Students participate in Reggie’s Sleepout

Sophomore Erik Francois, Iowa State engineer Ryan Francois, and fellow engineer evaluate Buster.

Anna Larson, Staff Writer

The Brickheads, a group of  sophomores and Iowa state engineers teamed up to build a massive cardboard structure during the 2013 Reggie’s Sleepout. Reggie’s Sleepout is an annual fundraiser held at Drake Stadium to raise money to end homelessness. The Brickheads built a 29-foot tall Lego-man out of cardboard and called him Buster. “We started planning a couple weeks before the event so we didn’t give ourselves that much time to build it,” Iowa State engineer Ryan Francois said, “We began building Buster eight days before the event and built it in (sophomore) Alec Wray’s warehouse.”

“It was actually pretty comfortable sleeping in it because we had a lot of blankets and pillows, and the cardboard was thick so I didn’t feel like I was going to fall,” sophomore Mitch Marek said. Buster was large enough to fit the group of 22 students inside of his body. “In the legs (of Buster) we built four levels of bunk beds and had windows inside of his torso, so all together there were five levels for sleeping,” Francois said.

To be able to build and move Buster the Brickheads moved him from the warehouse to Drake Stadium in pieces. “We had to drive at 15 mph from Granger to Drake to make sure nothing broke because everything was so fragile,” sophomore Karl Rasmussen said. “The whole process took about three hours but was fairly efficient.”

To keep this structure stable and safe with what limited supplies were allowed meant great quantities of these specific supplies. “We used over 50 rolls of duct tape to build Buster,” Francois said. “We used carpet tubes for the framework and had cardboard from General Mills that we used for the sides.”

“It wasn’t hard building it, it just took a lot of time,” Marek said. But hard work does pay off. “Without a doubt it was the most eye-catching structure on the field,” Marek said.

“If I had to estimate I would say Buster weighed close to a ton all together,” Francois said. Standing at 29-feet tall Buster may have broken a world record. “With The ‘Guiness Book of World Records’ you have to start applying a couple weeks earlier (which we did not) so we might’ve broken the world’s tallest cardboard structure,” Francois said.

Buster raised over $7,000 dollars for Reggie’s Sleepout making it the second highest contribution to event this year. Johnston alum, Ryan Francois, participated in Reggie’s Sleepout as a senior and raised over $14,000 with his group’s 500-square foot model of the Capitol building.