A Grand Welcome

UCI caps off Welcome Week with a record-shattering dodgeball game with 6,084 students.


UC Irvine successfully regained the title of holding the Guinness World Record for the largest dodgeball game on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the ARC fields.

With 6,084 participants, Anteaters took to the fields to check out what being part of a world record feels like.

After waiting anxiously in a line that nearly wrapped around the fields, participants rushed to claim a blue or yellow shirt that separated them into two teams. These free shirts sponsored by The Hill represented school spirit with the slogan, “Hit me with your best ZOT.”

Performers DJ Chitz and local bands kept participants on their feet as everyone anticipated throwing the 2,000 balls lined up across the field. In preparation for the game, members from the Student Life & Leadership tent painted faces blue or yellow to add some more Anteater pride to the field.

Once the whistle blew, the air was filled with an array of dodgeballs, and the world’s largest dodgeball game to date  begun.

“It felt really awesome as an incoming freshman to be a part of something so big and important for the school, and it was tons of fun,” said freshman Erin Marschke.

Anteaters demonstrated some strategy, as teams would gather as many balls as they could to throw them all at once.

“You couldn’t really tell what was going on because dodgeballs were flying everywhere,” said sophomore Stephanie Lu.

Around every 30 minutes, officials contracted the field so that competition remained intense. After multiple field contractions, the blue team came out victorious once again.

Before the world record was broken, mastermind and UCI dodgeball-tradition starter, Sam Shaw, inspired the players on how he was able to successfully break a world record.

The first inklings of the idea came to Shaw’s head when he thought, “it would be cool to break a Guinness World record” with the large number of students at UCI. Shaw was motivated to “create school spirit” and to “inspire students to be a proud Anteater.”

Shaw had originally aimed to have the first world record attempt in May 2010, but he was not able to gather sponsorships in time for that date.

Shaw eventually went to ASUCI to help fund his dream. On Sept. 21, 2010, UCI broke the record held by the University of Alberta with 1,745 student participants.

“To see something that you have taken from your mind, this intentional thought and dream, and transforming it into a tangible, realistic dream come true … it was just incredible,” Shaw said. “It was probably one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Since UCI took the record in 2010, the title had switched hands a few times. Canada’s University of Alberta was the most recent to hold the record, with 4,983 student and faculty participants since February of this year.

Needless to say, it was this years’ goal to reclaim the record and continue what has become UCI tradition.

“We know that we would not be world record-holders without our amazing student leaders on campus who took initiative to bring their residents, student organization members, SPOPers, co-workers and friends out to the field that day,” said Sandy Jones, Executive Director of ASUCI and Student Media.

The 2012 welcome week proved to be another successful week for school involvement and spirit, with the dodgeball game being just one event. In addition, the Anteater Involvement Fair, the “Alrich Park After–Dark” concert and athletics rally were additional activities ASUCI put on to start off the school year.