Although they didn’t manage to pop the world record, 200 participants met in the Wren Courtyard to blow bubble gum April 19. Students gathered in an attempt to break the world record for most people blowing bubble gum bubbles at the same time. In order to break the record, over 500 participants were needed.
Students and community members, including a high school tour group visiting from Virginia Beach, assembled in the Courtyard at 3 p.m. and attempted the record an hour later.
“It’s important to engage the rest of campus,” Alyssa Zhu ’14 said. “You are bringing together people from different areas of campus and the Williamsburg community. It’s something that anyone can get excited about, like how cool would it be to get published in the Guinness Book of World Records?”
Zhu and a team of five other students including Mel Alim ’14, Girolima Bui ’13, Michelle Gillespie ’13, Ryan Fowler ’14 and Allison Prell ’15 organized and executed the event. The group created a marketing campaign and planned the event with the specific requirements necessary to attempt a world record provided by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Once the group selected a record to attempt, they submitted a license to attempt the record to the Guinness Book of World Records. Their request was accepted at the end of March, and the team then began to plan for the event.
“Ryan referenced the Ke$ha song, and we just knew that that was going to happen,” Zhu said. “Blow strong, blow hard, blow long, blow me. We were trying to get people engaged that way and trying to make it a fun event.”
The group used word of mouth, flyers and social media to promote the event two weeks before the date. They released a series of promotional instructional videos, including one from President Taylor Reveley, the week before to push for participation.
The group also reached out to the Williamsburg community for participation. The adults were the first ones to show up to the event.
“Suzanne Seurattan, who works for William and Mary, really helped us out with media and marketing,” Zhu said. “We sent her a flyer and gave her contact information, and she reached out to the community.”
In order to break a world record, the attempt must subscribe to certain requirements to be considered official.
“You need an enclosed space, multiple videos of the event, the way of counting the number of people has to be one of the approved methods. You have to have at least two independent witnesses,” Alim said. “Every attempt really differs.”
AMP and WMTV assisted with the event, providing videographers and stewards to meet the requirements. The Office of Community Engagement and the Office of Student Affairs provided funding, which included bubble gum and marketing material costs.
“It was a lot of fun planning and getting to know each other, and it was cool to see the support the school gave us,” Fowler said.
While the attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, those organizing the event felt that the attempt in itself allowed the community to come together just to do something slightly weird for fun.
“Every person counts for that kind of idea. If everyone believed that they could break the world record and everyone came, they could do it, but if you yourself think that it’s not possible, that means that other people don’t think it is either,” Zhu said. “If you have a positive mentality about it, you can break the world record. It builds community.”
A specific group did not organize it, but Bui believes that only contributes to the spirit of the event.
“What I really enjoyed about working with you guys is that overall we did this for fun. We aren’t a part of an organization. No one paid us to do it,” Bui said. “I really feel like it was an empowering experience, by the students for the students. We did just want to do this and we did it.”