By Tristan Lim
Tuesday afternoon in the Anteater Recreation Center fields, UC Irvine students broke the Guinness World Record for largest pillow fight.
The event attracted 4,200 participants, according to Annie Nguyen, Guinness World Record adjudicator.
“UC Irvine has had a history of attempting world records. We’re excited every single year to see the passion of the UCI community,” Nguyen said.
UCI seized the title for world’s largest pillow fight from Dada Life. The Swedish DJ duo previously held the record for having 3,813 concertgoers participate in a pillow fight during their 2013 concert in Chicago, Illinois.
“This was a feasible record for us to break. It was the one that seemed cool that people would be excited to do,” ASUCI Vice President of Student Services Joshua Nguyen said. “The past few years we’ve had more than that so we had faith we could break it.”
Breaking world records has not only become an annual event but also a part of student culture.
“I think it sets the tone for a year where school pride, unity, and teamwork are all ingrained early in the school year,” interim director of student government Mark Deppe said.
The notion of breaking a world record began in 2010 with UCI’s first attempt at the largest dodgeball game. The two following years UCI successfully reclaimed its title from the University of Alberta. Last year, UCI broke the world record for largest water pistol fight.
“We love to see that, we love to see the school pride, and it’s something UCI is continually trying to build,” Deppe said.
Clubs and organizations such as the Filipino Pre-Health Undergraduate Student Organization and the Asian Pacific Student Association established booths around the perimeter of the field before students appeared. Most of the booths sold beverages and food to the participants.
The event officially began at 11 a.m. but an extremely lengthy line of people arrived hours before the listed start time.
All students entering the perimeter of the field were required to sign a waiver, which doubled as a counting mechanism for the number of participants.
Total students numbered 4,447. However, this number was subject to subtraction due to students leaving before the fight started. Event staff stood at the exit, taking tallies of students exiting.
Participants received t-shirts and pillows to signify their involvement. The 4,200 pillows and 5,000 shirts were gone by noon.
Students dispersed throughout the field, many attracted to the entertainment stage. UCI dance crews such as Chinese Association Dance Crew and INSA performed during the lead-up to the fight.
Due to the heat of the afternoon, student impatience was high and resulted in many retreating to hydration centers for water or behind booths for shade.
Participants needed to fight with their pillows for an entire minute in order to break the world record, but they could hardly restrain the excitement of bashing their friends and those around them with a pillow. Following the countdown to initiate the fight, students brandished their cottony pillows at their friends.
Most students remained within their area or group of friends, hitting anyone that came within reach. Several participants also chased others throughout the crowd, but were told to refrain from running.
The fight occurred at 1 p.m. and concluded when Student Services Vice President Joshua Nguyen held and exhibited the Guinness World Record certificate to the students.
“It was kind of scary because people were hitting and bumping into everyone,” first-year chemical engineering student Sabeena Sebastian said. “I was a little scared that I might get knocked down or hurt but overall it was really fun.”