Students attempt to break Guinness World Record

The organizers failed to break the record for most hugs in one place at one time.

As the sun set and the streets filled with Roots ‘N’ Blues music, crowds of students, residents and alumni gathered in Speakers Circle with aspirations of breaking a strange, but promising, world record — the most hugs in one place in less than one minute.

In preparation for the plans to unravel, the creator of the event, junior Derek Thomas, hyped the crowd. He asked questions about this world record, and he filmed the reactions of the participants as more people began to crowd with anticipation.

“Breaking the record would definitely be cool,” freshman and organizer Naif Bartlett said. “That is the number one goal now that we have all these people.”

British pub goers in the United Kingdom set the record of 180 people hugging in one place, at one time, earlier this year. The prospect of breaking records brought many members of the MU community together with one common interest -— possibly breaking a world record and having recognition from the Guinness World Records.

“It’s something that I always wanted to do before I die, breaking a world record,” freshman and participant Karen Rodriguez said.

Despite this event having doubts of legitimacy and whether a Guinness representative needed to witness it, many continued to gather at Speakers Circle as more signatures were collected for proof to send to Guinness’s headquarters.

“It's frustrating, but I figured people will come anyway to try and see if this will work to get their name down,” Bartlett said. “I have heard both sides that you do need a rep, and I heard that you don't.”

Despite this, people still gathered in Speakers Circle. However, there were not enough people to break the record as only 81 of the 463 people who RSVP’d to the Facebook event showed up.

When Thomas announced to the crowd that he and his co-organizers were going to plan this again for another time, they began to strategize on how to make this event bigger so they could actually break the record.

“I will make sure to advertise to Mizzou students and not out-of-state students,” Thomas said. “They are reliable, they can come to campus faster and it's not that much of a wait time for them to come. I probably won't do it on the weekend.”

Along with local MU support, the team plans to expand their forms of communication beyond Facebook and make this event an even bigger deal in the future.

“Plan ahead, put signs up and perhaps put a commercial on channel 23,” Bartlett said. “I don't think we have any commercial advertisements out there but we probably should have. I say we would have contacted Guinness, put something official out there so there are no doubts.”

A new plan to hype the event, helping the community and raising money for a cause are all strategies to use for the gathering next time. This is how the British pub goers broke the event the first time, helping to raise money for the Southend SOS Bus.

“I think that would be a great idea to get a better community support,” co-organizer Valerie Guglielmi said. “Right now we are doing it for our Drawing Bored (sketch comedy show on MUTV/Channel 23) but that would definitely be something that we would be probably willing to do, helping out any at MU or in another organization.”

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