Thousands of University of California, Irvine students converged on the Anteater Recreation Center athletic fields Tuesday to usher in the 2015-16 academic year with a record-setting game of capture the flag.
Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric observed UCI’s effort to stage the world’s largest game of capture the flag from start to finish and declared the record to have been set by 2,888 participants.
One of many Welcome Week activities, the world-record attempt has become a UCI tradition, with previous triumphs for the largest dodgeball game, pillow fight and water blaster shootout.
Sociology major Cheston Nguyen was on the field with his Pi Kappa Alpha brothers, handing water to overheated players and introducing new students to his fraternity.
“I’ve come out to this event every single year since I was a freshman. I participated in the dodgeball, pillow fight and water gun events,” he said. “So I guess that means I have four Guinness world records under my belt.”
Before and after the record attempt, student dance and music groups took to the stage to entertain the masses. Performances by INSA, UCI’s Hawaii club Na ’Opio O Ka ’Aina, The Double Takes, Kaba Modern, Kieran Moriah Lorenzen and Imon Santos, the Modern Completely Insane Anteaters and the Chinese Association Dance Crew kept the festivities lively.
“It’s really cool,” Nguyen said of the event. “I think, not having a football team, this is a good way to build school spirit and get everyone hyped about the new school year.”
On Monday, a cyclops from ancient Greece, a photogenic anteater and a parade of pompom-waving cheerleaders greeted several thousand freshmen and transfer students at UCI’s 50th convocation ceremony,
“Welcome to the beginning of one of the great adventures of your life,” Chancellor Howard Gillman told the incoming class, which filled much of the Bren Events Center.
In addition to Gillman’s keynote remarks, the one-hour event also included “Zot!” hand signal instructions; a live preview (complete with a human-eating cyclops) of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ Thursday and Friday performances of “The Odyssey”; an a cappella rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by students from UCI’s Uniting Voices; and a slideshow featuring such notable campus visitors as the Dalai Lama and Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
New students also posed for photos with Peter the Anteater, whom Gillman described as “the most feared, revered and admired mascot of any university.”