order to accommodate all teams it will be necessary to assign one person to every available bed. This means that if a team has 9 persons assigned to rooms with a total of 10 beds, there may be a person from another team of the same gender and similar age assigned to the remaining space. An adult will not be assigned to a room with a team member unless requested on the housing form.

  • Will males and females be housed together in the same residence hall?
    Males and females may be assigned within the same residence hall room if requested. Males and females may be assigned within the same suite or apartment, but not within the same sleeping room unless requested.

  • Will I be provided linens?
    Yes! In an effort to make your stay easier, each person will be provided with a pillow, pillowcase, sheets, blanket,  and 2 towels, 1 washcloth and soap. Daily towel exchanges will be available at a centralized location. Feel free to bring your favorite pillow or blanket if you wish.

  • Are laundry facilities available?
    Yes, laundry facilities are available within the residence areas.

  • When will we know where we’re staying?
    When you get to campus and register for your housing you will receive your housing assignment.

  • Who will I room with?
    When you fill out your Lodging and Meals Reservation Form you can request your roommate. We will do our best to accommodate you.

  • Can anyone enter the residence halls?
    Only ISU staff and Odyssey of the Mind teams and coaches assigned to the residence will have keys to the residence areas. Participants are not allowed in Department of Residence areas that are not assigned to their group unless accompanied by a responsible host registered for that area. If you have guests you must all behave appropriately and respect the other teams. Unruly behavior should be reported to the resident assistant, ISU staff, or Odyssey Information promptly. A 24-hour Conference Desk will be located in each residence area.

  • What if I lose the key to my room?
    At check in, you will receive an envelope with all your keys. Use this as a handy resource to gather them all to turn in at check out. Keys must be returned at check-out; charges will be assessed for unreturned keys (up to $175).

  • If the residence halls are filled to capacity and my team is assigned to off-campus housing, how will we get to and from campus?
    If we exceed the capacity of the residence halls and your team is assigned to off-campus housing, you will be provided with regular shuttles to and from campus and to and from all World Finals event sites. All teams housed off campus by the university will be provided breakfast and dinner in their residence and lunches will be provided in a designated site on campus.

  • Our team would like to stay in a hotel. Will you help us with those arrangements?
    Teams not taking advantage of ISU's housing and meals package must make their own arrangements. For your convenience, Ames CVB compiled a list of nearby hotels.

  • Can teams staying off campus use the recreational facilities?
    Yes, the registration fee covers all of the events and recreation opportunities at World Finals. These include the Creativity Festival, NASA classroom and E-Theatre, and the International Festival. Team members must provide the Medical Release to participate in any recreational activities. Towels, racquets, basketballs, etc. may be checked out at the recreation centers. Campus recreation activities include the following: swimming, volleyball, ping pong, basketball, billiards, foosball, bowling and rock wall climbing. (The Climbing Wall Release must be submitted in order to participate in the rock wall climbing.)

  • Who can attend the competitions and ceremonies on campus and how much are the tickets?
    Everyone is welcome to attend, and the event is free to the public. For the Opening and Awards Ceremonies you need a ticket to enter. Participating teams will get their tickets when they sign in at the Odyssey of the Mind registration desk. Spectators who are not staying in Odyssey housing may pick up their complimentary tickets on the day of the event at the Odyssey Information Booth or at the Arena Box Office the evening of the event. [Only one ticket per person will be distributed. This helps prevent over-distribution of tickets by giving mass quantities to more than one person from the same group.]

  • Will I need a vehicle to get around campus?
    Campus will operate a free local shuttle service throughout the competition connecting the residence halls, central campus and the Iowa State Center. Since parking is very limited on campus, we highly encourage teams and spectators to utilize the shuttle whenever possible.

  • Do drivers need a parking permit?
    Teams living in residence housing on campus will be able to park in assigned areas adjacent to or within easy walking distance of their living area at no charge. Those not staying in the residence halls should park at the Iowa State Center south of the main campus. There is no charge for parking in this area and a free shuttle is provided to central campus. Additional parking adjacent to central campus is available at the Memorial Union parking ramp, although there is an hourly charge. Other university lots are assigned to university staff and are restricted areas.

  • Can I get a handicapped parking permit?
    Only state-issued handicapped parking permits will be honored in the unrestricted lots.

  • We would like to drive our RV to campus. May we park on campus?
    Individuals are not permitted to stay in RVs and Campers on campus.

  • We are chartering a bus to get to campus. Where do I tell the driver to park? 
    Your charter bus can park for free in the Iowa State Center lots south of Hilton Coliseum. Parking on central campus is limited and teams can ride the Odyssey of the Mind CyRide Routes, which will take you right where you want to go on campus.

  • When can we check on our props?  If we are driving our props to campus, where do we deliver them?
    After May 2, you can check ISU’s Distribution Services Web Site to see if your shipment has been received. The Web site address is http://www.fpm.iastate.edu/odyssey2016/ . When props arrive, cartons will be grouped according to problem and delivered to a storage area near the competition site. Any oversize carton (larger than 32” wide x 72” tall x 8’ long) received will be kept at the central receiving location and teams will be responsible for moving it to the competition site. DON’T FORGET YOUR TOOLS TO OPEN YOUR PROP CRATES AND TO REASSEMBLE YOUR PROPS! A shipping/receiving clerk will be available at an information booth during registration at Scheman. On Thursday and Friday, a prop information table will be set up in the Memorial Union. Should your shipment not be in the designated storage area, inquire with the shipping clerk at either of these sites. Oversized containers might not be accepted. Be sure to follow the dimension limits!   If you are driving your props to campus: you must deliver them directly to the prop storage room for the competition site. When you arrive on campus, register the team first -- this is where you will receive information on where to store your props. Prop storage locations are listed in the WF Program. Find additional prop information here.
  • How do we arrange to ship our props home?
    You will need to prearrange for PREPAID or C.O.D. shipment of any materials that you want shipped back to you. Return shipping labels must be picked up in advance at the Prop Information desk. All returns must be processed through the Prop Information desk. All return goods must have a return label attached. ISU will not be responsible for returns left without proper paperwork. For questions, contact Norm Hill at 515.294.8484. For additional information, click here.

  • When will the competition schedule be available?
    The tentative competition schedule will be available at Noon (EST) on Wednesday, May 4th until Friday, May 6th at 7 PM (EST).  The final competition schedule will be posted on Tuesday, May 10th at 12 Noon (EST)

  • How do I contact my child once the team arrives on campus?
    Most cell phones work on campus and in the residence halls. Team members should call home and give family members their residence hall name, room number, and the 24-Hour Conference Desk number for that area. In the event of an emergency at home, the number for family members to call is the ISU Police at 515-294-4428.  ISU Police will assist in locating the participant.

  • Is there a health center on campus in the event of an emergency?
    The Thielen Student Health Center is located on the corner of Union Drive and Sheldon (west edge of campus, directly west of Beyer Hall, across the street from State Gym). The phone number is 515-294-7973.  First aid and minor illness care is included in your fees.  If the incident requires further diagnostic work, associated fees will be billed to the participant of their insurance company.  First Nurse is a free health -information community service that allows you to speak with a specially trained registered nurse and receive health information and expert advice on medical problems. Their services can help you determine whether or not to see a physician or visit an emergency room. The First Nurse phone line is staffed by nurses with background in a variety of medical specialties, including general medicine, surgery, obstetrics, psychiatry and home health. Their staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached by phone at 515.239.6877 or toll free at 800.524.6877. The McFarland Urgent Care Clinic provides care for acute, non-emergent health problems or injuries that require immediate attention.  The Urgent Care Clinic is available during evenings and weekends by appointment only and is located in the Family Medicine East location at 1018 Duff Avenue.  To schedule your same -day appointment at the McFarland Urgent Care Clinic, please call 515.956.4044. Medical care is also available through the emergency room of Mary Greeley Medical Center located at 12th Street and Duff Avenue.
  • Will any of the events be broadcast online?
    Opening Ceremonies, the Graduation Ceremony and the Awards Ceremony will be broadcast as a live web cast during the ceremony as it occurs. There will be a link on the WF homepage made available 30 minutes before the event starts. You will be able to download the live feed at this time. Videos of the events will be posted shortly after as well.

  • How soon will I be able to view my child's picture online?
    The photo gallery will begin on Wednesday and be added to throughout the event and after World Finals. Not all photos will be posted in the gallery. Team photos are provided by Premier Portraits Studio and you can get more information while having your team picture taken.

  • Who is eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony?
    If you are missing your graduation ceremony because you are attending the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals, you are invited to participate in the graduation ceremony. Due to time and space restrictions, we cannot invite all students to participate. To participate in the graduation ceremony, please register for graduation here before April 29. Graduates are encouraged to wear caps and gowns for this ceremony. However, everyone is encouraged to attend the event in order to support their fellow participants and see Dr. Sam and OMER!

  • When will we see the team's scores on the website?
    The team's scores will be available on the website immediately after the Awards Ceremony ends on Saturday evening.

  • What is OMER'S News and where can I find it?
    OMER’s News is the daily Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Newsletter. The first edition is available when you arrive on campus and new editions are distributed each day starting Thursday morning. OMER’s News can be found in the residence halls, at locations throughout campus, and online once the event starts.


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