Trinity breaks world record

Trinity College (budgetplaces.com via Flickr)

This article appeared in Sin on November 7 2011. 

Trinity College Dublin made the Guinness Book of Records last week with over 900 people contributing a sentence to a single story. The story of Sarah and Sparky was written on a giant scroll.

The event was organised in conjunction with See Change and Fighting Words and was part of Trinity Students’ Union Mental Health Week. The slogan of this week was ‘Mental Health is part of everyone’s story”.

Precisely 953 people filed into a marquee in Trinity’s Physics Garden to write a line of the story. It was not only students that contributed, but passing tourists and members of the general public too. The result is an aptly surreal tale of a girl named Sarah who is love with her one-legged, philandering friend Sparky. Sarah fails Maths, auditions for the X-Factor, meets Charlie Sheen, David Norris and a Rent-singing Barack Obama, and travels to Italy, Kenya and even UCD before she finds her happy ever after.

The previous record for most people to contribute to a single story was in Vanuatu, in the South Pacific. Trinity comfortably beat their score of 838 people. Officials from Guinness World Records were there to oversee the story-writing and it will make the 2012 book for the ‘most people to contribute to a single story.’

Trinity SU was assisted by two other organisations in creating the event. Fighting Words is a Dublin based organisation cofounded by the former Director of Amnesty International Sean Love and author Roddy Doyle in 2009. The organisation specialises in helping primary and secondary school students improve their creative writing skills. See Change is a national programme seeking to reduce stigma about mental health issues in Irish society.Ryan Bartlett, President of TCDSU said, “It is fantastic for Trinity to break this world record, especially because it involved a joint effort with other people from around Dublin and even a few tourists! The broad range of people taking part in this is indicative of the message: mental health is part of everyone’s story; regardless of who you are, regardless of how your mental health is, it is a part of you and your story. The story itself won’t be winning any awards, but even without the world record today was a massive success because it got everyone talking about mental health and started to dismantle the stigma attached to it.”

You can read Sarah’s strange adventure in full on www.seechange.ie.

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