Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about staying on campus, competition, dining at World Finals, and more? This page offers tons of information to guide you during your experience at World Finals. If you can’t find the answer you need, email!

World Finals Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the best resource for information about Odyssey of the Mind World Finals for participating teams?

The World Finals packet has information about the University, local attractions, housing, prop shipping and more. Download the entire thing in the Know Before You Go Section. Most of the information on this page is from there.
I’ve heard a lot about pin trading, what is it?

Odyssey of the Mind Associations offer team members pins to trade while at World Finals. Pin trading is a great way to meet new friends from all over the world and to create a collection to help you remember your World Finals experience the rest of your life.
Can parents, siblings and others stay in housing with the team members and coaches?

Yes! Parents are encouraged to stay with teams in the dorms. While filling out your Team Housing Registration simply add anyone wishing to stay in the dorms in the allotted space. The price is the same.
What is the cost to stay on campus?

Monday arrival package will be $785 per person.
Tuesday arrival package will be $730 per person. This includes room, meals, shuttles around campus, access to all events and the registration fee. If choosing to stay off campus, the Team fee is $3,750 if registering within two weeks of your tournament. This fee includes everything mentioned above other than room and meals. If registering after two weeks from your competition the registration fee is $4,250.
Can we select different housing packages?

Yes, your team is allowed to mix housing packages.
Is there a discount for young children?

Yes! Children 2 and under do not need to be included on your housing form. Beds are lofted and not safe for a 2-year old. Pack-n-Play supplied by the parent or guardian is recommended.
How long can we stay on campus?

You can select from two housing and meals packages—arriving on Monday or Tuesday, with both checking out Saturday by noon.
Do we have to pay a registration fee? And how much does it cost?

If your team selects housing packages equal to the number of team members attending World Finals plus one coach (no matter who uses the packages, i.e. siblings, parents, other supporters), the fee is already included in the cost. If staying off-campus, the fee is $3,750 if the team's registration is submitted within two weeks of your associations’ competition date and $4,250 if it is submitted after that date.
What if part of the team wishes to stay off campus and part on campus? How much is the registration fee per person?
The registration fee is per team, not per person. However, as long as the number of housing packages purchased equals the number of team members in attendance plus one coach, there is no further cost as the registration fee is included in the housing packages. If there is less than that number purchased, the registration fee is not considered paid and the team will have to pay the fee or purchase the number of housing packages needed. Anyone can use those packages, i.e. parents, siblings, supporters. For example, if there are 7 team members, the housing packages purchased should equal 8; if the number of team members is 5, the housing packages purchased should be 6 (all team members + 1 coach).
What is the payment deadline?

All payments must be made by April 23.
How do we get to campus from the airport? Do you provide a shuttle?

Discover Ames is offering round trip shuttle service for Odyssey of the Mind teams from the Des Moines International Airport (DSM) ONLY. DSM is a 45- minute drive from Ames. The arrival shuttle will run between the airport and OM Registration site at Sukup End Zone Club at Jack Trice Stadium. For more information or to make your shuttle reservation, visit
You can download a flier of full information found in the "Know Before You Go" section entitled Getting To Campus.
Where is team registration?

All coaches must register their teams at Iowa State University's Sukup End Zone Club (SEZ Club). SEZ Club is located on the south side of Jack Trice Stadium and is near the intersection of University Blvd and SE 16th St., Ames, IA. Maps and written directions will be included in the Arrival tab of the "During World Finals"section for your reference.
What are the hours for Team Registration?

Registration will be open:
Monday, May 20 – 2:00 pm – Midnight Tuesday, May 21 – 12:00 pm – Midnight Wednesday, May 22 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm *

*Wednesday registration will take place in the Room 2630 at the Memorial Union located on the campus of Iowa State University.
Are the dorms air-conditioned?

Some residence halls have air-conditioning; however, we cannot guarantee air-conditioned lodging in advance. Check the weather forecast to make sure you pack the right clothes!
Is there any place I can connect to the Internet when I’m on campus?

Campus has wireless internet access available to you across campus. All of residence housing has plug-in access to the Internet using the data jack, so be sure to bring an Ethernet cord if you are planning to plug in for non-wireless access. ISU has a service that allows campus visitors access to the Internet during their event to browse the web and check email.

1. On your WiFi Settings select IA-State - Guest

2. Read the terms and select “Accept.”

Questions regarding registration for guest access may be directed to the IT Services Solution Center at 515.294.4000.
Can special dietary needs and/or food allergies be accommodated at the dining halls?

Yes. Most of our dining centers are able to accommodate individuals with these allergens: dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy. When Registering, if anyone in your group has dietary allergies, please list the member’s full name, contact telephone number, email address and list the allergens (see above list) for the medically-required dietary needs on the lodging & meals reservation. If you are requesting Halal or Kosher diets, please complete the form using the same process as above. Those who are unable to self-manage their dietary allergies, such as celiac disease, will be assigned to a specific dining area. Many other dietary needs or preferences (such as for those who have diabetes; are vegetarians, etc.) can be accommodated simply by choosing appropriately from the wide variety of choices that will be available at each meal. These types of needs should not be listed on the lodging and meals reservation.
Can parents staying off campus eat in the same dining hall as the team?

Of course! Individual guest meals can be purchased at the entrance of the dining centers with credit only. *Guest meals are an option at dining centers, but guests not on a meal plan may need to wait until seating availability is open due to anticipated number of Odyssey of the Mind attendees on a meal plan. Guests that are not on a meal plan are highly encouraged to eat at an off campus location and there are several restaurants in the campus town area.
What kind of meals can we expect in the dining center?

You will be assigned to a specific dining center for your meals. All persons who have purchased Odyssey of the Mind housing or meal packages will be issued a color-coded wristband allowing them into the appropriate dining center. Meals typically include a selection of entrees, hot and cold side dishes, salad bar, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a variety of deserts and beverages. University Dining may choose to substitute some meals as pick-up-and-go meals when appropriate (notices to be shared at arrival).
What time are the dining halls open? What is the cost for meals for those not staying on campus?

Guest Meal Costs*
Breakfast: $10.25
Lunch/Dinner: $13.00

Hours are:
Breakfast - 6:30am to 9:30am
Lunch - 10:30am to 1:30pm
Dinner - 4pm to 7pm
Our team is arriving after the dining halls close; however, the package we purchased includes dinner that day. Will dinner be provided?

If you plan to arrive after the scheduled dinner hours, we encourage you to make plans to eat prior to arriving or explore the many great dining options available to you in the community.
What is the penalty if we cancel our housing reservation?

There is no penalty if you cancel your reservation by April 23. Cancellations by April 26 are subject to a 50% penalty. Unfortunately no refunds can be given after April 26 as your room has been booked.
Can we make changes to our housing reservations if we reserve our space now?

Absolutely! Please enter your information as quickly as possible. You can modify your housing reservations through April 23.
What types of rooms are used for housing?

Your team will get the actual experience of living like college students! Teams will be housed in traditional style residence hall housing (the majority in double-occupancy rooms), with additional placements in triples, if available. When completing your Lodging/Meals Reservation, please indicate only medically-required housing and dining needs that may affect placement.
Will a team member be housed with someone he/she does not know or with another adult?

In order to accommodate all teams it will be necessary to assign one person to every available bed. This means that if a team has 9 persons assigned to rooms with a total of 10 beds, there may be a person from another team of the same gender and similar age assigned to the remaining space. An adult will not be assigned to a room with a team member unless requested on the housing form.
Will males and females be housed together in the same residence hall?

Males and females may be assigned within the same residence hall room if requested. Males and females may be assigned within the same suite or apartment, but not within the same sleeping room unless requested.
Will I be provided linens?

Yes! To make your stay easier, each person will be provided with a pillow, pillowcase, sheets, blanket, 2 towels, 1 washcloth & soap. Daily towel exchanges will be available at a centralized location.
Are laundry facilities available?

Yes, laundry facilities will be available within the residence area; cost of laundry and detergent is the person’s responsibility
When will we know where we’re staying?

When you get to campus and register for your housing you will receive your housing assignment.
Who will I room with?

When you fill out your Lodging and Meals Reservation you can request your roommate. We will do our best to accommodate you.
What if I lose the key card to my room?

Be sure to keep track of your keys!
At check in, you will receive an envelope with all your keys, use this as a handy resource to gather them all to turn in at check out. Keys must be returned at check-out; charges will be assessed for unreturned keys (up to $150). If lost keys are found, turn them in to one of the 24- hour residence hall desks or to the Odyssey information desk. You can also check here if looking for a lost key.
Are there refrigerators in the residence halls?

A 24-Hour Conference Desk will be located in each residence area. Guests who have questions about housing or dining should feel free to call or stop by their Conference Desk. The 24-Hour Desks can store medications requiring refrigeration (refrigerators are not supplied in all residence rooms). Bring medications in small, well-labeled containers.
Can anyone enter the residence halls?

Only university staff and Odyssey of the Mind teams and coaches assigned to the residence will have keys to the residence areas. Participants are not allowed in Department of Residence areas that are not assigned to their group unless accompanied by a responsible host registered for that area. If you have guests you must behave appropriately and respect the other teams. Unruly behavior should be reported to the resident assistant, University staff, or Odyssey Information promptly. A 24-hour Conference Desk will be located in each residence area.
Our team would like to stay in a hotel. Will you help us with those arrangements?

The Convention and Visitors Bureau can assist you with a list of nearby hotels
What if my team arrives after registration hours?

If you plan on arriving after midnight on Monday or Tuesday, please go directly to the Maple Willow Larch (MWL) Residence Hall Commons area to the 24-Hour Desk. Maple Willow Larch Residence Halls is located on the corner of Lincoln Way and Beech Avenue.
At the 24-Hour MWL desk, the ISU Department of Residence will assist you with getting your guest room keys and late-night arrival instructions. Late night arrivals will ONLY get room keys; the team coach will need to complete the Odyssey Registration the following day at the OM Registration desk.
Can teams staying off campus use the recreational facilities?

Yes, the registration fee covers all of the events and recreation opportunities at World Finals. Team members and adults staying on campus are permitted to participate in recreational activities at listed University facilities. Team members must provide the medical release form.
Who can attend the competitions and ceremonies on campus and how much are the tickets?

Everyone is welcome to attend and the event is free to the public. For the Opening and Awards Ceremonies you do need a ticket to enter. Participating teams will get their tickets when they sign in at the Odyssey of the Mind registration desk. Spectators who are not staying in Odyssey housing may pick up their complimentary tickets on the day of the event at the Odyssey Information Booth or at the Arena Box Office the evening of the event. [Only one ticket per person will be distributed. This helps prevent over-distribution of tickets by giving mass quantities to more than one person from the same group.] You must sit in the seat designated on the ticket.
Will I need a vehicle to get around campus?

CyRide, the city’s public transit system, will operate a free bus service throughout the competition connecting the residence areas, central campus, and the Iowa State Center. CyRide also will offer free rides throughout Ames for Odyssey of the Mind participants and coaches wearing their wristbands.
Do drivers need a parking permit?

Those not staying in residence housing on campus should park at the Iowa State Center. There is no charge for parking in this area. The shuttle transfer station is located on the West side of C.Y. Stephens Auditorium near Lot F. The free shuttle is provided to central campus. Additional parking adjacent to central campus is available at the Memorial Union parking ramp with an hourly charge. Normal restrictions apply to fire lanes, spaces marked “handicapped parking,” and spaces reserved for service vehicles. Other university lots are assigned to university staff.
Please take care to avoid restricted areas.
There is no parking in Iowa State Staff RED Reserved Parking. Those parked in a RED Iowa State staff reserved stalls are subject to being towed. If parked by UDN (Martin/Eaton/Helser/Friley) in Parking Lot 1 please move your car to the overflow parking lot at Frederiksen Court area (North Campus) and take the cardinal CyRide route back to central campus.
Can I get a handicapped parking permit?

No special permit is needed. Simply use your state-issued tag and park in designated areas.
We would like to drive our RV to campus. May we park on campus?

Individuals are not permitted to stay in RVs and Campers on campus.
We are chartering a bus to get to campus. Where do I tell the driver to park?

If your team is chartering a coach to bring you to Ames, please make the following arrangements with your driver. When on campus, the charter should park in the general lots at the Iowa State Center. At registration, pick up information on permitted pick up/drop off locations on campus. Parking is not allowed for buses on central campus, and waiting times are limited. Be sure to exchange cell phone numbers with your driver in case either your driver or the team need to make arrangements for an alternate meeting place.
When can we check on our props? If we are driving our props to campus, where do we deliver them?

Props will be grouped according to problem and division and delivered to the designated prop storage area near each competition site by Tuesday, May 21. For props that travel with you, participants must load and unload their own props. Designated loading/unloading zone information will be available at team check in. Prop storage hours are: Tuesday, May 21: 8:00 am- 10:00 pm
Wednesday, May 22: 6:30 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday, May 23: 6:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday, May 24: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm (or 30 minutes following last competition, whichever is later.) All remaining props to be packed for shipping or removed by 4:00 pm.
How do we arrange to ship our props home?

Teams who wish to ship materials home must register such request with the ISU Prop Information booth for proper guidance. All teams are responsible to pre- arrange for PREPAID OR C.O.D shipment of any materials requiring return.
When will the competition schedule be available?

The tentative schedule will be posted on April 30, and taken down on May 3 for any revisions. The final schedule will be posted on May 7.
How do I contact my child once the team arrives on campus?

Most cell phones work on campus and in the residence halls. Prior to leaving home, be sure to leave a list of all team members and chaperones and any cell phone numbers with family members. Distribute a list of cell phone numbers to all your team members. Team members should call home and give family members their residence hall name and room number. In the event of an emergency at home, family members should call ISU Police at 515.294.4428. Please remember this is for emergency use only.
Is there a health center on campus in the event of an emergency?

Yes, there is an extensive list of Health Services and a required medical release form in the WF packet found in the Know Before You Go section.
Will any of the events be broadcast online?

Opening Ceremonies, the Graduation Ceremony and the Awards Ceremony will be broadcast as a live webcast during the event. Stay tuned to the World Finals website and our social media for updates and broadcasts. The footage will also be posted shortly after the ceremony on the World Finals media page.
What if I have questions about Iowa State University or Ames?

Check out a special page for OM participants by Discover Ames
Who is eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony?

High School and College students missing their graduations because they are attending the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals are invited to participate in the graduation ceremony. Due to time and space restrictions, we cannot invite all students to participate. To participate in the graduation ceremony, please sign up before April 23. Graduates are encouraged to wear caps and gowns for this ceremony. However, everyone is encouraged to attend the event in order to support their fellow participants and see Dr. Sam and OMER!
When will we see the team's scores on the website?

The team's scores will be available on the immediately after the Awards Ceremony ends.
What is OMER'S News and where can I find it?

OMER’s News is the daily Odyssey of the Mind World Finals Newsletter. The first edition is available when you arrive on campus and new editions are digital only and will be posted on our app and website each day of the event.