A group of UCF sociology students are hoping to tackle a world record later this month by collecting almost 600,000 pounds of food in less than a day.
Trina Gilliam, a senior sociology major, is the leader of the volunteer project, working mainly with professor Lin Huff-Corzine, the undergraduate director of the sociology department, and three other students to put UCF in the record books.
"I know that it's difficult to sometimes get people excited and to get them involved in something, even when it is a good cause," Gilliam said when asked about how the idea, which came from her daughter, first surfaced. "We really want this to be successful and want to make sure that the Pantry is stocked for the whole year if possible … I think that it's something UCF Knights and students can grab a hold [of]."
According to the Guinness World Records website, the current record for the largest food drive by a nonprofit organization — which stands at 559,885 pounds — was set by the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics back in 2011.
Three years have passed, and now it's UCF's turn.
On Tuesday, there will be a collection box outside of the Student Union in the free-speech area from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Any nonperishable food items can be left there, although Corzine encourages students to donate to Knights Pantry regularly.
Late donations will be accepted in the sociology office on the fourth floor of Howard Phillips Hall, but they will not be counted toward the record.
If the 559,885 mark is in fact reached, Knights Pantry reports show that it will be more than 163 times what it received in April, the month this year that's seen the most donations.
If by chance the food drive fails to break the record, however, both Gilliam and Corzine are OK with that, stating that making history isn't the main goal. To them, it all comes down to getting food to UCF students in need.
"If we get half that amount, whatever we get, that's more than [Knights Pantry] had before," Corzine said.
Andrea Young, a UCF senior forensic science major, is the pantry manager at Knights Pantry. Although they aren't involved in the planning of the project, she's excited for the drive.
"I think anything is possible if you put your mind to it," Young said in regard to whether she thinks the record will be broken or not. "If the sociology department works really hard, it's possible. We have 60,000 students here, so that is enough to reach the goal."
Much like Gilliam and Corzine, Young wouldn't be disappointed if the goal isn't met, stating that "it doesn't even matter if it's just 20 pounds of food … It's the thought that counts."
As if trying to break a Guinness World Record wasn't enough, Gilliam is also organizing Pennies for Pantry.
Holding posters and buckets, students will be positioned all over campus, collecting anything from loose change to dollar bills from those walking by. All of the money collected, along with the food, will be going to the Pantry.
Young said that this money will be used to collect food from Second Harvest Food Bank — a Central Florida-based nonprofit organization — when supplies are running low.