Ask an Alum: Cynthia Claude


Cynthia Claude

Spirit Buggy 1989 ­- 2003

Hill One Pusher B Team, Co­-Chair

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Why did you join buggy?

Honestly, because that's what you did. I was recruited along with most of my year during our summer at CMAP. Buggy seemed like a major thing and we all wanted to be a part of something that was Black (African ­American to be politically correct :) ). At that time, there were not many of us on campus and it was comforting to have an organization where we could be ourselves. I was all about Buggy, NSBE and Spirit. I supported any and all things we were doing. Through all these groups, we all became a family and Buggy was a test to that family. Why else would we wake up before the dawn to practice or stay up late and run stairs in Baker Hall?! We grumbled a lot but it was Pride that kept us doing our best to make sure we represented at Buggy Sweepstakes. We raced from the heart.

Favorite (web-appropriate) buggy memory?

Hands down it would be my junior year, Buggy Sweepstakes 1992! I mean, SWEEPS for Men's and Women's A teams with the Record times for that year!! C'mon... I still get excited! And might I mention, Womens B made top 6 with all the other Women A teams (had to plug my team). We worked hard that year and it felt great to be on top.

That year we took seriously, no one had to tell us to, it just was what we were about. We ran hills, we practiced transitions, counted windows, we trained our flags, built Shaka Zulu (which I spent hours sanding); no one was left out, every person who committed to Spirit Buggy was invested and committed to our goals. Oh, and can I mention, the bomb a$$ (or should I say lit) after party in Spirit House!!!

What's your buggy "Claim to Fame"?

Hmmm, I don't think I have a claim to fame. I did my best to keep the pushers happy and focused, thus the Co­Chair with the honorable Chad Darby (Junior and Senior year I think).

Favorite Buggy?

Shaka Zulu ­ amazing buggy!

Greatest lesson(s) you learned from Spirit Buggy?

I learned I am part of an amazing force of individuals who came together because we shared a physical trait, flourished through the love of competition, and now share a unique bond that will always be meaningful.

What was your biggest disappointment?

Not being more in contact with the current years of Spirit Buggy. [Editors’ note: We’re trying out a new system to get alumni more involved with the current team. To check it out, click here.]

What was your greatest victory/victories?

Being a part of a team that was (is) family. Spirit Buggy was more than just a buggy competition. It was an opportunity to openly let the campus know that we are here, on campus and they should recognize. Being the minority in such a glaring way was not easy for most of us. There were the side remarks, the shady treatment, the fact that half or most of our class wouldn't make it the whole four years. We continuously had to compete and will always need to compete in some way all our lives. But at that time, when Sweepstakes morning came, it was on. You didn't see us fooling around, you didn't see us dancing and wasting our energy, you didn't see us visiting other teams...We were focused, we were driven, we were on our mission. We didn't always win, but we gave 200%. We left everything we had out there on those hills. I felt proud to be Spirit. Spirit was me, in all my young Black self, representing excellence, determination, and pride.

If you could ask the current team one thing, what would it be?

What do you need from alumni, outside of monetary funds? [Editors’ note: we got an answer for you!]

“Sweepstakes involvement! Having a seat at the table for judging and other parts of Raceday would be nice. We also only have a few active alumni [but] advice is better from varied sources in my opinion. [This includes] suggestions on where to procure materials, what materials might be better for us (more cost efficient, stronger, etc) [and] advice for when we have questions about buggy and past practice. “ - Matt (Current chairman)

“Additionally, stories as well. I think the oral history they offer is something that we don't have a strong grasp on.” - Chris (Current chairman)

[Editors’ note: We’re trying out a new system to get alumni more involved with the current team. To check it out, click here.]

Thanks, Cynthia!

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