When folks ask me how I got in to juggling I say I learned how when I was a kid but got really into it at MIT. I called it my stress relief, and there was a lot of stress. My freshman year I was encouraged by some of the folks in the MIT juggling club (it’s the oldest continually operating drop-in juggling club in the world) to start a student club since it could have access to rooms, money, official status, etc.
With the help of Maggie Avener, John Gardner, Ben Lu and others we started Course 16.5: Aero-Disastro The MIT Student Juggling Club. All the majors or “courses” at MIT are number. Course 16 is Aero-Astro so we thought course 16.5 could use Aero. Later folks asked me what Course 17 was (Political Science) and asked if that’s where the disaster part came from. Sadly, no, but I certainly suppose it could have).
In the 3.5 years we had the club I estimate we got about $10,000 worth of funding for juggling from MIT for equipment and events. We put on several shows including one with the then Guinness World Record holding Russian teenage sibling prodigies: Olga and Vova Galchenko. They held the passing records for 9, 10 and 11 club passing. They went on to study computer engineering and computer science in college (go STEM and juggling!)
We also put on a show with Peter Panic (local juggling celebrity and common act at Faneuil hall) Zach Warren a brilliant Harvard Divinity student at the time and founder of an Afghan circus (and several time holder of the fastest juggling marathon in the world) and another show with Michael Moschen (funny story about thinking I had hired Michael Menes, collegiate entertainer of the year, until just before the show).
Over 10 years later the club still appears to be going strong.
Promoting STEM education through my story and juggling