Four hundred seventy-three students, faculty, friends and family lined up to break the world record for number of fist bumps in a relay Oct. 27. The event, held on the front lawn of the Administration building, was to spread awareness about drug and alcohol addiction, as well as recovery in honor of Sage’s Army.
The original record was held by a group in Anchorage, Alaska with about 300 people earlier this year. The idea for the fist bump relay spurred from Michele Chossat’s Senior Seminar class project.
“About the second or third week into school, we began to talk about our social action project and what we wanted to do for it,” said Kinross Obiefule, a student in the class and senior exercise science major. “Our class decided to host the fist bump relay for Sage’s Army in order to shine a light on all of their mission and all of the work they are doing in the Greensburg community. Our hope was to reach as many people as we could and explain to them what we were trying to accomplish today.”
Overdoses are at an all-time high in Westmoreland County, increasing over 290 percent since 2002. As of Nov. 3, 91 confirmed deaths in the county came from drug overdose alone, due to a combination of substances.
“I feel like we are all affected by this, whether it be directly or indirectly, because we all attend school in the Greensburg community, which is the worst community in the state of Pennsylvania dealing with drug abuse,” said Obiefule.
Sage’s Army is a non-profit organization created in honor of Sage Capozzi, 20, who lost his life to a drug addiction. The foundation was started by his father Carmen Capozzi, based in Irwin, Pa. Their mission is to offer help to those who struggle with addiction instead of discriminating.
“We’re a drug awareness coalition, grassroots organization that started in March of 2012,” said Carmen Capozzi. “I started because I couldn’t stay silent. I lost my son March 5 and I needed to create awareness. I asked a young man, sitting on my couch, how to create awareness. I said I need an army of people. He goes ‘how cool would that be, “Sage’s Army.”’ Here we are four years later.”
Jonathon Beskid, a communication major in the senior seminar class, spoke before the relay, where the Griffin was the first to fist bump.
“You guys are amazing,” said Beskid, thanking the office of Student Engagement and Capozzi. “They battle against drug and alcohol addiction; they are really amazing people. I’m sure many of us have had friends or family who have struggled with addiction. They’re transforming the world, which is what we strive to do at Seton Hill.”
Now that the event took place, all that’s left is to get it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
“Now we have to collect all of the evidence that we got from the event today and upload it to our Guinness world records account,” said Obiefule. The fee to apply for the record was $800. “They will have to go through the evidence that we presented to make sure that we adhered to their rules and guidelines to breaking the event. If they say that the evidence looks good then they will let us know that we officially broke the record and will go in their books.”
Guinness had strict rules to follow in order to break the record that were read at the event:
1. Participants must be situated in a single file line, which can be serpentine.
2. At the sound of the given start signal, the first participant in the lineup must bump fists with the next person in line, who must then must turn to the following participant in line and bump their fist, continuing down the line.
3. No participant may take part more than once or be counted twice.
4. Although the record is based on the number of participants, the length of the line should also be recorded.
5. Everyone must stay in line until the relay has been completed.
It was important to bump with the left hand as well. Participants wore wristbands with their number written on it to keep track of the number of people present. They also received a Sage’s Army t-shirt. The serpentine line measured 994 feet.
“I feel blessed, the school doing this for us and to break the stigma of addiction. This can happen to anybody,” said Capozzi. “It’s not just people in the street, it’s anybody. Awareness, compassion, action– that’s what it’s all about.”
For more information on Sage’s Army and how you can help raise awareness, visit sagesarmy.com.