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IU senior evolves from behind the scenes to helping plan Little 500

Apr 8, 2019

Description of the following video:


[Video: Indiana University senior Joseph Chamness is interviewed on screen about his involvement with the Indiana University Foundation’s steering committee]

[Video: Joseph is speaking in front of Bill Armstrong Stadium][Joseph speaks: Hey, I’m Joey Chamness. I’m on the 2019 IU Student Foundation steering committee]

[Video: Joseph walks down the IU Student Foundation sidewalk outside of the Wilcox house][Joseph speaks: I was on One Day/One Hoosier last year where they were taking me around the track.]

[Video: Bikers and gunners on the in field at Bill Armstong Stadium][Joseph speaks: I was talking a little about gunning which was the application process for steering committee.]

[Video: Bikers riding around the track][Joseph speaks: But I officially made it and this year we’re getting ready for the 69th running of the Little 500 race.]


[Video: Joseph Chamness is interviewed on screen][Joseph speaks: Rather than putting in the legwork, I’m more in a supervisory role and behind me you can see our gunning class this year chipping the bikes for our women’s practice start today.]

[Video: Gunners chip the women biker’s bikes while the women bikers stand by][Joseph speaks: They’re kind of putting in the work over there]

[Video: Joseph looks at the bikers riding around the track][Joseph speaks: Us and the rest of steering committee we kind of just hang back and help out and we’re always there if they need any help with anything.]

[Video: Joseph Chamness is interviewed on screen][Joseph speaks: This year during Little 500, I’ll be driving a pace car and you’ll also see me at a
stage right over there standing up with the rest of steering committee for the
entire duration of the race and watching the events unfold,and hopefully it’ll
be a fun race for you!]


[Video: The Indiana University trident appears]

[Words appear: Indiana University]

[Words appear: Fulfilling the Promise]

[Words appear:]

Joseph Chamness steering committee

Indiana University Student Foundation members like Joseph Chamness must exhibit organization, time management, teamwork, dedication and leadership to advance from working behind the scenes as a “gunner” at the Little 500 to calling the shots as a member of the steering committee.

But one aspect ranks superior, as it serves as the foundation for steering committee.

Joseph Chamness looking at track
Joseph Chamness at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

“Leadership is the most important component, because as a steering committee member they will not only be helping put on the Little 500 race but also working with their assigned committee of general members throughout their year on steering committee,” Chamness said.

Gunners are responsible for doing the heavy lifting and setting up the track, while steering committee members oversee and direct them.

Although there were 24 gunners last year, only 19 received a spot on steering committee. Chamness, who was featured in the One Day/One Hoosier series last year as he prepared for Little 500 as a gunner, exhibited the qualities required for promotion and snagged a spot on the steering committee for this year’s race. He is also the philanthropy committee chair.

Joseph Chamness helping gunner
Joseph Chamness helps a gunner at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Chamness’ philanthropy committee is responsible for coordinating aspects of IU Day and awarding the Metz Grant, which offers up to $25,000 per semester to campus clubs in need of extra funds. He said his new position embodies what the Little 500 represents.

“Philanthropy is really at the center of what IUSF does,” Chamness said. “The race itself is for student scholarships, and it’s a natural way that just progressed outside of student scholarships.”

Chamness had an idea of what to expect from steering committee, because his brother served on it his senior year. But what surprised Chamness most was creating lasting friendships within such a short time frame.

Joseph Chamness laughing with IUSF member
Joseph Chamness and IUSF member at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

“Steering committee gives you another friend group that you get really close with because you spend so much time with them,” he said. “It’s crazy that it’s only for a year because it feels much longer.”

Chamness said the steering committee keeps the meaning and tradition behind the Little 500 alive.

“My favorite part is the friendships I’ve made and getting to contribute to the Little 500 race,” he said. “It means a lot to the bikers who train really hard all year, and it’s up to us to make sure everything goes well and that it’s a fun and fair race for the students at IU and the riders, especially.”

The women’s Little 500 race will take place April 13, followed by the men’s race April 14. Visit the IU Student Foundation’s Little 500 website to purchase your tickets before race day.

Bill Armstrong Stadium
Track times at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

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