‘We’ll see how we roll’ : A short guide to Swansea University Soapbox Society

by Carys Svendsen

By now you’ve probably seen a cart being wheeled around campus and at least 2 people running behind it while somebody inside the cart holds a maniacal grin on their face. Fear not; we know what we’re doing, we promise. We are the Swansea University Soapbox Society and don’t worry, we don’t bite! We do, however, race and go downhill a lot.

You might be wondering what a soapbox has to do with the cart you’ve seen. Well, back when soapbox racing began in 1934, racers would use soapboxes as an integral part of their design and the term ‘soapbox racing’ was born. Although people have been pushing things downhill since long before 1934 (be it cheese wheels, balls or siblings), it’s the soapbox race that inspired our President, Laurence Brown, to build a cart for his A level and his enthusiasm leaked into university. As a result, that cart you saw was built with his own hands and repairs were done by last year’s members, including parts being initially placed the wrong way round!

Of course, our committee doesn’t just consist of a President. We also have a Secretary, Luke Stanley, a Treasurer, Lizzie Findley, a Media Manager, Carys Svendsen – that’s me – as well as our general organiser, Ben Larwood. Now here’s the most interesting part about our committee: only three of us are engineers. Luke is a physics student and I am a media student. That being said, both of us helped reassemble the cart and know how the cart works, even though there were initial hiccups of putting spacers on the wrong way round which resulted in a lot of laughter. If you’re interested in joining the society by the end of this article and you’re saying to yourself “but I’m not an engineer!” then don’t worry; we just ask a lot of questions during repairs and learn as we go along!

So, what are we doing this year and why should you come and check us out? Well, for starters, we’re racing the cart at multiple events around the country. We’re also planning to build a second cart and race both against each other in an almost Grand Tour style (Jeremy Clarkson impressions optional) and would love for you to help us achieve this!

If you fancy a go at our Society, check out our Facebook page or follow us on twitter @SwanseaSoapbox


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