By Leslie Hassanein, news correspondent
The Resident Student Association (RSA) works hard to provide students with a variety of ways to spend their free time. Last weekend, this included the opportunity to make history. On Sept. 25, 376 students broke the Guinness World Records achievement of the most people crab walking. The previous record was 279, held by the Amitie Sports Club in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.
The guidelines were strict: to break the record, participants had to spend two minutes simultaneously crab walking. If a participant touched the ground or stopped moving, they were disqualified by a steward overseeing the attempt. Of the total 403 student participants, 27 were disqualified.
Brandi Stawicki, a senior anthropology major, explained her mindset going into the event.
“It’s high pressure,” she said. “Should I sneeze, my butt will touch the ground and I will let everyone down.”
Stawicki prepared extensively for the event, crab walking between the dining hall and her residence hall.
“This record will better the Northeastern brand, making my resume more competitive as I enter the job market,” Stawicki said.
RSA had been planning the event since April. The goal was to break a world record that would involve as many people as possible and rally up Husky Spirit.
Jessica Goodman – a senior psychology major minoring in business and human services and RSA’s vice president of programming and collaboration – is credited with getting the event started. Goodman contacted Guinness personally and was connected with an account manager who listed off various records that could be attempted with roughly 500 people.
After deciding on which record Northeastern would attempt, months of logistical planning ensued. Goodman along with other RSA members went back and forth with Guinness. Contracts were signed. T-shirts had to be designed and ordered. All advertisements for the event had to be approved before they were distributed. Guinness had to be paid for its time the day of the event.
Despite this preparation, Northeastern almost did not succeed. At around 1 p.m., there were not enough people on Centennial Common to make an attempt at the record. Participants and RSA members called friends and promoted the event on social media until enough people arrived to give Northeastern a shot at a new record.
Participants were split into groups by colored shirts they were handed during registration for the event. This helped the RSA coordinators keep track of the number of people attempting the record.
The colors also helped with the “colorful pizza” strategy of breaking the record. Groups were assigned areas to start. The groups then rotated, giving a “pinwheel” or “rotating pizza” effect from an aerial view. Lanes were drawn on the ground to prevent participants from crashing into each other.
Shaun Collins, a sophomore finance and accounting major, completed a 5K run before heading to the event. The 19-year-old rates himself an expert in the field of crab walking.
“It’s all in the shoulders,” he said.
Resident Assistant (RA) Austen Moye, a sophomore business administration major, offered more advice on crab walking technique.
“You’ve got to get low,” Moye said. “Get a good angle and don’t fall on your face.”
Besides the physical exertion associated with breaking the record, RSA had to navigate the many technical guidelines set out by Guinness World Records.
Goodman expressed gratitude to the people who helped set up the grounds, including custodians and the Northeastern University Police Department.
“Centennial Common had to be closed off, as demanded by Guinness,” Goodman said.
A singular entry point was guarded with the adjudicator counting off participants on a hand-held tally counter.
“We also needed 20 witnesses who were not affiliated with Northeastern in any way, shape or form.”
RSA also held the responsibility of flying the adjudicator of the event, Kaitlin Holl, to Boston from New York. This was Holl’s third time overseeing a record attempt.
“It’s always exciting to see people break records,” Holl said.
Many rejoiced after finding out their hours spent on Centennial Commons were not wasted. Rob Vanaria, a freshman biology major, said was happy he attended the event on his RA’s advice.
“It’s cool to say I was a part of something this big,” Vanaria said.
Photo by Jerry Yu