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News in Brief

UC Irvine Members Participate in a ‘Thriller’ Effort

UC Irvine alumnus Tom Nguyen and student Jeremy Heckman spearheaded the Irvine division of an international effort to set the Guinness World Record for the largest dance to Michael Jackson’s 1982 pop smash, ‘Thriller.’ ‘Thrill the World’ was created by Ines Markeljevic, a Toronto, Canada native, who earned the Guinness World Record for ‘Largest Thriller Dance’ last year.
This time, the goal was for 200,000 people worldwide to simultaneously dance to ‘Thriller’ on Saturday, Oct. 27. Dancers in 80 cities, 15 countries and five continents signed up to participate. At 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, they simultaneously writhed, lunged, grunted and showed their ‘claws.’
Nguyen and Heckman had heard about the event only two weeks earlier. They hurried to arrange the rehearsals and the main show, as well as learn the moves through an easy instructional video by Markeljevic. Four nighttime rehearsals were held in the upstairs studio of the Atomic Ballroom, where 20 to 30 people learned and rehearsed their zombie parts in the dance.
The ‘Thrill the World’ OC chapter attracted 40 people, ranging from teens to 50-year-olds. All came in zombie costumes, and one woman even performed with her four-and-a-half-month-old child strapped to her waist.
The event also made sure to remember those affected by the devastation nearby, as organizers collected donations for the American Red Cross to aid recent wildfire victims. One victim, Kim Deans from Running Springs, found relief in the dance. ‘It’s a break,’ the 26-year-old evacuee told the OC Register. ‘A physical and mental break.’
Results of the worldwide Thriller dance will be posted on

Emergency ‘zotAlert’ Proves Effective With Fires

When the fires began a week ago, students used ‘zotAlert,’ an emergency alert system to inquire if school would be held on Monday.
Administrators were pleased to find that the system worked and contacted the students via text messaging. The purpose of the emergency system is to quickly notify the campus community of a natural disaster, crisis response or need to secure the campus.
Students and faculty are encouraged to sign up for zotAlert messages by visiting Student Access and PhUpdate respectively, logging in and updating their profile with a cell phone number.