Students break world records for charity

Sol Chase

As throngs of students pushed past on their way to class, sociology sophomore Phillip Johns donned a blindfold and reached out for the pieces of a Mr. Potato Head toy. As the timer started, Johns frantically set to work, trying to break the world record for fastest assembly of the toy. 

Johns, along with 60 other students, participated in the first ever “Horns Up Records Down” on Wednesday, a fundraising event organized by the Chi Kappa Phi Service Society. Volunteers from CKP set up 12 stations on Gregory Plaza, each dedicated to an obscure world record ranging from most ping pong balls caught with chopsticks in 30 seconds to most names given to a rubber duck. Anyone who broke a world record or did the best without breaking the world record received a prize from a host of sponsors.  

“It’s sort of been my wheelhouse of what I enjoy doing,” Johns said. “I love games and arcades, and I’ve been competing with my roommate all day.”

Proceeds from the event, generated by the $5 entrance fee and other donations made at the event, will benefit CKP’s main philanthropy, Oak Springs Elementary, a low-income school in East Austin. Volunteers from CKP visit the school weekly to assist with after school programs and school lunches.

Mathematics junior Delayna Bradshaw, CKP fundraising chair, said the idea came from a desire to create something unique and memorable for the campus.

“I loved the idea of breaking records,” Bradshaw said. “But this is Austin, so it has to be taken one step further. We need to have really weird and obscure world records for people to break.”

Bradshaw said she hopes to grow the event into an annual tradition and make the record breaking official.

“I hope in the future, we could have Guinness come,” Bradshaw said.

This year’s records will be uploaded to, but will not be admissible into the Guinness Book without an official representative from Guinness present.

Wednesday’s event raised over $823 dollars, and donations were matched by an outside donor for a total of $1,646.

Mari Spurgers, a Japanese and biochemistry junior, who has volunteered with CKP for over two years, said this was the most successful fundraiser she has seen from the organization.

“It’s a lot bigger than what we’ve usually done,” Spurgers said. “Our fundraising chair definitely did step it up a bit more this time around.”