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Ready or not, here I come! Hide and Seek Club shooting for Guinness World Record

It’s not often Spider-Man, Wolverine, Storm Troopers or cows are spotted on campus, let alone at the same time. But that’s the type of crowd the University of Alberta’s Hide and Seek club is bringing with them on Feb. 6, 2015, when they “Seek the Record” for largest game of hide and seek ever played.

The Hide and Seek Club are expecting the 501st Legion, an international fan-based organization consisting of Star Wars Storm Troopers, the Edmonton Spider-Man and Wolverine, and Campus Saint-Jean students dressed in cow costumes. The real challenge will be rounding up 2,000 U of A students and staff into the Van Vliet Complex to break the world record.

The current Guinness World Record for largest game of hide and seek stands at 1,437 participants and is held by Long Yang Chengdu Textile City and Chengdu Sky Sports Culture Communication Co. Ltd. in China.

Students’ Union Vice-President (Student Life) Nicholas Diaz has “stepped up the support a bit more” to help shatter the hide and seek world record after announcing they would be canceling Break the Record earlier this month. The SU suspended plans for Break the Record due to spiraling costs and space limitations, Diaz said.

The SU has contributed $1,000 to the Hide and Seek Club. This will cover the group’s emergent costs such as turnstiles to count the number of participants, U of A Protective Services officers, advertising on SUTV and radios from Safewalk.

The $1,000 sponsored to the Hide and Seek Club will come from the executive committee, and not the Break the Record budget, Diaz said.
“This is a less expensive way of starting a new tradition that breaks a different kind of record,” Diaz said.

In November, the SU projected costs for Break the Record to range from $75,000 to $100,000. The money raised from Break the Record will instead be allocated to SU programming, such as comedy nights, singer-songwriter series and poster sales.

“It’s a good way to get everybody together,” Diaz said of Seek the Record and potentially breaking other world records. “We built this great tradition around breaking records and building campus spirit around that.

“It also empowers a student group rather than the SU doing it, so it provides a good leadership opportunity for them, too.”

Leading that charge will be Hide and Seek Club President Adam Pinkoski, who said the group has been planning the event since September. Their decision to host the world record wasn’t dependent on Break the Record and was “going to happen regardless.”

While Pinkoski said he was looking forward to Break the Record, he hopes to generate the same level of excitement from the student body, despite being two completely different games.

“I wanted to relive what Break the Record did in 2012, because I was one of those students playing,” Pinkoski said. “It can’t be replicated. It’s a unique feeling that’s generally only done once in a lifetime.”

Along with the SU, sponsorship for Seek the Record will be coming from the university’s Student Group Services’ Activity grant valued at $2,800, and the Alumni Student Engagement Fund, valued at $2,500, which will go towards 2,000 headband buffs participants will be sporting during Seek the Record. The U of A’s Office of the Registrar contributed promotional materials such as lawn signs and banners and other equipment used at large university events, like Open House. The Office of the Registrar also partnered with Hide and Seek Club through their UAlberta Ambassadors program. In addition to their sponsorships and donations,  the Hide and Seek Club will also be fundraising $1,000 of their own money.

Finding funding for the event and planning for the last five months has been challenging and “absolutely insane” for the group, Pinkoski said. Getting U of A Risk Management Services, Facilities and Operations, the Athletics Department and the Office of Alumni Relations on board was “not a breeze,” he added.

But with the event drawing nearer, the excitement is starting to “skyrocket” Pinkoski said.

“Because the process has been so long, there has been so many moments where I doubted it,” Pinkoski said. “I just want people to come out and treat it like the event is: hide and seek.

“Come out and embrace your inner child.”

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