What do you get when 10,000 UCLA students flood the intramural field to shape themselves into a giant human number 100?
UCLA’s first Guinness World Record.
At least, that’s the goal the UCLA Office of Residential Life has set to accomplish on Wednesday, Sept. 26 (the day before classes begin), as part of True Bruin Welcome.
“We want to provide an amazing bonding experience for our students before they even start classes,” said Josh O’Connor, assistant director of leadership and involvement for residential life.
The current record for the largest human number occurred May 7, 2016 when 7,511 people in Orel, Russia, formed the number 450, in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Orel region.
O’Connor said the idea came up in September 2017 during a meeting with students to brainstorm ideas for ways to improve True Bruin Welcome. O’Connor asked them: If they could bring anything to campus, what would it be? He instructed to them to answer boldly.
One of the suggestions was to try to set a Guinness World Record, which was met with excitement but some caution about how they’d pull it off logistically, O’Connor said.
“Nevertheless, they were all very excited to see how it would play out,” he said. So they decided it was worth trying. “We want to let our students know that they can accomplish anything, even something that may seem impossible — like making it into the record books before they even started their first class.”
To help clinch the record, which needs to be documented by a Guinness representative, all undergraduates are invited to participate. Also, reminders will be provided on the True Bruin Welcome website and during all-hall meetings in the residence halls.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26 undergraduates will file into Drake Stadium. To help ensure a precise count, which is needed to officially set the record, students must show their Bruin Cards. Once inside, each student will pick up a blue poncho and a bottle of water.
Then they’ll walk onto the field and enter the shape of the 100, which will be indicated using small markers on the field, O’Connor said.
Between 10 and 10:05 a.m., volunteers from Residential Life will make sure everyone is wearing the ponchos and in the 100. Once everyone is lined up they are not allowed to move.
“At 10:05 the timer starts and we will hold for five minutes to break the record,” O’Connor said.
Once it’s deemed official by the on-site judge from Guinness, she will present an award to Monroe Gorden Jr., UCLA vice chancellor, student affairs.
“This is really about building community and creating experiences for our students — something they can remember forever,” O’Connor said.