UC Berkeley breaks world record for largest human letter

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Ketki Samel/Staff

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A big C has emerged and it’s not the landmark on the Berkeley Hills overlooking campus — it’s a human C, made up of 7,194 incoming first-year and transfer students.

Incoming students broke a Guinness World Record for the largest human letter as a part of Bear Affair, one of the many events of the new weeklong orientation program, Golden Bear Orientation.

The previous record for largest human letter had been held by the University of Tennessee, with 4,223 participants.

“It’s yet another first for Cal,” said Chancellor Carol Christ.

With Christ greeting students within the formation and Guinness World Record judges present with clipboards on scene, students cheered chants and waited patiently for more than two hours in their positions while thousands of students filled the stadium.

Bear Affair was designed as a part of an effort for students to take a class photo, which the campus has been wanting to actualize for years.

“Bear Affair is one of those opportunities for the entire incoming class to participate together as one community, begin to create some friendships, and feel like they are a part of something really amazing at UC Berkeley,” said Chrissy Roth-Francis, director of New Student Services, in an email. “The combination of academic and social integration in orientation is critical to a student’s success and retention.”

Roth-Francis said the previous orientation model, CalSO, lacked opportunities for classwide interaction. The GBO, she said, allows students to engage with a diverse community of peers.

Incoming freshman Resham Khanna said when people asked her what she was doing in the evening, she said, “We’re breaking a world record.”

“It’s the easiest way to break a world record,” said incoming freshman Vedant Kajaria.

Christine Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Christine Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @christinejlee17.